Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Questions (315)

Denis Naughten


420 Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for Education and Science further to Parliamentary Question No. 182 of 17 December 2003 the cost savings of the standardised school year; if this forms part of the review; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1264/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Science)

The review relates to the school transport scheme. While the specific issue relating to the standardised school year is not part of that review, expenditure under the terms of the scheme is constantly monitored to ensure that the most efficient and cost effective service is provided including the co-ordination of school transport services as appropriate.

The main objective of the commitment to standardise the mid-term breaks and holiday periods at Christmas and Easter as provided by Sustaining Progress is to provide certainty to families on school closure times.

Prior to the introduction of the agreed arrangements for the school year 2003-04 schools were free to decide on holiday periods and mid-term breaks on an individual basis. This led to variation in the closure times of schools, which caused problems to parents with children attending different schools. I am satisfied that the new arrangements provide real benefits to parents.