Mum in school transport row

Tori Kenyon with her son Tyler.
Tori Kenyon with her son Tyler.

The mother of a disabled boy is locked in a row with town hall bosses after they refused to fund his four-mile trip to school – but offered to pay for a longer journey instead.

Council bosses will not pay for Tyler Wraith Kenyon’s four-mile round trip to Red Marsh Special School, in Thornton, because he lives within – but on the edge of – Blackpool Council’s authority boundary.

According to council policy the four-year-old, who lives with his family on Willowdene, in Thornton, should attend a Blackpool school instead of a Lancashire County Council run school if he wants to qualify for free transport.

But his mum Tori Kenyon, 35, said the nearest Blackpool school is a nine-mile round trip from his home.

Mrs Kenyon, a mother-of-four said: “I’ve been down every avenue possible to get him transport, but I’m not getting anywhere. I have a daughter who attends Norbreck Primary Academy and she’s late every day as I have to drop Tyler off as well.

“I know other children who get transport from Blackpool to Red Marsh, so why not my son?”

Tyler has cerebral palsy and a condition called Dandy-Walker Syndrome, which is a congenital brain malformation affecting his speech and co-ordination.

It means he has a mental age of about two and is only just learning to walk and talk.

Despite its location Blackpool Council pays for his place at Red Marsh Special School, just two miles from his home.

Mrs Kenyon said: “The council will pay for Tyler’s transport if I sent him to Woodlands Special School, nearly five miles away on Whitegate Drive, which could take up to an hour to get to in rush hour traffic. Surely to put a taxi from Woodlands to Thornton would cost more?”

To help sort the issue, she has even enlisted the help of Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard who was told “council policy is very explicit on this issue.”

Coun Ivan Taylor, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for children’s services, said despite distance to the schools, the decision is down to council policy.

He said: “We do not pay for transport for children from Blackpool using schools outside of the town when we have excellent facilities ourselves.

Mrs Kenyon obviously has the right to choose to send her child to Red Marsh, and that’s clear, but it has been explained to her that Blackpool Council cannot and will not pay transportation costs.

“That is policy, and I agree with it 100 per cent.”

He added: “Why should it fall on Blackpool rate payers to pay for transport to a Lancashire school when we have excellent facilities available here?”

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