Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Ceisteanna (287, 348)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

287. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of a school transport service (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18754/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

348. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of an application for school transport by a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19489/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 287 and 348 together.

School transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department.

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 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 general children are eligible for school transport if they meet the distance criteria and are attending their nearest school.

Bus Éireann has confirmed that the children from the area referred to by the Deputy are not eligible for school transport as they are either not attending their nearest school or do not meet the distance criteria under the school transport scheme.

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.

Children who are not eligible for school transport may apply for transport on a concessionary basis only and will be facilitated where spare seats are available after eligible children have been accommodated.

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.