Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Questions (430)

Willie Penrose

Question:

545 Mr. Penrose asked the Minister for Education and Science the person who has responsibility in respect of the care of school children who are deposited at their school ten or 15 minutes prior to the time of opening where such early deposition is necessary to comply with the school bus timetable; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2099/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Science)

In the organisation of the school transport system, buses are normally required to operate a number of runs. This is to provide a basic level of service, while achieving optimum value from resources available. In order to facilitate the effective operation of these services, children may be required to be dropped off prior to school opening hours or picked up some time later than the end of the school day. This is a feature of the school transport scheme as operated throughout the country.

Essentially, it is a matter for the managerial authorities of primary schools to arrange adequate supervision and insurance cover for children while they are on the school premises. Subject to the authority of the board of management, it is the responsibility of the principal teacher to organise and participate in the effective supervision of pupils during breaks, lunch periods, assembly and dismissal.