Berkshire

Disabled girl's 80-minute three-mile journey to school in Reading

Reading Borough Council
Image caption Reading Borough Council has apologised for its "poor handling" of the girl's transport arrangements

A disabled girl with extreme tiredness was forced to travel 80 minutes to school daily although it was only three miles from her home, a report has said.

Reading Borough Council initially put on transport for the unnamed primary school pupil which took 55 minutes.

It later changed arrangements, adding a second child to the journey, which meant it took a further 25 minutes.

An ombudsman report said this affected the girl's wellbeing and ability to learn. The council has apologised.

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman report said the girl had a rare genetic condition that caused extreme tiredness, plus muscle weakness and stiffness in the legs, and meant she used a wheelchair.

'Undue stress'

The school reported how tired the girl was and the mother noted she was "frustrated and tearful" when returning home after a second child was added to the journey, the ombudsman said.

Reading Borough Council said its "poor handling" of the transport arrangements had caused "undue stress" to the mother and the girl, who began attending the unnamed primary school in February 2018, the Local Democracy Reporting Service reports.

It has since shortened the girl's journey and agreed to pay compensation costs totalling £380.

Government guidance states the maximum journey, each way, for a child of primary school age should be 45 minutes.

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