Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Questions (182)

Martin Ferris

Question:

182. Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Education and Skills if an earlier drop-off time can be facilitated for buses servicing a school (details supplied) in order that the school can attract more students which would allow retention of adequate teaching numbers. [25036/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

School transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of my Department.

There are currently over 117,500 children, including over 13,000 children with special educational needs, transported in over 5,000 vehicles on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country covering over 100 million kilometres annually.

The purpose of the 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.

Children are generally eligible for school transport if they satisfy the distance criteria and are attending their nearest school. Children who are eligible for school transport and who complete the application process on time will be accommodated on school transport services where such services are in operation for the 2019/20 school year. School transport services for eligible children generally operate during the ‘Standard School Year’ and are scheduled to facilitate a child’s attendance during normal school opening and closing times.

Bus Éireann is responsible for the planning and timetabling of school transport routes. Bus Éireann endeavours, within available resources, to ensure that each eligible child has a reasonable level of school transport service in the context of the Scheme nationally.

Bus Éireann has confirmed that there are currently two school transport scheme services operating to the school referred to by the Deputy, one of which arrives at the school at 9.05 a.m., the other at 9.15 a.m. and that the school starts at 9.30 a.m.

Bus Éireann is currently considering applications for the 2019/20 school year. School transport scheme services operating to the school for the 2019/20 school year will be determined by the number of children who apply and are deemed eligible for school transport.

The terms of the School Transport Schemes are applied equitably on a national basis.