Concerned parents are outraged that their children may be forced to walk a ‘dangerous’ route to school after they were ‘declined’ a bus pass.

Craig Grisbrooke lives in Milton Heights with his fiancée Martina Selby and in September the couple will be sending their daughter Caitlin Grisbrooke to Aureus Secondary School in Great Western Park, Didcot.

This year their son Kyle Grisbrooke started at the same school and was granted a free bus pass due to living outside of the three-mile radius.

However, this year Oxfordshire County Council travel department have ‘discovered’ a new path to the school meaning their home is no-longer classed as three miles away as the new route is 2.7 miles.

Caitlin’s parents have said she has now been ‘declined’ a free bus pass for the next school year when she starts year seven at Aureus.

The parents say this new ‘discovered’ route is ‘dangerous’ and ‘totally unsafe’ for their son and daughter to walk on their own.

The family tested the hour-long walk together passing the busy Milton interchange and a bridleway that has no streetlamps.

Miss Selby said: “The walk took a long time, and we were knackered by the end of it.”

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Mr Grisbrooke said: “This track is severely unfit for any kids to be waking. There are no cameras, lights or anything to keep our children safe.

"The track is uneven and there are falling trees and branches everywhere and during the winter will be muddy, slippery, and extremely dangerous. I even managed to twist my ankle walking there it is so uneven.”

Neither of the parents drive and they both work full-time making it impossible for them to take their children to school themselves.

The parents also do not think the route is safe for their children to cycle to school and say it will also be dark along the bridleway in the winter months.

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Miss Selby said other parents also feel the same way and some cannot afford to pay the bus fare which would cost £380 for the year for those who live within three miles of the school.

Parents have contacted the County Council to explain just how unsafe the school pupils’ walk to school could be.

Mr Grisbrooke said: “We are losing our battle to get our kids safely to and from school.”

Oxfordshire County Council said: “There were a number of enquiries relating to the safe walking route to Aureus Secondary School from Milton Heights this year. As a result, the council’s road safety officer was asked to look again at the route to ensure that it complied with the legal definitions associated with walking routes to school and that the decisions of the council were correct.”

The council explained that a walking route is deemed safe in law if it is safe when a child is accompanied, as necessary, by a parent or other responsible adult.

Oxfordshire County Council added: “However, if families wish their children to be transported to school, there remains a council contracted service which runs to Aureus School for pupils who are entitled to free home to school transport which stops in Sutton Courtenay, Steventon and Milton Heights. Families with children who are not eligible for free travel can use the ‘Spare Seat Scheme’ to access this service at present, and the charge for travel is waived for those on free school meals or whose parents are in receipt of the maximum of Working Tax Credit.”

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