CONCERNED parents of sixth form students attending an East Dorset school say their children have not been provided with any transport arrangements for the new term.

Children living on the route from Alderholt and Cranborne to Queen Elizabeth's School have not been allocated space on the school bus.

One parent, who asked to remain anonymous, said: "There is no bus available to take sixth form students to school and there is no alternative transport provided by the school, the bus company or the county, so the children are having to make their own way to school.

"Two days ago the majority of parents in the village who have all had places confirmed for this year were told that the school is in talks to try and get something in place but as of yet nothing's happened.

"There's been lots of parents running around trying to get their children to school on time.

"I've been in contact with the local MP and because the county are under no legal obligation to provide a bus and we're in a rural area, there is nothing we can do."

A spokesperson from Dorset Council said there is no automatic entitlement for home to school transport once a student is over 16, even if they have had free transport in the past.

"We clearly set out and the school has the same information their website when considering post 16 education please consider your transport options," said the spokesperson.

"We provide transport for entitled main stream children across Dorset within our ‘One School One Operator’ contract.

"The transport operator is Damory (Go South Coast). They do the route planning and optimisation based on the pupil lists. Damory are responsible for allocating any surplus seats, where available, and the parents pay Damory directly. Therefore the school needs to liaise with the bus operator, as stated in the transport policy, if they want additional seats/ vehicles. It may be possible for Damory to, say, put on a larger vehicle, if they think it makes business sense, due to the increased revenue from selling the seats."

Katie Boyes, headteacher of QE School, said: “We are aware that a small number of sixth form students from the Alderholt and Cranborne areas can’t currently access seats on the school bus.

“The service is co-ordinated by Dorset Council and usually there are enough extra places for sixth-formers to use, but this term it is not the case due to increased numbers of pupils.

“However, we are in discussions with the operator – Go South Coast – as well as the council to try and provide extra places.

“We are also supporting parents in car-sharing arrangements and would like to hear from those who might be interested in joining them.

“From experience we know that as the term progresses demand for bus use will diminish as sixth formers pass their driving tests.”