Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Ceisteanna (228)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

228. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of the provision of school transport to pupils living in the Ballyboughal, County Dublin, area who will be attending a school (details supplied) which will open on the Rathbeale Road in September 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50120/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

School Transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department. In the 2018/2019 school year over 117,500 children, including over 13,000 children with special educational needs, were transported in over 5,000 vehicles on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country covering over 100 million kilometres at a cost of over €200m in 2018.

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. Children are generally eligible for school transport if they satisfy the distance criteria and are attending their nearest school having regard to language and ethos.

Parents/guardians of a child (children) wishing to avail of school transport services, for the first time, are required to apply on-line on Bus Eireann’s website at www.buseireann.ie.

Bus Éireann, which operates the school transport scheme on behalf of the Department, will contact all applicants regarding their eligibility for school transport:

- where there is a transport service available for eligible children, Bus Éireann will continue to liaise with eligible families regarding invoicing, payments, ticketing etc.

- where there is no transport service available for eligible children, Bus Éireann will forward the applicants’ details to the Department, which will then contact families directly regarding the Remote Area Grant.

The closing date for school transport applications for 2020/21 school year is the 24th April 2020.

It is important to note that an application for school transport must be made before a Remote Area Grant may be considered. Please apply on-line at www.buseireann.ie.

Bus Éireann have advised that they met with a number of families in the Ballyboughal area recently to outline the school transport scheme requirements.