Charlene Gower 0

Scrap Mileage Imposed By Essex County Council On School Transport For Children With Disabilities and SEN

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My daughter Isabella attends a school which was chosen by Essex County Council due to no other closer schools having any places, this situation has not changed since she started school at 4 years old. The school that they allocated us is just over 2 miles away and consists of very busy roads, narrow pavements and hills a 45-60 minute walk one way. They provided fuel allowance for me to drive her to school as we are over 2 miles but we are about to lose this when she turns 8 (June) as we then need to be 3 miles away. Isabella has severe Sensory Processing Disability and borderline Autism (we are awaiting a revised Autistic diagnosis). The walk for Isabella would be dangerous as she has no sense of danger, she would happily walk into the road and not think anything about it. She suffers from Violent and Explosive episodes without any provocation. If we were to walk the intended route with one controlled crossing and one pedestrian crossing (all other roads have no pedestrian facilities to aid us crossing) by the time Isabella got to school she would be too tired to carry out her day at school and mentally not able to cope. If we consider the weather as well she is likely in Autumn and Winter to arrive soaked and cold. Essex County Council need to understand that nothing changes when a child hits the age of 8 she still has disabilities which make her a danger to herself and others, no child irrespective of a disability/SEN should be made to walk over 2 miles to school. My husband works and pays the bills and I have quit my job to become Isabella’s full time carer - we don’t have extra money for fuel. We have saved Essex County Council a considerable amount of money over the years by not accepting a taxi. Essex County Council need to either continue to pay us fuel money or provide my daughter with a place at Kendall Primary School which is approximately 500 yards from our front door.

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