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(UK) Belfast: Disabled 9 y. o. has no way to school; 3,500 students in NI taxied to school

Sept 6, 2022, Birmingham Mail: Girl, 9, missing school because mum can't afford £44 to get her there https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/girl-9-missing-school-because-24947993

Belfast The mum says she can’t afford to spend £44 [$51] a day on a taxi.

A mum says her daughter, aged just nine, is missing out on school as she can’t get her there. The mum says she can’t afford to spend £44 a day on a taxi. Christina Currie, 38, said daughter Amelia is stuck at home instead of at school. Speaking to Belfast Live, Christina said: "Amelia has been struggling with school for a long time due to her needs. She has learning difficulties and ADHD. Her dad had to take time out of work to make sure Amelia got to school for her first day on August 31 and home again afterwards. "It was a one-off for her first day but it's not something we can ask his employers for every time. I had to take her to school by taxi for the next two days as I don't drive….

"She's already about four years behind in terms of her education and for her to be sitting at home today and for goodness knows how long will set her back even further. Amelia has been really emotional over the weekend about it all as she was already settling in well at her new school. I have tried everything but there's nobody in my area taking their children to the same school or able to drive.

"I'm totally stressed out and exhausted by all of this, but until transport is sorted, my daughter is without any education. It just seems really unfair." The Education Authority said: “We are disappointed this experience has not been to the standard we would expect and we are continuing to work with the family to confirm alternative arrangements.

"Over 3,500 pupils, many of whom have Special Educational Needs, are transported to and from school by a taxi provided by EA and the well-documented shortage of taxi operators in Northern Ireland is impacting on some of our services this September.

Amelia Currie on her first day at her new school, St Colman's primary in Lambeg, last Wednesday