Parents who are forced to pay hundreds of pounds each year to send their children to school are calling for a fairer school transport system.

The county council must provide free transport for under-8s travelling more than two miles or children aged eight and older travelling more than three miles to their nearest school, or through routes that are not deemed to be safe or suitable.

This is delivered through a free bus pass or using taxis and mileage allowances.

Low-income families can get help to access schools other than their nearest, while there is further provision for children with disabilities or special needs.

A mother of two living in Berinsfield, South Oxfordshire, who wishes to remain anonymous, has a son at Didcot Boy's School and pays £69 a month on buses to send him to school after the council deemed another school to be 0.05km closer.

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Now she feels it is unfair that she will have to pay another £69 a month to send her daughter to secondary school.

Her daughter will be attending Didcot Girl's School in September, even though there are closer secondary schools she felt this one was suitable for her daughter.

The council works out the shortest designated route by measuring the distance from an address to the nearest open school gate using footpaths and bridleways to calculate the distance.

The mum has called this system "unrealistic" and "expensive".

She said: "It is a ridiculous policy; I know people that have plenty of cash and their children are getting a taxi to school paid for by the council."

She added: "The council do not work it out on how kids will actually get there using public transport they work it out based on bridal paths and fields. It is a policy designed to get out of paying for any travel."

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Laura Cornwell has a daughter at Thomas Reed Primary School in Abingdon and travels from Milton Heights each day and feels the council should be helping her.

She said: "I have asked the council numerous times to see if they can help me out. They said because I chose the school she is at now; they were not able to issue transport."

Oxfordshire County Council said: "Home to School transport has never been free on a universal basis. The current policy works on the basis of transport to the nearest school with a place available to an individual child at point of application. The school would also need to be in excess of the statutory walking distances set out within the policy from the child’s home address."

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