Pupils at a Whitehaven school are being forced to cross “deadly” roads on a two-mile walk home after being turned away by Stagecoach.

A bus, which runs from Hensingham through Mirehouse and Kells to Greenbank, is regularly overcrowded, leaving Whitehaven Academy students without transport.

Worried parents have spoken out over the issue, with some children faced with walking home alone in the dark or forking out for a taxi after already purchasing a return bus ticket.

In response to concerns, Stagecoach has agreed to put on an additional bus in the “short term”.

Lisa Williamson, who lives at Mirehouse, said her daughter, Jess, 13, had been prevented from boarding the bus after school.

She said: “I’m just glad another parent offered her a lift or I don’t know what we would have done. She had no one to walk home with and she won’t get in a taxi on her own, and we wouldn’t want her getting a taxi alone.

“She is now panicking about going to school in case she can’t get home.”

Carl Walmsley, who represents Mirehouse on Whitehaven Town Council, has called on the school, Stagecoach and Cumbria County Council to arrange appropriate transport for pupils.

He said: "I really fear for some of these kids, as young as 11, being forced to walk home, even after buying a return ticket.

"It is my understanding there is not a school bus but a normal service bus that runs from alongside the school.

"There are two service buses getting the kids to school but only one to get them back so there lies the problem.

"I can’t believe there isn't a direct school bus for pupils from our secondary schools to the large estates.”

Dozens of parents shared their fears on the Mirehouse Matters Facebook group, with some calling for an additional permanent service along the route.

Coun Walmsley is worried about the children’s safety as nights get darker and the temperature drops.

"The dark and cold nights are upon us and some of the roads these kids are forced to cross on the way home are deadly,” he said.

"I'm having concerned parents off the estate messaging me regularly with their concerns and I fully back them.

"They want to know why there isn't a school bus. They want to know why there can’t be another single decker bus to compensate.

"They want to know why their kids can't get out slightly early for another bus to save congestion.

"More importantly, they just want to know their kids will be safe.”

In a letter to parents, academy head teacher, Warren Turner, said: “The Local Authority has made clear that they are unable to intervene since it is a registered service bus.

“Stagecoach are unable to provide a second vehicle, since the number of students fluctuate so much on each day that it would not be financially viable.

“We have been assured that return tickets and Stagecoach smart cards can be used on other services, such as the number 31 which passes the academy at 3.15pm.

“We would like to assure all parents that the health and safety of our students remains a key concern and we will continue to monitor the situation.”

Stagecoach’s additional service will start today (Thursday).

A spokesperson said: “We are aware of high demand for the 33C service at the end of the school day.

“This is something our local manager has been discussing with the school.

“We will continue to work with the school to identify a more sustainable longer-term solution.”