School Transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department of Education. In the current school year over 114,100 children, including over 14,700 children with special educational needs, are transported on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country at a cost of over €224.7m in 2020.
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 October 2019, my predecessor announced a review of the school transport scheme with a view to taking a fresh look at the service and its broader effectiveness and sustainability. The review is being conducted to ensure that the school transport is fit for purpose and that it serves students and their families adequately.
It is planned that the Steering Group will report to me on an interim basis as the review progresses, with a view to presenting a final report later this year with recommendations on the future operation of the Department’s School Transport Scheme.
The Steering Group will report to me initially on preliminary findings regarding eligibility, before moving to consider and report on broader issues such as the objectives of the scheme and the alignment of the scheme with other initiatives and wider Government policy. The Steering Group has recently reported to me with this preliminary interim report which is under consideration.