A high-flying A-level student's family are angry that their son has to rely on lifts from people in his village after his school bus route was axed. 

Lewis McGregor, 16, only moved to England from India in 2022 to join his father, Alistair, in Dalton-on-Tees, between Northallerton and Darlington. 

However, after issues finding him a school place, he eventually moved to Northallerton School, where he aced his GCSEs and is currently studying four A-levels, including maths and further maths. 

Despite all going well at Northallerton School, Lewis was informed at the end of 2023 that his school bus route was getting axed and he would have to find his own way to school. 

The Northern Echo: Lewis McGregor at a bus stop in Dalton-on-TeesLewis McGregor at a bus stop in Dalton-on-Tees (Image: SARAH CALDECOTT)

After trying to find another route to school, including the public bus, which would get him to school almost an hour-and-a-half early, the teenager has been relying on lifts from generous members of the Dalton-on-Tees community for the last few months. 

But Lewis's father insists that this method of transport isn't "sustainable" and has called for the council to help with buses and school transport. 

Mr McGregor said: "I don't know how we've managed to get Lewis to school each day - it's got to the point where we have to drop a message online on a Sunday to see if anyone is going to Northallerton that week.

"I'm not sure from one day to the next whether I can get him to school or not.

The Northern Echo: The bus service for Lewis was cut at the end of last yearThe bus service for Lewis was cut at the end of last year (Image: SARAH CALDECOTT)

"The council axed the bus route without warning - with the bus driver only mentioning it to Lewis in passing."

For the foreseeable future, Lewis's family are unsure how their teenage son is going to make the 12-mile journey to Northallerton each day with no signs of any other school bus service on the horizon. 

This is despite Dalton-on-Tees having a school bus service that runs to Richmond School.

According to Mr McGregor, the council have said that Lewis isn't entitled to free school bus services, due to Northallerton School being 'outside' the catchment area; a decision that has angered the family and those close to the family in Dalton-on-Tees.

Mr McGregor added: "The villagers have been so generous and approached me in the village to see if Lewis has got sorted with a bus yet. 

"But we've had to beg lifts up until this point, surely there is a better way?"

The Northern Echo: The council has responded to Lewis and his family saying the route was axed because lack of usageThe council has responded to Lewis and his family saying the route was axed because lack of usage (Image: SARAH CALDECOTT)

In response, North Yorkshire County Council has said that the bus route that Lewis got to Northallerton School was cut because no other student used it. 

The local authority has also insisted that Northallerton School isn't in Lewis's catchment area.

North Yorkshire Council’s assistant director for education and skills, Amanda Newbold, said: “All young people carrying on their education after the age of 16 can apply for travel support and where eligible, families must contribute to the cost.

"To qualify, the sixth form or college which a student wishes to attend should be their local catchment school or the nearest college to their home. This establishment must also be within a walking distance of three miles."


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The assistant director for education and skills at the council added: “For the village of Dalton-on-Tees, the catchment school for the home address is Richmond School and Sixth Form College, which is more than 10 miles away.

"The nearest sixth-form provision is Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College, which is five miles away. Therefore this student would unfortunately not qualify for assistance with transport to Northallerton School and Sixth Form College as this is further away.

“The service from Dalton-on-Tees to Northallerton School and Sixth Form College was withdrawn as there are no other pupils eligible for travel that required this route.”