PARENTS of children at Parkfield free school could be hit with a bill of £650 for bus transport when the school moves to a new site.

Several parents have labelled the cost "disgusting" and have said they would have to consider moving their children to another school.

Parkfield school, the area's only free school, is currently based at the Lansdowne in Bournemouth but is due to move into a former air training college at Bournemouth Airport in September.

Their new home is not well served by public bus routes and Yellow Buses is the only company that has offered to run buses for school children whose parents do not drive.

However, with both the school and local councils unwilling to subsidise the cost of this, parents have been advised the likely cost would be £650 per child.

This has shocked parents who currently pay around £35 a month for a Glo card taking their child to the current town centre site.

One parent, who has two children at the school, said: "It's fantastic that they have come up with two routes that will get children to school but the cost is extortionate.

"We understand the bus company has to make a profit but it does feel like they are taking advantage. My children are happy at the school but if we can't afford to get them there, what are we supposed to do?"

Another parent, who has a son at the school, said: "It's not our fault the school is moving to Hurn but it feels like we are being punished. There is very little communication from the school and it feels like they have left it very late to try and put plans in place."

And a third added: "I currently pay £35 for a 30-day Glocard and I cannot understand why this has to be so much more expensive. It is disgusting,"

Jenni Wilkinson, head of marketing at Yellow Buses, said: "The unsubsidised commercial service we have proposed provides a school bus service specifically for students of Parkfield School. The cost we have quoted covers a year's travel on the Yellow Buses' network, avoiding the need for a current Glo 17 smartcard, as well as the dedicated Parkfield service.

"The daily cost works out at £1.78 and compares very favourably with other commercial school operations of this type and includes the added benefit of all-year travel.

"It should be stressed that currently this new commercial service is a proposal. We are making every effort to gauge interest as it can only operate if there is sufficient demand."

Mr Terry Conaghan, headteacher: Parkfield School is continuing to work with Yellow Buses to negotiate the most efficient and cost effective service for our families. The process of appointing the bus service provider started back in January with a consultation and survey to parents which over 80% completed. Once the results had been analysed representatives from the school then set up meetings with a number of bus companies. Yellow Buses presented the most flexible and cost effective option to the school.

The move to Hurn from central Bournemouth is a challenge for all stakeholders of Parkfield School but despite this the vast majority of parents continue to be extremely supportive and committed and we are very grateful for their loyalty and understanding.