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Eastbourne & Willingdon Lib Dems

County Council Fails to Support Local Boy

March 2, 2010 8:44 PM

Stephen Lloyd, Mrs Godden and Lee at home with the home-education materials.The parents of a young boy with learning disabilities have been forced to educate their son at home because of a lack of support from East Sussex County Council. Hampden Park resident, Mrs Godden, says that her son Lee, who had been attending Causeway School, is having to be home-educated because the county education department refuse to assist them in paying for travel expenses to his school.

Mrs Godden said: "Lee is very happy at Causeway School and the Head, Mr Terry Boatwright and his staff have been really supportive in trying to help Lee stay at Causeway. However, though we've been through the tribunal process with the County Council, and an Appeal, they have decided they are not prepared to pay for Lee's taxi fare to and from Causeway School. We simply cannot afford to pay ourselves and because of Lee's disability we dare not risk letting him make his own way by bus to the school. The last time we tried it he ended up in the town centre very confused and frightened. The education department know that my own disability also prevents me from taking Lee to school myself so I am at my wits end about what to do."

She added: "Causeway School has a really good special needs department so I do want him to attend but County Hall just don't appear to be interested in helping us."

Stephen Lloyd, Lib Dem parliamentary spokesman, who has been trying to assist the family said: "I find it incredible that despite all the necessary evidence County Hall do not want to help this family. Its also not good enough for them to say that Lee can go to ETC as his siblings attend Causeway, his learning disability means that changing school would be very hard on the lad and the whole family feel very strongly that the best education available for Lee would be at the school he has got used to. I will be writing to the Cabinet Member responsible for education in East Sussex, Cllr David Elkin, asking that he urgently intercede on Lee's behalf. The parents are adamant that home education is not their preferred choice, particularly for a disabled youngster but they simply do not have the money to pay the taxi fare themselves, which is £12 per day. I do hope, even at this late stage, common sense will prevail.