Oxfordshire faith schools lose right to free bus rights

Image caption,
Oxfordshire County Council says £697,000 could be saved

New pupils at two Oxfordshire faith schools will longer receive automatic free bus passes.

Oxfordshire County Council voted to drop the "inequitable" rules which, council officials said, favoured Roman Catholic parents.

Blessed George Napier in Banbury and St Gregory the Great, Oxford, would be the schools affected.

Faith school pupils receive free bus travel if they live between two and 15 miles away.

Taxpayer saving

But non-faith secondary pupils receive free transport if they live between three and eight miles away - a difference of eight miles.

The changes would be phased in from September 2011, and no pupils currently at either school would be affected.

Any pupil who attends a faith school and qualifies for free home to school transport because he or she is in receipt of benefits will continue to receive free home to school transport.

The council says dropping the discretionary entitlement would save taxpayers £697,000 by 2017.

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