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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I have been in dispute with central beds

Customer Question

I have been in dispute with the local councils transport commissioning entitlement team concerning withdrawal of home to school transport for my two grandchildren who are statemented and have special needs.Because of an 'historic error'the council implemented the 3 mile rule from september 2014 meaning that any children that live within 3 miles (except if they have free school meals,on income support or full working tax credit) have had transport withdrawn.My grandchildren live 2.4 miles by the councils shortest safest walking route (assessment carried out and disputed by myself) which means crossing the very busy A5 in Dunstable with a total of 27 road crossings.The assessment was carried out by XXX (Amey) by a fully grown man who it took 45 mins to walk.it was deemed that the route is safe and it is not disputed that for an adult and a child without my grandchildrens needs would be safe.but with the specific characteristics of my granchildrens difficulties would make it unsafe for them. My grandson has adhd.autistic traits.significant learning difficulties.difficulties with comprehension of road safety and an abnormal chromosome profile.and my grandaughter has moderate learning difficulties.difficulties with language.interactions and relationships.difficulties following istructons.difficulties with comprehending road safety.highly vulnerable.abnormal chromosome profile.an unusual walkiing gait and poor balance. without going into too much detail as it is a long story my daughter and I have previously since july apllied for transport,had a written appeal and panel appeal(18th Nov) which have all been rejected.despite written medical support from thier GP.the headmaster at weatherfield academy (special needs school) and representations from an education specialst solicitor including relevant points of law.In spite of this everything was rejected and now my only option is to escalate it to the local government ombudsman.I myself have been taking the children to school since september and have temporarily given up my part time time job.My daughter does not drive and works at a different special needs school as a teaching assistant.She explained at the teachers training day at the start of term in September that because of the withdrawal of transport she would have to be a little late in the mornings and would have to leave earlier in the afternoons and was told that if that was the case she could not keep her job hence the reason Iam taking them.It seems to me that my daughter and husband are being penalised and discriminated against for working as the TCET say that working and domestic commitments are not considered.They say that at no point have the council or could the council state that the children must walk to school but it is the parents responsibility to get the children to school and to determine the mode of travel,but  in effect my daughter would have no option but to use public transport which would mean catching two buses each way three times a day costing somewhere in the region of £15 a day or £75 a week because as previously stated she does not drive.  Do you think it is worthwhile escalating this to the local ombudsman and if so any advice would be helpful.kind regards ***** *****

Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law

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