Pupil and Student Finance

The Pupil and Student Finance Section administers grants and financial assistance to London Borough of Richmond upon Thames residents.

Free school meals

Home to school travel grants

Home to school travel grants are payments by local authorities of the cost of travel for compulsory school-age pupils travelling from home to school. It is the legal responsibility of the parents/guardians to ensure that children attend school, however local education authorities have a legal duty to provide the costs of transport in certain circumstances.

In most cases, pupils will be able to travel from home to school at no cost to them or their parents, due to Transport for London's free bus and tram travel scheme:

  • Pupils aged 5-10 can travel for free on London buses and trams with a Photocard obtainable from newsagents or stations.
  • Pupils aged 11-14 require an Oyster Photocard to travel for free if they look older than 14 or if they use the tram at Wimbledon or they want to buy child-rate Travelcards and to use pay as they go on the Tube and the DLR.
  • Pupils aged 14-15 must have a valid Child, 14-15 or 11-15 Oyster photocard to get free travel on buses and trams and some child-rate travel on the Tube and the DLR.
  • Pupils who will reach age 16 during the school year can travel for free as long as they have a valid Oyster Photocard.

For those pupils who need to travel by train and/or London Underground, read the Richmond upon Thames Home to school travel policy(pdf, 110KB).


To apply for a grant, please download the Home to school travel grants application(pdf, 153KB).

Travel awards for 16 to 19 year olds

Travel awards for 16 to 19 year olds are designed to enable and/or support attendance at state-maintained school sixth forms or further education colleges for London Borough of Richmond upon Thames residents who:

  • Are 16 or over and under 19 at the start of the academic year in which the course begins; and
  • Attending on a full-time basis either Richmond Adult Community College, Richmond upon Thames College or the further education college nearest to home that offers the chosen course (allowance will be made for preference for a college that suits the needs of students with disabilities or learning difficulties and the needs of those of particular religions or denominations) or continuing state-maintained religious or denominational school sixth form; and
  • The distance from home to school/college, measured by the shortest route by road and publicly-maintained footpaths, is more than three miles; or they have disabilities and/or learning difficulties); and
  • They, or their families, are receiving one of the following benefits: Income Support; or Jobseeker's Allowance (Income-based); or Child Tax Credit, but who are not also receiving Working Tax Credit and who have an annual taxable income of less than £16,190; or Working Tax Credit; or financial support, in accordance with Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, from the National Asylum Support Service (NASS) or the Council's Asylum and Resettlement Team; and
  • The school/college attended is not accessible within a timetabled journey of less than one hour by buses on which the Transport for London free travel concession for under-19 year olds applies throughout the whole bus journey(s).

The Local Authority has the discretion to provide financial assistance for travel to 16-19 year olds in schools/colleges in exceptional circumstances, which may be social, medical, financial, or other, but which cause significant disadvantage to attendance at school or college and which fall outside the eligibility criteria of the policy. Circumstances that could fall within this category include:

  • Sudden, significant change of financial circumstances;
  • Living, or having been, in public care;
  • Receiving assistance from the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames People with Learning Difficulties Service;
  • Being known to the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames Youth Offending Service;
  • Relocation due to domestic violence; and
  • Change of school/college following exclusion; or
  • Any of these - or other significantly disadvantageous - circumstances for students aged 19-25.

You should note, however, that this list is not exhaustive. Applicants who feel that they have any such circumstances should provide full details on their application forms and provide any relevant documents that can support their case. Applications that outline exceptional circumstances will be considered on their own merits by a senior Local Authority officer and discretion may be given. Successful applicants at this stage will be awarded grants at values to be determined by the senior officer. Applicants who are refused at this stage will be given the right of appeal to the Pupil and Student Support Appeals Panel (see below).

Applicants who do not meet the policy criteria, and whose circumstances are not deemed to justify the awarding of support at the ‘discretion’ stage (above), have the right to appeal against the Local Authority's refusal of assistance with home to school travel costs. Unsuccessful applicants will automatically be notified of the appeal procedure. Appeals are heard on a quarterly basis by the Council's Pupil and Student Support Appeals Panel, which is made up of four elected councillors and one parent-governor representative, and are treated on their own merits. Applicants who are successful at the appeal stage will be awarded grants at values to be determined by the Appeals Panel.

Grants are payable in three termly instalments to eligible students, including those who express preference for travelling from home to school/college by bicycle, appropriate to the number of Greater London travel zones of their journeys, as follows:

  1. Zone of travel £200
  2. Zones of travel £250
  3. Zones of travel £350
  4. Zones of travel £470

If eligible students attend specialist courses (which are not available locally) at schools or colleges at a considerable distance from home and they consequently incur annual travel costs that exceed the maximum amount available, the Authority will provide Learner Support Fund grants, subject to availability at the time of application, to cover the additional costs.

Funding for eligible students with disabilities and/or learning difficulties will be provided flexibly in the form that most suits the students’ individual needs.

Transport Partnership statement

Richmond upon Thames Council and local partners, including both Richmond Adult Community College and Richmond upon Thames College, jointly produce an annual statement giving details of funding available from all sources for students in further education. The statement for the 2013/2014 academic year is available here:

School clothing grants

Richmond Council ceased making school clothing grants from 1 April 2011.

For further, independent advice concerning grants and benefits for those on a low income, please contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau office, details of which are available on the Richmond Citizens Advice Bureaux website.

General guidance regarding Income Support, Jobseeker's Allowance (Income-based), Employment and Support Allowance (income related) is available on the Department for Work and Pensions website

The Inland Revenue website gives details of how to claim Child Tax Credit or Working Tax Credit.

Hampton Fuel Allotment Charity may be able to helps local families with grants towards the cost of gas and electricity. This service is only for those living in Hampton, Hampton Hill, Hampton Wick, Teddington, Twickenham and Whitton. The charity cannot consider applications from anyone living outside of those areas.

Student finance

Student Finance England administer applications and queries from both new and continuing students and all enquiries should be made directly to Student Finance England, by telephoning 0845 300 5090.

For details of the arrangements and other finance related information, visit the Student finance pages on GOV.UK.


Telephone: 020 8547 5448
Email: freeschoolmeals@achievingforchildren.org.uk

Personal visits for pupil and student finance can be made by prior appointment.

Customer Charter

The Pupil and Student Finance Section's mission statement and service standards are outlined in our Customer Charter(pdf, 59KB)

Important notice

Any advice given over the telephone is for information purposes only and should not be regarded as our final decision. If you require a definite ruling, please write to us giving full details. We will then be able to give full consideration to your circumstances and confirm our decision in writing. Experience has shown that it is very easy to misunderstand someone over the telephone and that the full facts may not be available when advice is given.

In this section:

Updated: 14 February 2018