School transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department.
In the 2017/18 school year over 117,000 children, including over 12,000 children with special educational needs, were transported in over 4,500 vehicles on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country covering over 100 million kilometres annually at a total cost of almost €190 million in 2017.
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.
In general, children are eligible for school transport if they meet the distance criteria and are attending their nearest school.
Children who are eligible for school transport but for whom no transport service is available may, following an application for transport within the prescribed time limits, receive a Remote Area Grant towards the cost of private transport arrangements.
This grant is also payable for eligible children who may have to travel 3.2 kilometres or more to or from a designated pick up/set down point.
In cases where the Department is satisfied that the nearest school is full, eligibility for school transport will be determined based on the distance that children reside from their next nearest school having regard to ethos and language. Further information in this regard is available on my Department's website www.education.ie.
The terms of the School Transport Schemes are applied equitably on a national basis.