Contact supporting Coventry family challenging school transport cuts in court
Thursday 5th July 2018
Today we were supporting a Coventry family involved in a legal challenge to stop cuts to school transport for disabled teenagers.
The family of teenager Jodie Green from Whitmore Park in Coventry is challenging cuts to her school transport at a hearing at Birmingham Civil Justice Centre. Jodie, who has learning and mobility difficulties, was refused free school transport in September 2017 when Coventry Council changed its policy.
The family and their solicitors Irwin Mitchell were today seeking a judicial review about the government policy that is leading many councils to make similar cut backs. Unfortunately, the case was dismissed.
Una Summerson, Head of Policy at Contact, said: "We are disappointed that this issue did not get the proper scrutiny it deserves in court. It is turning the lives of disabled teenagers and their families upside down across the country. How can it be fair that the law says a disabled child must be in school until they are 18 but they stop receiving transport to get there when they turn 16?
"Disabled teenagers can't travel independently to school like other teenagers. Many can't use public transport so are unable to take advantage of discounted fares. And some are travelling a lot further to school, as they attend special schools or colleges.
"Despite this more and more disabled youngsters are being refused or charged for school transport because of a loophole in the law. The result is parents having to give up or reduce hours of work and disabled youngsters not completing their education or training. It is clearly discriminatory and unfair."
Jodie's dad Martin Green said: "We had been receiving petrol allowance for driving Jodie to and from her school - 28 miles a day. But suddenly that support was cut and we were expected to find the money ourselves.
"There are many other Coventry families affected in the same way and others who are now expected to pay £600 for the school bus. We decided to make a legal challenge on behalf of Jodie and all the other disabled teenagers being penalised by this policy."