Children as young as three are now being put through a lottery for school places in Brighton and Hove.

Some are being sent to schools two miles from their homes and communities after losing out in the process.

In several cases the youngsters would have to take two buses each way on a journey of around 45 minutes.

The situation has been revealed by devastated parents who learned of their children's fates when Brighton and Hove City Council sent out its primary school allocation letters this week.

The council has been involved in high profile rows over its lottery for secondary school places for the past three years but this is the first time the issue has flared for younger children.

Lotteries have now been introduced as a final decider for entry into two popular Catholic primary schools, causing knock-on effects across the city.

The situation has prompted calls for urgent action to increase capacity in areas of the city where there are no longer enough school places for children living nearby.

Rachel Fryer, the Green party education spokeswoman on Brighton and Hove City Council, said: "Clearly it is ridiculous that children, whatever their faith, are having to travel so far across the city, particularly at this age. This needs to be looked at urgently."

The council said it had extended school places in the central Hove area and was looking at further options to meet the demand.

Thousands of parents received allocation letters this week.

While the majority successfully won places at one of the preferred schools there were some deeply disappointed.

Pamela McKellar, from Wilbury Villas, Hove, had hoped her three-year-old Grace would get a place at Cottesmore St Mary's Catholic Primary, within sight of their home.

She missed out in the lottery, which was run by the school because it was oversubscribed by Catholic children from its linked churches.

To compound the disappointment Grace was also denied a place at either of the family's next two nearest schools because they were full, partly through other children being turned away by Cottesmore.

As a result she has been allocated a place at Fairlight Primary, two miles away in St Leonard's Road, Brighton.

Mrs McKellar said: "It just seems crazy. There is a massive shortage of primary school places in Hove and Grace’s allocated school is miles from where we live."

Meanwhile hundreds more parents missed out on their first choice school under the current walking distance rules, with some claiming wealthy families have monopolised places by moving close to the most popular schools.

Have you been affected? Call Andy Chiles on 01273 544548 or tell us below.