Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Questions (162)

Sean Fleming


165 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will outline the changes in relation to the catchment areas for school transport for the 2012-13 academic year and the implications this will have on families who currently have transport and their children are attending one school and his Department now saying that those new entrants to school may not be able to get a bus pass to those schools and may have to go to a different school; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35181/12]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Skills)

Changes to the Post Primary School Transport Scheme were announced in Budget 2011 and derive from recommendations in the Value for Money Review of the School Transport Scheme.

The main change to the current scheme means that from the 2012/13 school year, school transport eligibility for all pupils newly entering a post primary school will be determined by reference to the distance they reside from their nearest Post-Primary Education Centre having regard, as heretofore, to ethos and language.

In general, existing eligible and catchment boundary children including those who are not attending their nearest post primary centre will retain their transport eligibility for the duration of their post primary education cycle provided there is no change to their current circumstances. Siblings of these children and other children who are not attending their nearest school may apply for school transport on a concessionary basis only in accordance with the terms of the Post Primary School Transport Scheme.

The school transport charge for children who are eligible for school transport and for children who are availing of school transport on a concessionary basis remains at €350 for the next school year. This charge is subject to a family maximum of €650 per annum. This charge can be paid in two instalments in July and December.

The changes to the Post Primary School Transport Scheme will be applied equitably on a national basis.