Charity steps in to help mum in school transport row

Bucks Free Press: Hilary Kemp with daughter Harriet Hilary Kemp with daughter Harriet

A CHARITY which helps parents with special needs has stepped in to try and help a single mum get free transport to school for her daughter.

IPSEA, a national charity which gives free, legally based advice to parents of children with special educational needs and disabilities, has written to the secretary of state to help Hilary Kemp.

Ms Kemp, who lives in Great Kingshill, has been trying to get free school transport for her daughter, Harriet Cunningham, who is in her second year at Holmer Green Senior School.

But she has been met with resistance from Buckinghamshire County Council, who said Harriet can walk to school, accompanied by her mother.

But Ms Kemp works full time work in Uxbridge and cannot always pick Harriet up.

Ms Kemp's daughter has autistic tendencies, auditory sensory issues, asthma and significant difficulties with social communication.

Frustrated and fed up Ms Kemp approached IPSEA, who have written to the Secretary of State on her behalf.

The letter said: "IPSEA does not share the LA's interpretation of the duty to provide transport for eligible children."

It refers to a section in the Education Act which the letters said does not create a positive obligation on the parent to take the child to and from school every day.

It said Harriet is an "eligible child" and therefore the local authority is required to provide free of charge suitable home to school travel arrangements.

The letter says Harriet is eligible as she is of compulsory school age, a registered pupil at a qualifying school within walking distance from her home, who has special educational needs and as a result of those needs cannot be reasonably be expected to walk to school.

It says that the la say Ms Kemp can accompany her to and from school, but said this should be voluntary and not imposed upon.

It added: "As a charity that champions the rights of parents of children with special educational needs and/ or disabilities, it is of great concern to us that the LA is applying this unlawful practice to Harriet and potentially other eligible children in its area."

Spokesman for BCC, Richard Wells, said: "We have not received an approach from the Minister about Mrs Kemp’s home-school transport complaint but we would consider carefully any points he might raise with us."

Comments (12)

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12:15pm Tue 24 Dec 13

tigeran says...

If she was on benefits she would be provided with a taxi to and from school no doubt.
If she was on benefits she would be provided with a taxi to and from school no doubt. tigeran

2:08pm Tue 24 Dec 13

Shez da says...

It's only when some thing bad happens you get the help you so badly need.
It's only when some thing bad happens you get the help you so badly need. Shez da

4:26pm Tue 24 Dec 13

allrightnow2 says...

I assume she is talking about an individual taxi rather than a school bus as they live within 3 miles? She is attending a mainstream school so the expectation would be that she is able to travel like all other children. I think if transport is given it should be reviewed regularly because i'm assuming that at the end of her time in school we are expecting her to integrate into society and therefore at some point in the not too distant future she needs to learn to travel independently.
I assume she is talking about an individual taxi rather than a school bus as they live within 3 miles? She is attending a mainstream school so the expectation would be that she is able to travel like all other children. I think if transport is given it should be reviewed regularly because i'm assuming that at the end of her time in school we are expecting her to integrate into society and therefore at some point in the not too distant future she needs to learn to travel independently. allrightnow2

5:08pm Tue 24 Dec 13

Shez da says...

Not all children are able to cope with independent travel and need a little help and understanding only because a child looks like they can cope dose not always mean they can .
Not all children are able to cope with independent travel and need a little help and understanding only because a child looks like they can cope dose not always mean they can . Shez da

6:58pm Tue 24 Dec 13

Robert.M says...

It is absolutely obscene that a charity has to step in to help this lady, when she should be getting help from the authorities.
I suspect that were she on benefits, or an immigrant, she and her daughter would get all they need and more.
Nothing from this government for the hard working populous, they worry more about sending billions every year abroad and looking after immigrants on benefits.
It is absolutely obscene that a charity has to step in to help this lady, when she should be getting help from the authorities. I suspect that were she on benefits, or an immigrant, she and her daughter would get all they need and more. Nothing from this government for the hard working populous, they worry more about sending billions every year abroad and looking after immigrants on benefits. Robert.M

8:11pm Tue 24 Dec 13

allrightnow2 says...

Shez da wrote:
Not all children are able to cope with independent travel and need a little help and understanding only because a child looks like they can cope dose not always mean they can .
Absolutely. But what I would hate to happen is her to have travel all through school and then suddenly at the end of the school be expected to travel independently. Some children do need more support to travel and if that is the case I hope she gets it - especially if safety is a concern - but I hope she also gets the support to learn to travel independently as she will need to do so in the future.
[quote][p][bold]Shez da[/bold] wrote: Not all children are able to cope with independent travel and need a little help and understanding only because a child looks like they can cope dose not always mean they can .[/p][/quote]Absolutely. But what I would hate to happen is her to have travel all through school and then suddenly at the end of the school be expected to travel independently. Some children do need more support to travel and if that is the case I hope she gets it - especially if safety is a concern - but I hope she also gets the support to learn to travel independently as she will need to do so in the future. allrightnow2

8:13pm Tue 24 Dec 13

laura loo says...

Sadly this happens, I have a severely disabled child and had to fight to get 5 days at a day centre he has no transport provided and I have to pay to get him there and home again as I too have to work. Being a single parent is difficult but this lady says her child can't catch a bus because she has autistic tendencies and she can't be there to pick her up. Who then is looking after her when she gets off the transport?
Sadly this happens, I have a severely disabled child and had to fight to get 5 days at a day centre he has no transport provided and I have to pay to get him there and home again as I too have to work. Being a single parent is difficult but this lady says her child can't catch a bus because she has autistic tendencies and she can't be there to pick her up. Who then is looking after her when she gets off the transport? laura loo

9:10pm Tue 24 Dec 13

Shez da says...

When a child is at home and there is no unexpected added anxiety levels they tend to know how to put there coping strategies in place it is a safe familiar environment.and unfortunately parents have to work .
When a child is at home and there is no unexpected added anxiety levels they tend to know how to put there coping strategies in place it is a safe familiar environment.and unfortunately parents have to work . Shez da

11:23am Thu 26 Dec 13

snowbaby says...

tigeran wrote:
If she was on benefits she would be provided with a taxi to and from school no doubt.
The cost of school transport is enormous, and is paid for from our council tax, so it makes absolute sense that there are rules about who qualifies to have it provided free. Being on benefits is not in itself a reason for transport to be provided although it will be a contributary factor in some cases. It is right that this parent seeks appropriate advice about her situation but transport cannot be made available to everyone who wants it, only to those who really need it. We do not have enough information here to know which is the case. Has this parent, for example, provided supportive medical evidence that her daughter needs the transport? If this is not available, then County could reasonably question Harriet's level of need. It sounds as if mum can sometimes collect so perhaps she should be responsible for making arrangements on those days when she cannot. Transport cannot be provided for her convenience as if this was the case the level of demand would be absolutely overwhelming.
[quote][p][bold]tigeran[/bold] wrote: If she was on benefits she would be provided with a taxi to and from school no doubt.[/p][/quote]The cost of school transport is enormous, and is paid for from our council tax, so it makes absolute sense that there are rules about who qualifies to have it provided free. Being on benefits is not in itself a reason for transport to be provided although it will be a contributary factor in some cases. It is right that this parent seeks appropriate advice about her situation but transport cannot be made available to everyone who wants it, only to those who really need it. We do not have enough information here to know which is the case. Has this parent, for example, provided supportive medical evidence that her daughter needs the transport? If this is not available, then County could reasonably question Harriet's level of need. It sounds as if mum can sometimes collect so perhaps she should be responsible for making arrangements on those days when she cannot. Transport cannot be provided for her convenience as if this was the case the level of demand would be absolutely overwhelming. snowbaby

10:32am Fri 27 Dec 13

UKSal says...

It is impossible to suggest she should not get the transport talked about simply on the article published.There isn't enough info. As parents of SEN children we have to do what is right by the law as well as for their needs, to do otherwise is negligent. Councils have a similar duty. Too frequntly they (LA's) prefer to have lengthy legal battles with parents (usung tax payers money) rather than apply the law. Look up the massis of case law where councils have wasted money trying to avoid their obligations.
It is impossible to suggest she should not get the transport talked about simply on the article published.There isn't enough info. As parents of SEN children we have to do what is right by the law as well as for their needs, to do otherwise is negligent. Councils have a similar duty. Too frequntly they (LA's) prefer to have lengthy legal battles with parents (usung tax payers money) rather than apply the law. Look up the massis of case law where councils have wasted money trying to avoid their obligations. UKSal

5:43pm Sat 4 Jan 14

lee 41 says...

I hope Mr Gove forces BCC to fulfil it's lawful obligations' to a child in their county that they should be helping and supporting. That we the council tax payer should be wanting to help. Endless legal battles must surely be just as expensive if not more so than the qualifying transport itself. Having all the necessary evidence before him - medical and otherwise - as Mr Gove surely must do since Ms Kemp has probably gone to great lengths over months and months of torturous effort to finally reach this far, he surely must see that BCC have been wilfully negligent. It will be interesting to see how they manage to wriggle out of this - as I'm sure they will try to if past records are to go by. It's despicable how more and more councils throughout Britain are allowed to carry on directly negatively effecting people's lives even if it's against the law of the land. And what is more deeply disturbing is that they seem to have the governments' blessing since Cameron's lot got in!
I hope Mr Gove forces BCC to fulfil it's lawful obligations' to a child in their county that they should be helping and supporting. That we the council tax payer should be wanting to help. Endless legal battles must surely be just as expensive if not more so than the qualifying transport itself. Having all the necessary evidence before him - medical and otherwise - as Mr Gove surely must do since Ms Kemp has probably gone to great lengths over months and months of torturous effort to finally reach this far, he surely must see that BCC have been wilfully negligent. It will be interesting to see how they manage to wriggle out of this - as I'm sure they will try to if past records are to go by. It's despicable how more and more councils throughout Britain are allowed to carry on directly negatively effecting people's lives even if it's against the law of the land. And what is more deeply disturbing is that they seem to have the governments' blessing since Cameron's lot got in! lee 41

9:40pm Sun 19 Jan 14

L Brandon says...

lee 41 wrote:
I hope Mr Gove forces BCC to fulfil it's lawful obligations' to a child in their county that they should be helping and supporting. That we the council tax payer should be wanting to help. Endless legal battles must surely be just as expensive if not more so than the qualifying transport itself. Having all the necessary evidence before him - medical and otherwise - as Mr Gove surely must do since Ms Kemp has probably gone to great lengths over months and months of torturous effort to finally reach this far, he surely must see that BCC have been wilfully negligent. It will be interesting to see how they manage to wriggle out of this - as I'm sure they will try to if past records are to go by. It's despicable how more and more councils throughout Britain are allowed to carry on directly negatively effecting people's lives even if it's against the law of the land. And what is more deeply disturbing is that they seem to have the governments' blessing since Cameron's lot got in!
I totally agree with lee 41 BCC step up and do the morally correct and legal thing.BCC have an awful reputation and should be brought to rights at last across the board.
[quote][p][bold]lee 41[/bold] wrote: I hope Mr Gove forces BCC to fulfil it's lawful obligations' to a child in their county that they should be helping and supporting. That we the council tax payer should be wanting to help. Endless legal battles must surely be just as expensive if not more so than the qualifying transport itself. Having all the necessary evidence before him - medical and otherwise - as Mr Gove surely must do since Ms Kemp has probably gone to great lengths over months and months of torturous effort to finally reach this far, he surely must see that BCC have been wilfully negligent. It will be interesting to see how they manage to wriggle out of this - as I'm sure they will try to if past records are to go by. It's despicable how more and more councils throughout Britain are allowed to carry on directly negatively effecting people's lives even if it's against the law of the land. And what is more deeply disturbing is that they seem to have the governments' blessing since Cameron's lot got in![/p][/quote]I totally agree with lee 41 BCC step up and do the morally correct and legal thing.BCC have an awful reputation and should be brought to rights at last across the board. L Brandon

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