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Penkridge dad fights for free transport for his disabled daughter

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: August 01, 2014

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THE family of a disabled Penkridge girl say her free transport to college has been cut despite promises she would be eligible until she was 25.

John Murcott’s 19-year-old daughter has autistic disabilities and travels to Newcastle under Lyme to study as it was judged to be best place for her to continue her education.

The former Walton Hall School pupil had to battle to get free transport for this year when Staffordshire County Council said she was not eligible for it.

But Mr Murcott, who lives in Rodbaston, complained and involved Stafford MP Jeremy Lefroy. The council re-examined the case and decided that she was eligible as she came under a scheme, which provided specialist transport to school or college pupils up to the age of 25, providing the course began before their 19th birthday.

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But when applying for transport again for September this year Mr Murcott said his daughter had been refused again because her course was changing.

As the terms and conditions state free transport is only offered to a course which starts on or before the young person’s 19th birthday and Mr Murcott’s daughter was judged as starting a new course. As she is over 19 she is no longer eligible.

Mr Murcott, who asked for his daughter’s name not to be revealed, said: “It seems unfair as last year’s course was an introductory step-up ahead of her moving onto her main art and design course.

“This means every student in the same position as our daughter would lose their transport in the second year.

“I have chronic health conditions too and it is difficult enough without all of this.”

Ben Adams, Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for learning and skills, said: “The county council is keen to support all people, regardless of disability or special educational needs, to have access to the best education and training opportunities.

“As part of this we do offer subsidised travel for some pupils, as we have in this case, and of course we would be more than happy to review the application following her decision to switch to a new course.

“We understand she is keen to start back in September and if the family would like us to carry out a review this would be done as quickly as possible over the summer.”

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