Pupils protest walk to school over axed free bus

Pupils at some schools in Strabane walked to school on Thursday morning in a protest over free transport being withdrawn.

The merger of Strabane Grammar and Strabane High School has resulted in some pupils falling outside the three mile limit for school buses.

Parents say they will continue to walk their children to school until the issue is resolved.

Ulster Unionist MLA Ross Hussey said hundreds of children are affected.

Elaine Laird was one of the parents who walked with her child to school.

"I have two children. One child goes to Artigarvan Primary School and the other to Strabane Academy," she said.

"They must think the roads are safe to walk on but they're not.

"The disruption on the road is chaos."

Mr Hussey said: "You can understand how parents are feeling.

"There are potentially around 300 children affected.

"Imagine all those children having to walk along the main A5 towards Strabane. It would be a nightmare."

In a statement the Western Education and Library Board said pupils who live within three miles of their school have no legal entitlement to a bus pass.

Strabane Grammar School and Strabane High School merged on Thursday, forming Strabane Academy. The schools will operate on two separate campuses at Derry Road and Liskey Road in Strabane.