A WIRRAL mum says her trust in the local authority is at “rock bottom” after it decided to withdraw her autistic son’s home to school transport because he lives less than two miles away.

From January, Lisa Whittle and many other parents across the borough will have to find an alternative way to get their children to school as Wirral Council removes special needs transport for those not meeting new criteria.

Lisa’s seven-year-old son Alfie is one of those who will be affected by the decision.

Alfie, who is autistic and has hypermobility, attends Hayfield School and has been eligible for Wirral Council’s free transport for four years.

But Lisa was given a devastating blow last month when she received a letter from the local authority, stating that Alfie would not be eligible for the transport after Christmas due to him living “too close” to school.

Lisa, who is also mum to a 17-year-old and 14-year-old, told the Globe it would be impossible to get her children to school on time if Alfie’s transport is taken away. She has since appealed the decision.

“Special needs transport is slowly being removed. My son is in the first tranche to be informed that he will no longer receive transport. They are using a mileage policy aimed at mainstream children,” said Lisa.

“They are saying Alfie is not eligible for home to school transport now because we live less than two miles away – we’re 1.4 miles from his school.”

Parents with children at Orrets Meadow and Elleray Park are also understood to be affected by the decision.

Lisa said: “I might not always have a car to be able to drive and it would take me approximately 40 minutes to get the bus. I can’t walk Alfie 1.4 miles because of his hypermobility. I also need to be home when my other son comes home because even though he’s 17, he’s still vulnerable as he is autistic too.”

In the letter sent to Lisa, it states that parents of children with special educational needs are required to submit an application form.

Mum Lisa went through that process last year when Alfie moved from another school which makes the decision even more shocking for her.

She said: “Alfie met the criteria in 2014 and nothing has changed. The application form has now been removed from Wirral Councils website so how can new parents apply?

“They have assessed Alfie on two miles which as I’ve pointed out should not be used in the case of a child with SEN.”

A letter from Alfie’s paediatrician in support of Lisa’s appeal states that due to Alfie’s autism, he is quite routine based and any changes to it could leave him unsettled for hours, having a detrimental impact on his education.

Lisa added: “Our trust in our local authority is at rock bottom with parents spending months fighting for what they end up getting anyway. It’s a total waste of time and it’s only the children who suffer.

“It not only effects our lives but also that of the escorts as they would lose their jobs.”

A spokesman for Wirral Council said: “Not every young person with special needs will need home to school transport. In many cases, it will benefit a young person’s development and self-esteem to travel more independently.

“Eligibility for home to school transport is reviewed on a regular basis to take account of changing needs, and takes account of information provided by relevant professionals, as well as by the pupils and their parents.

“There is a wide range of transport support available for eligible children and young people with special educational needs, including free travel passes for public transport, free travel in contracted vehicles and Independent Travel Training.

“If parents don’t agree with an assessment, they can appeal in writing within 20 days of the local authority’s decision. Details are available on the Wirral Council website.”