Mother is battling for help to get son to school

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A MOTHER is facing financial hardship after Scotland’s biggest council said it would no longer pay school transport costs for her severely disabled son.

Aaron Cleary, who has cerebral palsy and is unable to walk, talk or eat properly, currently attends the Craighalbert Centre, the Scottish Centre for Children with Motor Impairments.

For the past two years Glasgow City Council has paid transport costs after the sheriff court ordered it to fund Aaron’s placement. This was restricted to two years as, at the time, Craighalbert did not cater for children older than eight.

The centre is now able to provide Aaron’s education up until the end of his primary years, but the council has said it will no longer fund transport costs.

Two years ago, Glasgow City Council told the sheriff court that it could not afford to send Aaron to Craighalbert – which is in Cumbernauld, 20 miles from the family home – as it estimated the annual costs of a taxi and escort to be £43,000 per year.

When the family argued that all they required was petrol money – about £5,000 per year – the council agreed. However, this is now set to cease from October.

Yesterday Aaron’s mother, Stacey Stafford, said: “If we can’t afford to pay to take him to his school, Glasgow City Council will be able to remove Aaron from the Craighalbert Centre on the grounds that we cannot transport him there.”

She is planning legal action in a bid to secure transport costs.

Robina Qureshi, of the charity Positive Action in Housing, which has supported the family, said: “Glasgow City Council’s behaviour towards Aaron and his family is a shocking disgrace. We pay taxes to ensure vulnerable children are protected and nurtured in a caring environment.”

Last night, a council spokesman said: “We have agreed that Aaron can stay at the Craighalbert Centre. Officers are meeting his mother next week and we are not prepared to discuss the details in the media.”