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Contact supports family’s legal challenge of school transport cuts for their teenage daughter in Leicestershire

Wednesday 3rd April 2019

Today (Wednesday 3 April) the family of a disabled teenager start their legal challenge of Leicestershire County Council's changes to their post 16 school transport policy.

Dad Stefan Drexler acting for his daughter Kirstine, has secured a judicial review of the council decision to start charging or withdrawing  school transport for his daughter. The hearing will be held at Birmingham Civil Justice Centre today and tomorrow.

School transport inquiry

Una Summerson, Head of Campaigns at Contact, said: "Yet again a family already under enormous pressure caring for a disabled child, is having to use the courts to fight for their child's basic rights. It shouldn't be like this, but we fully support the Drexler family's legal bid. We have campaigned on this issue since our school transport inquiry two years ago showed that a loophole in the law was being exploited by increasing numbers of councils leading to more and more disabled teenagers up and down the country being charged or refused school transport.

"The law says a young person is expected to be in school or training until 18 but does not have the transport to get there once they turn 16. This loophole means funding transport for disabled teenagers is up to the individual council's discretion. As councils struggle with budget pressures many are withdrawing funding for disabled youngsters to receive school transport. And that's why we are calling for the loophole to be closed."

School transport campaign

A petition Contact held on this issue last summer, gained 10,000 supporting signatures. Last week in support of Contact's campaign Stephen Lloyd MP for Eastbourne, tabled an Early Day Motion on the issue calling on the Government to amend the law to make local authorities statutorily responsible for the provision of school transport for disabled young people aged between 16 and 18.

Contact's school transport inquiry found that the impact of losing school transport is huge with parents having to give up work and some young people not being able to complete their education.