A GOVERNOR at a special school in Oxford has accused a council of leaving vulnerable children 'out in the cold' over transport plans.

As reported on the Oxford Mail's front page in March, Oxfordshire County Council is considering axing free school transport for pupils aged 16 or older with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND).

With just hours left for public consultation on the plans, Mabel Prichard School has spoken of parents' 'devastation'.

Damian Haywood, a parent and chair of governors at the Blackbird Leys school, said: "Parents of young people at our school are devastated by the county’s plans.

"Many families will be affected and this is causing a huge amount of stress for parents and their children."

The council has been collecting opinions about the controversial proposal, but comments will close at 11.59pm tonight - click here to take part.

Mr Haywood's son Matias is among those who would be affected by the plan, as he turns 16 next year.

He added: "Education for our children after they are 16 is a lifeline.

"It means many young people with disabilities get the support that they need as they move into adulthood.

"The financial support for travel stops them from being excluded from our school system.

"This is being done under the banner of making SEND children more independent - in reality it will leave them out in the cold."

Lucy Wawrzyniak, headteacher of Mabel Prichard, echoed his concerns and warned the policy 'could stop [parents] choosing the education that's best for their child'.

The council said the move would affect 124 youngsters, meaning parents would have to arrange their child's own travel or pay hundreds of pounds to pay for council provision.

Last month the council defended the plan, stating the service was not a statutory requirement and costs £0.6m per year to run.

A final decision following consultation is expected in June.