Children under compulsory school age are not automatically entitled to transport to an early years setting or school. Compulsory school age begins on the first day of the term following the child’s fifth birthday.

For children in early years settings, section 509A of the Education Act (“EA”) 1996 gives local authorities (“LAs”) discretion to make travel arrangements for children receiving early years education other than in a school. LAs are not permitted to ‘fetter their discretion’. This means they cannot refuse to make a transport arrangement simply because they have no strict duty to make it.

For children at school but under compulsory school age, section 508C EA 1996 also gives LAs a discretionary power to make such school travel arrangements as they consider necessary for the purpose of facilitating the child's attendance at school.

If your LA refuses to provide transport and you feel that it is necessary – for example, because your child has a particular disability and there is no other way to get them to nursery or school – then you could appeal against their decision.