A school completion initiative in Navan, Co Meath, which parents and teachers say has helped reduced absenteeism is under threat from lack of funding.

This morning parents and students walked the 4km journey from Windtown on the outskirts of Navan town to Beaufort College, the designated feeder secondary school to highlight their concerns.

A pilot initiative run by Flexibus, which sees 57 students from the outskirts of Navan brought by bus to school in that area, was introduced in 2017.

In the past, student attendance in the area had been very poor.

There were problems with punctuality, referrals to the educational welfare office, no student had full attendance records and there were students who did not progress from first to second year.

It is a 45-minute walk to the school and teachers there say they were finding that children were tired and wet and there was a lack of concentration.

Some students were getting distracted on the walk to school and not showing up at all.

This pilot initiative was introduced for the 2017 school year and sees three 18-seater buses bringing the young people to school in time for breakfast club and home after homework club.

Absenteeism in the autumn term last year was only 4.1%, compared to 19.8% in 2016 when there was no service.

Since the introduction of the service, figures show there has been full transfer of students from primary school to secondary school and a 100% transfer from first year to second year.

Absenteeism has been more than halved and there are eight students this year with full attendance records.

Parents struggled to get them out of the bed to get them to walk to school, especially if it was raining outside.

Some students were late, as parents had to bring other kids to primary school first and then do the secondary school drop.

The service was funded by the Children and Young People Service's Committees as well as grants from the National Lottery, The National Transport Authority and Tusla.