Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Ceisteanna (240)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

240. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a student (details supplied) in County Kerry who cannot get a place in their nearest post-primary school will be made fully eligible for school transport to the next nearest post-primary school; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29621/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

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 the 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.

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.  If the family has further information in regard to the closest school being full they should contact School Transport Section of my Department. Further information in this regard is available on my Department's website www.education.ie.

Children who are eligible for school transport and who complete the application process on time are accommodated on school transport services where such services are in operation. Children who are eligible for school transport but for whom no service is available may be offered the Remote Area Grant towards the cost of making private transport arrangements.

Children who are not eligible for school transport, but who complete the application process on time, are considered for spare seats that may exist after eligible children have been facilitated; such seats are referred to as concessionary seats. Where the number of applications from ineligible children exceeds the number of spare seats available, tickets are allocated using an agreed selection process. Only children who are eligible for school transport and who hold valid Medical Cards are exempt from paying the annual charge.

Bus Éireann has advised that the child in question is not eligible for school transport as he is not attending his nearest school and the family should liaise with their local Bus Éireann office if they wish to enquire about the availability of school transport on a concessionary basis for the 2019/20 school year.

The terms of the School Transport Schemes are applied equitably.