Q My child has cerebral palsy. She cannot walk and has to be pushed in her wheelchair, although she does sometimes use an electric wheelchair. Her school is close to our home but the local education authority provides transport for her. I have read in the press that a new school transport Bill going through Parliament will affect rights to transport. Can you clarify the situation?
A The School Transport Bill 2004 aims to enable local authorities to run school travel schemes tailored to the needs of their areas.
The proposals will also address environmental concerns about the school run by enabling local authorities to develop schemes to increase the number of pupils travelling to school by bus.
However, the Bill also suggests that the duty to provide transport under the Education Act 1996 (which results in the provision of transport for your daughter) will be replaced.
It is unclear as to exactly what the new provisions will mean for disabled children. However, I think it unlikely that the local authority will no longer provide transport in your circumstances. In any event, the Bill may fall if there is a General Election before it is passed.
David Ruebain is a partner specialising in education and disability discrimination at the law firm Levenes. www.levenes.co.uk
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