A DISABLED teenager who ‘absolutely loves’ going to school could be barred from doing so because having turned 16 she is set to lose transport funding.

Leia Daunter, of Ross-on-Wye, suffers from cerebral palsy, microcephaly, epilepsy and spastic diplegia.

She was due to transfer from Hereford’s Barrs Court School to its sixth form college at the Hub in September, but her guardian says she will be unable to go due to transport costs.

Herefordshire Council introduced a parental contribution system in 2014 for all children with special educational needs aged 16 and over who wish to use the publicly funded school transport services.

Guardian Paulette Evans-Baldwin said Leia’s transport costs, which will now be more than £870 a year, had been covered by the council up until now.

She said she only receives £6.80 a fortnight towards her keep as they are blood relatives.

“The Hub was the only school in the county for her ability – there was nowhere else for her to go,” she said.

“We live in Ross, so we have no specialist school for her here.

“I appealed the council’s decision but the response I had was that because she is 16 she isn’t eligible for the funding.

“It’s absolutely disgusting that she will be unable to continue with her education because of transport costs.”

Ms Evans-Baldwin said Leia

is a happy girl who was looking forward to starting at the Hub, but she may be stuck at home if they can’t secure the funding.

“Leia absolutely loves school,” she said.

“She likes going to see her friends. She idolises school.

“Even when she’s too ill to go to school she goes absolutely bonkers if she can’t go.

“Normally, children who are told they have to stay home are happy to, but not Leia.”

A spokesperson for Herefordshire Council said the council decided to charge for transport five years ago.

“In 2014 the council approved a motion to introduce a parental contribution for all children aged 16 and over with special educational needs wishing to use the council’s school transport services,” she said.

“However, Barrs Court School does administer a scheme that offers families and carers of a SEN child financial assistance with school transport fees if they meet their funding criteria.”