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Wednesday, 3 October 2023

Back to school - what you need to know

  • Published: Wednesday, 22 August 2023

Children in England and Wales go back to school in early September. Make sure you know when your child's school reopens. If you're on a low income, you can also find out about help with the cost of school meals, uniforms and transport.

School term dates

Find the term dates for your child's school

For state schools, term dates and holidays are decided by the local authority or the governing body of the school. Independent schools set their own term dates, which may vary from state schools in the same area.

To find out term dates for your child’s school, follow the link below and enter the postcode of your child’s school. This will take you the website of the relevant local authority.

Getting to school

Apply for home to school travel support

If your child lives a distance away from their school, they may be entitled to free school transport.

Otherwise there are a number of ways to make sure they get to school safely, such as 'walking buses' and 'bike trains'.

Free school transport

Local authorities have to provide free transport where they decide it is necessary to make sure that a child goes to school. In most cases, it's up to the local authority to decide what transport is necessary. Your child will be automatically entitled to free transport if both of the following apply:

  • they are between five and sixteen years old
  • they go to the nearest suitable school, and the school is further away than the 'statutory walking distance' – two miles for under eights, or three miles for pupils aged eight and over

Search for safe routes to school in your area

Walking and cycling safely to school

'Walking buses' and 'bike trains' help children walk or cycle to school safely with adult supervision.

They are a sustainable alternative to transport by car, bus or train, and help keep children healthy.

Help with school uniform costs

Apply for help with the cost of school uniform

If you are on benefits or a low income, you could be entitled to help with the cost of school uniform.

This could be in the form of clothing grants or vouchers from your local authority.

To find out if your local authority offers help with the cost of school uniforms, follow the link below.

Free school meals

Parents don't have to pay for their child's school meals if they receive certain benefits or some forms of tax credit. Follow the link below to find out more.

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