Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Thursday, 23 May 1996

Vol. 465 No. 8

Written Answers. - School Transport Escort Service.

Mary Wallace


76 Miss M. Wallace asked the Minister for Education the concerns, if any, she has regarding the lack of a permanent escort service on school buses used by children attending the Holy Family School, Charleville, County Cork; the further concerns, if any, she has that some children spend up to 4.5 hours each day on these buses without an escort; the action, if any, she has taken on foot of a representation made to her in respect of this issue in February 1996; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10663/96]

I am aware of the particular case referred to by the Deputy. In 1995 I allocated a sum of £150,000 for a pilot scheme of grant-aid towards the provision of escorts on certain school transport services. All applications for support under this scheme, including the application from the school referred to by the Deputy, were carefully considered by my Department.

Funding under the pilot scheme was allocated as follows: to special schools for physically handicapped children in respect of their daily transport routes; and to provide assistance towards the cost of escorts for pupils attending the special schools for the hearing-impaired and visually-impaired who travel long distances by bus and train at weekends.

It will be necessary to fully evaluate the operation of the pilot phase before considering any modification or expansion of the scheme. The needs of the children attending the school in question will be given every consideration in the event of any further expansion of the scheme being undertaken.
The school transport review committee, established earlier this year, has been asked to review the arrangements for pupils in special schools. The provision of escorts services and journey times will form part of this review.