Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Questions (506)

Verona Murphy

Question:

506. Deputy Verona Murphy asked the Minister for Education the reason for the ongoing delay in payments of the special transport grant; when outstanding payments for the July provision and outstanding payments for term 1 of the 2020-2021 school year are expected to be paid; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38461/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

School Transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department of Education. The purpose of my Department's 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.

In the 2019/20 school year over 120,000 children, including over 14,200 children with special educational needs, were transported in over 5,000 vehicles on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country covering over 100 million kilometres at a cost of over €219m in 2019.

With regard to transport arrangements for the Summer Programme, my Department committed to providing grant funding to support families with the cost of transport arrangements for those children who were eligible for school transport and who were approved to participate in the school based Summer Programme.

Schools were required to identify children who availed of a School Transport service or who were in receipt of a grant. School Transport Section issued correspondence to schools outlining what was required in order to process such payments.

School Transport Section has commenced processing payment of these grants to families who are eligible and payments will continue to be processed in the coming weeks.