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£500 a year to get Chloe to school after being refused bus pass
7:00pm Monday 5th August 2013 in News
CHLOE Barnes' family faces paying more than £500 a year to get her to school because she lives 250m too close to her school.
In September, Chloe is set to start at St Helena School, in Colchester, but instead of being given a free bus pass to get to school, mum Sarah Barnes faces paying £46 a week to get Chloe to and from Great Horkesley.
The Sheepen Road school is the catchment secondary school for children in the village, but because Chloe, ten, lives just under the three-mile threshold, she has been refused the yearly pass by Essex County Council.
“It really is ridiculous,” said Mrs Barnes, 34, of Grantham Road, in Great Horkesley, who lives 2.84miles from the school
“Whatever way the council has done it, we are meant to send our children to St Helena and they’re making it unrealistic for us.
“The children are all going from the same bus stop, so it shouldn’t be about their exact address.
“There are various people who are just a few doors down who have them, yet we were refused.”
Mrs Barnes has unsuccessfully appealed against the decision.
A child day return from Great Horkesley to the school costs £2.30 a day, or £11.50 a week.
Over four weeks, that equates to the same price as an adult pass, priced at £46.
Network Colchester, which runs the number 2 service from Horkesley to the town centre, does not sell childrens’ bus passes.
Mrs Barnes, who has two children in pre-school and one in primary school, added: “How is any parent supposed to afford £46 every four weeks to get their child to school?
“The authorities would soon jump on us if we couldn't get her to school.”
An Essex County Council spokesman confirmed a child must reside at or beyond three miles from a school to get free transport.
He added: “In this case the resident resides below the three-mile distance and has not submitted income evidence.
“Where this is the case, education transport is required to refuse the application as there is no entitlement to transport under the qualifying criteria.”
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