A SPECIAL needs school cut off from public transport is celebrating after a charity donated a new minibus for its pupils.

Despite being just five miles from the city centre and less than three miles from Marston there is no public transport link to Woodeaton Manor School.

The school caters for children with special educational needs and emotional and social difficulties.

Many of its 76 pupils travel in by taxis funded by Oxfordshire County Council, which is considering a plan to axe free rides for students aged 16 or older who have special educational needs.

The school has not yet been impacted by cuts to free transport but the minibus - provided by children’s charity The Variety Club - will improve accessibility and allow pupils to be taken on school trips.

Headteacher Anne Pearce said: “We are thrilled and delighted that the Variety Club has been so generous in providing a minibus for our school.

“We are in a tiny hamlet and there is no local transport and so having a minibus is crucial.

“It will give us access to loads of activities both local and further afield.”

She added: “It will also give us access to the fantastic range of ‘Variety’ activities that happen all over the county.”

Islip train station - two miles away - is the closest form of public transport to the school.

The bus sponsor is a charitable organisation called The Italian Job, which sees classic car owners participate in fundraising events around the world to help children’s charity Variety and support children with special needs.

Two members of the organisation are local to the school and a parent is the charity’s mechanic.

In fact the minibus has been named Ollie after the mechanic’s son.

The vehicle was delivered to the school at the end of last week to much fanfare and a convoy of classic minis.

Mrs Pearce said: “Six classic mini cars were driven from far and wide to celebrate our new bus with the owners very happy to let our children sit in the cars, honk the horn and really enjoy the moment.

“It was a wonderful occasion with everyone enjoying specially prepared cupcakes all iced in Italian colours.

“We are all really thrilled - if you see us around Oxfordshire don’t forget to sound your horn and we will respond.”

Currently students aged 16-25 who have an education, health and care plan (EHCP), which sets out a young person’s individual needs, are currently entitled to free travel to their nearest suitable school.

But budget pressures, paired with a rising school population, has pushed the council to consult on plans to scrap the service, which costs £0.6m per year to run.

It means parents would have arrange transport or pay for the council provision.

The consultation ended on April 30.