For Written Answer on : 31/05/2022
Question Number(s): 412 Question Reference(s): 27898/22
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Education her Department’s plans with respect to entitlement to school transport for students attending their second-nearest school for the coming school year; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
School Transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department of Education. In the current school year over 121,400 children, including over 15,500 children with special educational needs, are transported on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country at a cost of over €289m in 2021.
The purpose of my Department’s School Transport Scheme is, having regard to available resources, to support the transport to and from school of children who reside remote from their nearest school.
As you are aware the Department commenced a review of the School Transport Scheme in February 2021. The Steering Group presented me with an initial interim report, following consideration of this report, temporary alleviation measures were approved which allowed for the provision of transport for post-primary students who were otherwise eligible for school transport but were attending their second nearest school and had applied and paid on time. In effect, these students remained to be considered as concessionary but transport was provided for students who met the criteria.
These measures are in place for the current school year pending the outcome of the review. Decisions in regard to measures for the 2022/23 school year will be made shortly.