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Single mum fights for free transport for her daughter to go to school
A SINGLE mum has vowed to keep fighting for free transport to school for her daughter who has special needs, as the county council maintains she can walk - down a route the concened parent believes is unsafe.
Hilary Kemp's daughter, Harriet Cunningham, is in her second year at Holmer Green Senior School.
They live in Great Kingshill and for the last year Ms Kemp has been juggling her full time work in Uxbridge with the school run.
But some days she has not been able to pick Harriet up, so she has had to ask her 88-year-old mother with dementia to have Harriet for the day.
She said: "It is causing my daughter huge distress, who needs extra support anyway.
"Sometimes I just can't do it. Sometimes she misses school. I can't always be there."
She explained Buckinghamshire County Council first told Ms Kemp her daughter can walk to school with an adult, and said the distance was 1.77 miles.
But Ms Kemp said this route was unsafe as it was on roads without pavements, which had 50mph speed limits.
The council then said she should walk a 2.6 mile route to school, but Ms Kemp said this is also unsafe and said the route was closer to three miles. She said the council has also not carried out a risk assessment into the route.
Ms Kemp also said her daughter has autistic traits, which means she is vulnerable and could walk off with strangers.
Harriet also has asthma, and has a doctor's note saying that it would not be suitable for her to walk to school and her mother belives she meets the criteira of an eligible child for transport.
Ms Kemp says she is the main breadwinner of the family and said she cannot take time off work to walk Harriet to school and cannot afford a taxi.
She added she feels she is expected to give up her job to walk her to school.
The council has since said the transport decision was made in October 2012 and Ms Kemp has not appealed in the correct time frame.
She has now written to the Secretary of State.
Ms Kemp added: "I really don't understand why you get so kicked when you are down. I have supported myself as a single mother and I haven't gone onto benefits.
"I just want help for my daughter to get to and from school."
BCC spokesman, Richard Wells, said: "We're not able to discuss individual children's cases.
However, we always give every home-school transport enquiry careful attention, and where parents and carers don't agree with a particular decision about eligibility, we have a fair review process, which examines each case in detail."
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