Transport Petition

Last Thursday families affected by changes to school transport delivered a petition to Downing Street, calling on the government to close the loophole in school transport law for disabled teens.

With over 10,000 signatures, the petition echoed the concerns of more and more families with a disabled child throughout the country as councils exploit a loophole in the law.

Even though a young person is expected to be in school or training until 18 the loophole means it is the individual council’s discretion whether to fund their transport there once they turn 16. As councils’ struggle with budget pressures, more and more are withdrawing funding for disabled young people to receive school transport.

Una Summerson, head of policy at Contact, said: “We know from our school transport inquiry that the impact of losing school transport is huge – with parents having to give up work or disabled teenagers unable to complete their education.

“We understand councils are under enormous budget pressures but we don’t believe the solution is to pass this pressure on to disabled children and their families who already face significant extra challenges and costs.”

Laura Groves, from Coventry, whose 16-year-old daughter Sara, is paralysed from the chest down, and has learning difficulties, epilepsy and scoliosis, said: “We’ve been told we need to pay £600 to continue getting the transport that my daughter Sara has had since she started at the school aged three. This is unaffordable and unfair.”

Hear more from the families who delivered the petition on Radio 5 Live (article begins at 09:03).

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