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Mum's anger at free bus pass refusal

Published: 5 Aug 2012 08:000 comments

A MOTHER left in tears when her son missed out on his first choice of school and was left facing a 45-minute walk is facing fresh heartbreak - after her application for a bus pass was refused.

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The west Reading woman, whose son starts school next month, was refused a place at Wilson Primary in April and not even offered an alternative.

The family were thrown a lifeline last month when the little boy was given a place at St Michael's Primary in Tilehurst - but their hopes were dashed just days later when Reading Borough Council turned down their application for a bus pass.

With no bus pass and no car she has no way of getting both her son to school in Dee Road, and her three-year-old daughter to Wilson Nursery, on time in the mornings.

She said this week: "The usual rules state that you can have a bus pass if you are two miles from the school.

"But we were declined a bus pass - and now have to attend another appeal to try to get the decision overturned!

"We are starting to feel very hard done by, because this all started in April when we found out that we didn't even have a school for my son to attend.

"It is a good 40 minute walk uphill for my son before and after he has a full day at school - not to mention my daughter, who will have to walk too."

Reading Borough Council spokesman Oscar Mortali said: "The council appreciates how difficult it is for any parent in a position where they have to take their children to two different schools.

"This has been primarily caused by a 10% increase in primary school applications in Reading this year.

"We have advised parents to take their individual cases through the appeals process for free bus travel. There is a hearing scheduled for Friday, August 10, and another scheduled towards the end of the month.

"The transport appeals panel is made up of local councillors who have a good knowledge of local geography and routes, and where cases are successful, both parent and the relevant child would be provided with free transport."

But the furious mother is not confident the appeals process will prove successful. She added: "If we had to fund the travel ourselves, it would be £95 a month - to a school that wasn't our choice, and not in catchment for us."

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