Local campaigner, Vikki Slade has hit back at Dorset County Council after it used social media to remind young people that transport is not free beyond the age of 16.
Its tweet said: "Planning what to do after GCSEs? Check out your travel options before you decide. Travel for 16+ isn't free & there may not be seats on school buses."
The council does not subsidise school transport past the age of 16, but does offer sixth formers any spare places on school buses for £640 a year. The charge can be reduced for low-income families.
Vikki Slade said: "This tweet appals me. Choices should not be based on the fact the council won’t support young people continuing in education."
She explained: "This first came up as an issue in 2012 when the council were asking families of post-16 severely disabled children to pay towards travel to school, even though the parents were legally obliged to send them to school.
"Children aged 16 are still expected to remain in some form of education until they turn 18 (the Age of Participation) but schools are being expected to use their funding to provide bursaries for children whose location means they need to travel. In many rural areas, such as Bere Regis, there is no school, let alone college or training nearby, so they may have been funded right up to Year 11 but after that they will need to pay. This means that families in rural areas are forced to consider the financial implications of post-16 education rather than asking 'Is it the best option?'."
"I don’t think this is fair, and believe the Government should have increased their liability to provide travel when they increased the so called Age of Participation. Free travel to school should be available until 18 for those who live too far to walk or cycle to nearest school/college.”