Eastbourne mother forced to quit teaching job over disabled son's transport

A mother has been forced to quit teaching so she can take her disabled son to school.

Wednesday, 22nd March 2017, 10:51 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:11 am

Leanna Forse’s son, Billy, lost his County Council-funded travel when he turned 16 – even though the nature of his disability had not changed.

She has had to pay £500 a month for a taxi to get Billy to his education, something she says she cannot sustain.

So last week, Leanna said she had no other choice but to hand in her notice at the school where she works.

Now, the single mother is campaigning for change. She spoke in Parliament at an inquiry organised by Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell earlier this month, and says she is going to keep fighting.

The teacher, 36, of Mulberry Close said, “It feels raw sometimes but I have come to terms with the decision.

“Maybe, one day, policies and laws will change and I will be able to go back to a job I have always loved and worked hard for. I love my job but obviously, I love Billy more.

“I’m in contact with charities Embrace and Contact a Family. They have been absolutely amazing, a massive support.

“We are looking at ways we can fight these decisions and help out families in this situation.

“It’s so wrong. I know so many families will have had to leave their jobs to do the transport themselves, or reduce hours if they can.

“We will continue to fight and campaign for changes so children and young people with disabilities – and their parents – are treated with equality and fairness and the respect they absolutely deserve.

“If my child didn’t have a disability would I be in this situation?”

Leanna is backing a petition by former MP Stephen Lloyd calling for the Education Secretary to rethink spending £20m on grammar school taxis when transport for state-schooled disabled children like Billy is being cut by £7m a year.

She said, “It’s blatant discrimination towards children with disabilities. Where’s the equality?

“Why is this child worth more than another? It’s one rule for one and one rule for another.”

The petition is available at: www.change.org/p/justine-greening-mp-stop-20m-funding-for-grammar-school-pupils-taxi-service