Cambridge Blind Girl Dispute
10 January 2011, 06:00
The parents of a 10 year old blind girl are fighting Cambridgeshire County Council's decision not to pay for transport to their daughter's chosen secondary school.
Alexia Sloane has already got two GCSEs at A* in languages, and wants to go to Comberton Village College where she can take A Levels in languages.
However, she is only being offered free taxis to Netherhall School by the County Council, which is within the school catchment area of her family home.
Netherhall though does not offer the qualifications that Alexia wishes to take.
Alexia's parents, Richard and Isabelle, are now campaigning for the authority to pay for transport to Comberton, which is a few miles further away from their home than Netherhall.
They claim that, as a special needs and recognised gifted and talented child, Alexia is entitled to free school transport.
The family is not in a position to be able to afford to pay for Alexia's transport, due to the forced retirement of her father for medical reasons.
Dad Richard told Heart: "The only end I can really see is that if the Council back down and say yes we will give her free transport to Comberton.
We can't afford it, and for Alexia to get the provision that she needs, she needs to go to Comberton.
Unfortunately as I've had to retire from my job, we can't afford to pay for the transport ourselves, so we're a bit stuck at the moment."
A spokesperson for Cambridgeshire County Council said: ""Comberton Village College is not Alexia's catchment area school, therefore we cannot provide free transport.
Her catchment school is Netherhall, but since it is a parental decision to send her elsewhere, she must arrange her own transport.
We are trying to look at being flexible with what we would have provided to get Alexia to Netherhall, but this would leave a shortfall that the parent may need to cover.
We have also told the family that they are welcome to appeal against the decision, and the next appeals will be held in February."