MORE than 120 pupils who faced losing out on a free bus to school in York have won a reprieve for the next school year after a council rethink.

At the start of the year, The Press reported City of York Council proposals to withdraw free discretionary transport for church schools, affecting up to 123 pupils at Manor CE Academy and All Saints' RC School and York Outer MP Julian Sturdy claimed the plans were "discriminatory against Christians".

Mr Sturdy said a number of constituents had raised their concerns with him about the cuts, which would affect children from communities including Copmanthorpe, Dringhouses, Clifton Moor, Skelton, Hessay, Rufforth, Askham Richard and Askham Bryan.

The conservative MP said yesterday that he welcomed the re-think which came in a letter from Cllr Janet Looker, the executive member for education on City of York Council.

She said: "I am now in a position to advise you that we will not be making any changes to our current policy.

"This means that free discretionary denominational home to school transport will continue to be provided for those pupils in years 9, 10 and 11 and 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. They will receive free transport to their current school during the next school year and until they reach the end of year 11 for secondary aged pupils or year 6 for primary aged pupils."

But Cllr Looker said that the options may still need to be looked at long-term, saying: "I have asked officers of the local authority to look at future options around continuing to run vehicles to and from Manor CE Academy and St Wilfrid’s RC Primary.

"This will need to include how the vehicles will be funded. We do intend to communicate with schools and parents as we consider those options".

Cllr Looker said that those pupils not in receipt of free transport will continue to have access to those dedicated home to school transport vehicles providing they purchase a concessionary pass which is available from York Pullman at