Parents are angry after learning their children will not get free bus passes to travel to Melksham Oak Community School when it opens in September.

Six children from Semington are due to take places in Year 7 at the new school in Woolmore Farm, Bowerhill, which replaces George Ward School in Shurnhold.

At the moment children from Semington are eligible for a free bus pass as George Ward is more than three miles from their homes.

However the three-mile boundary from the new school means some homes in Semington will not be entitled to the passes.

Whether existing pupils from the village will lose their passes will be decided within the next week by Cllr Lionel Grundy, cabinet member for children’s services and Cllr Dick Tonge, member for Highways and Transport.

The parents say Wiltshire Council’s suggested safe walking route, along Semington Road, Longford Road and Snowberry Lane, is both unsafe and more than three miles.

Tania Evans’ son, Cameron, 11, is due to start at the school in September.

The mum, of Highfield Close, said: “I don’t really consider it safe. Semington is not that well lit and going into Melksham they will have to cross an extremely busy road.

“We’ve calculated that the children will have to leave home no later than 7.20am to be at school for 8.45am.

“We are really upset, it is our catchment school, it’s a fantastic building and we want to support it, but we weren’t made aware of this situation.”

Mrs Evans says she and other parents would have reconsidered sending their children to Melksham Oak if they had known about the changes.

She added: “I’d quite like to walk the route with the council. One of their excuses is that we didn’t use their official equipment to measure it, which makes me laugh.”

A Wiltshire Council spokesman said the authority would be happy to meet concerned parents.

“The law states children must live at least three miles from their nearest school to receive free transport,” he said. “This distance is reduced to two miles if the child gets free school meals or the family receive the maximum level of working tax credits.

“When George Ward closes and pupils move to Melksham Oak School, this will of course change the areas covered by this entitlement.

“This means some areas which weren’t previously entitled will be, and some which were will no longer be."