Community Council Schools

Johnny Marr’s niece wins victory over plans to withdraw Brentwood Special School bus

By Peter Trollope at
The niece of former The Smiths guitarist, Johnny Marr, has won her legal battle over Trafford Council’s decision to withdraw transport to and from Brentwood Special  School.
Jodie Lockwood was one of eleven teenagers who had transport withdrawn last September.
Jodie’s mum, Claire Lockwood, challenged the council through solicitor Sarah
Woosey from the law from Irwin Mitchell with the help of the Sale-based, SOS Trafford,
which was set up by a group of parents to fight the withdrawal of transport.
Johnny launched a scathing attack on Trafford Council and David Cameron during
his gig at Manchester’s Albert Hall last October and backed his sister and the
group of parents fighting to have the decision reversed.
 “Seeing as you’re in our city I’d just like to ask you about the Brentwood school
for disabled children in South Manchester,” he said.
“Do you know what it’s like for an autistic girl to have to get on a public bus to go
to school every single day?
“It is inhuman. This is not fair. That’s not the way we want to do things in
Manchester…We don’t do it that way round here Mr Cameron, because we’re fair
and were Mancunians.”
Parents making their feelings known at a Council meeting

Parents making their feelings known at a Council meeting

 Following legal advice, Claire re-applied for transport and Trafford Council were
forced to reverse their decision.
Now the Council has implemented the new All-Age Transport Policy which means parents of post-16 pupils will have to pay £200 a term for transport to and from school.
“Jodie was clearly entitled to home/school transport and whilst we’re delighted
she’s back on the bus we’re very disappointed that the council took 8 months
and the threat of legal action to recognise this,” said Sally Wheatman, co-
ordinator of the parents’ group SOS Trafford, in Sale
“The other teenagers are still without transport and this has caused huge
hardship to their families. We’re also very disappointed that, under the new
policy, parents will now be charged for their teenagers to be taken to and from
school.
“Most young people in this age group can access public transport. Our children
have multiple and severe disabilities. Many have associated health problems and
need transport with trained passenger assistants. Most of our youngsters will
never be able to travel independently. Charging for this service is a slap in the face for those devoted and dedicated parents who struggle every day to do the best for their young people in a world where they are increasingly given  very little support,” added Sally
Sarah Woosey, a public law expert from Irwin Mitchell, representing the family,
said:“There are very clear legal duties on local authorities to provide transport to
those who meet specified criteria when they are under the age of 16.
Once young people reach the age of 16, the law provides for local authorities to use
their discretion to provide suitable school transport where it is needed. In
exercising their discretion, authorities should take into account relevant
circumstances which would include consideration of a young person’s needs,
amongst other factors.
In Jodie’s case, I do not consider that Trafford fully considered the extent of her disability and the difficulties this would cause her in relation to travel, but am glad that transport is now in place.”
Brentwood Special School caters for children with severe, profound and multiple learning
difficulties along with pupils with severe learning difficulties and Autistic
Spectrum Disorders.
“Getting Jodie back on the bus has been a difficult and gradual process,” said
Claire Lockwood. “She found the change in routine difficult to cope with when transport was
removed. It’s also hard for her to start travelling on the bus again but she has been able to
access transport again which has given her back some independence. The whole
situation has been so stressful and exhausting,” she added.
Sale Today are  asking Trafford Council to comment on this story. We will bring their statement when we have it.