Council refuses boy, 11, a free two-mile bus pass… because is home is 1.999 miles away


A boy has been denied a free bus pass given to children who live two miles from school after a council ruled his home is – 1.999 miles away.

Jon Lawson, 11, started secondary school this week and his parents assumed he would get a free pass – just like his brother Liam, 14.

But council bosses say a change in the way the route is measured means their house is now 1.999 miles away from Seaham School of Technology in County Durham.

It means that while Liam – who was measured under the old system – can get the bus to his school Jon has to walk 40 minutes to and from school every day.

Dad John, 43, said: “It is a farce. I think it is absolutely ridiculous. Jon is only 11 and I don’t want him walking the streets on his own, especially now the dark nights are coming in.”

The family, who all live in the same house, were accessed for a bus pass for Liam three years ago and were considered to be more than the required two miles from the school.

They applied for a pass for Jon a few months ago and when it did not turn up for his first day they discovered the way the school measured the distance had changed.

Due to new paths, their home is now considered to be closer to school, and the council has refused to reconsider, despite pleas from John, who lives with wife Helen, 39, and daughter Jade, 17.

Jane Jack, school admissions and transport manager at Durham County Council, said: “In the interests of fairness to all pupils, we must ensure that our policy is applied consistently.

“We do acknowledge that it may seem unusual for different decisions to have been made in relation to two brothers going to the same school.

“This has occurred because we have updated the system we use to measure walking distances, upon which we base our decision.

“Although the older brother qualified when he was properly assessed using the previous system, the younger brother does not qualify when properly assessed using the current system, which takes into account, for example, changes to available walking routes.

“While we understand this may cause frustration for the family concerned, it is important that we apply the current policy equally to all applicants.”


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