CHILDREN moving between parents' homes under shared custody arrangements are "unfairly penalised" over free school transport, it has been claimed.

Wee County mother Lynsey Uttley said she might have to fork out an extra £500 a year, while her daughter Darcey's life could be completely upended, due to limitations on council-provided free school transport.

The youngster, whose parents separated, splits her time between homes in Bannockburn and Clackmannanshire during the week.

However, she will only have a bus pass to get to St Modan's High School from her dad's home when she starts S1 in August.

Mum Lynsey said: "We have an arrangement where it's 50-50 custody, she doesn't stay in house more than a couple of days."

She was successful in applying for a bus pass from Darcey's dad's house, but she told the Advertiser: "They said she can't get a bus from my house to the school or back, she can only get one pass, it can only be from one address.

"I tried to tell them that she has two addresses, but apparently that's not possible."

Lynsey said she was told by the council that its policy did not allow children to travel to school for free from more than one address and that "affects lots of other families".

The mum added: "If it affects other families then why are they not doing something to address this?

"How could it just be: 'suck it up'.

"It's not her [Darcey's] fault that her parents don't live together."

With ambitions laid out by the Scottish Government to extend free bus travel to all young people in 2021-22, the situation puzzles Lynsey even more.

She said: "So she [will be able] to get a free bus wherever she wants, just not to school."

Lynsey fears her daughter will have to "change her whole lifestyle" as a result.

She said: "She really has a secure situation where she comes to her dad's house and my house – it's fluid, it makes her secure.

"And she does have a younger brother, I'm going to have to fork out £1,000 [£500 each] in the next couple of years for the privilege of my children getting to and from school.

"I just don't really understand how in this day and age, when there's so many separated families, that we could still be penalised like that."

A spokeswoman for Clackmannanshire Council confirmed the local authority's school transport policy.

She said: "Clackmannanshire Council, similar to most local authorities, only provides one bus pass per child.

"Children are entitled to a bus pass for one home address, which is the registered home address with the school they attend.

"If the council had to provide space for all children who attended school from more than one address, it would mean having to provide space on transport that would not be getting used every day.

"Providing additional school transport space would have both a financial cost to the council and increase our carbon footprint."