Two-day Hearing Scheduled For This Week
A Leicestershire family who are campaigning against changes to the County Council’s School Transport Policy are set to take their challenge to the Court of Appeal this week.
Leicestershire County Council announced in March 2018 that it was amending its services by removing transport for eligible children aged between 16 and 18. Instead, it would provide payments so that families could arrange their own travel, which in most cases will not cover the total cost of the transport.
The plans, which were due to be implemented in September 2019 but have been ‘paused’ until September 2020, will also remove discounts on some transport support. This will leave many families having to make their own contribution towards it.
Irwin Mitchell’s specialist Public Law and Human Rights team has been instructed by the family of 17-year-old Kirstine Drexler to challenge the change in policy. However, at a hearing in April last year a High Court judge sided with the Council and did not allow the family’s application.
The legal experts lodged an application to appeal the High Court’s decision and were granted permission to take the family’s case to the Court of Appeal. The two-day hearing will take place this Thursday and Friday, 20 and 21 February, at the Royal Courts of Justice.
Expert Opinion“The changes planned would have a profound effect on Kirstine and many other young people in the area, and her family are understandably concerned.
Young people with complex needs often rely heavily on suitable transport to ensure they can access the education they deserve.
We once again welcome the opportunity to put forward the views of Kirstine and her family.
They would rather not be in this position, and we continue to encourage the local authority to work with families to rethink the changes.”
Steven Baylis - Associate Solicitor
Kirstine is severely disabled and she has made use of the transport services provided by the council to make the 26-mile round trip from her home in Markfield to her school.
Her father Stefan, 61, said: “The transport service has always made such a huge difference to Kirstine’s life. It is the highlight of her day and has helped her develop her own little group of friends. She would really miss it.
“It is also beneficial to us as a family, as it could take us around three hours a day to make the journey ourselves which would leave us stretched day-to-day.
“We are grateful that we can put our case across at the Court of Appeal this week, and we are determined to keep fighting for the Council to reconsider the changes.”
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