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Charity steps in to help mum in school transport row
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."
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