Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (435)

Seán Haughey


435. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Education and Skills if transport is provided directly or indirectly for preschool children attending crèches, Montessori schools and community early-learning centres, including children with special needs and intellectual disabilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32008/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

School transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills. 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 Primary and Post-Primary School Transport Schemes is, having regard to available resources, to support the transport to and from school of children who reside remote from their nearest primary school or post-primary school/education centre. Children are generally eligible for school transport if they satisfy the distance criteria and are attending their nearest recognised school as determined by the Department/Bus Éireann, having regard to ethos and language.

The purpose of the School Transport Scheme for Children with Special Educational Needs is, having regard to available resources, to support the transport to and from school of children with special educational needs arising from a diagnosed disability. Children are generally eligible for transport where they have a diagnosed disability and are attending their nearest recognised mainstream school, special class/special school or a unit that is or can be resourced to meet their special educational needs. Eligibility is determined in consultation with the National Council for Special Education through its network of Special Education Needs Organisers.

Transport is not provided under the terms of my Department's School Transport Scheme to the facilities referred to by the Deputy.

All 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.

The terms of the schemes are applied equitably in a national basis.