School Transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department.
In the 2019/2020 school year over 120,000 children, including over 14,200 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 €219m in 2019.
The purpose of the Department's School Transport Scheme for Children with Special Educational Needs is, having regard to available resources, to support the transport to and from school of children with special educational needs arising from a diagnosed disability.
In general, children with special educational needs are eligible for school transport if they are attending the nearest school that is resourced to meet their special educational needs. Eligibility is determined following consultation with the National Council for Special Education through its network of Special Education Needs Organisers (SENO).
The child referred to by the Deputy is eligible for school transport under the terms of the above scheme and I am pleased to advise that following the offer of the Special Transport Grant to the pupil's parent, School Transport have sanctioned a new wheelchair accessible service to cater for this pupil's transport to school on 28th September 2020. A bus escort for this service has also been sanctioned with the Principal of the school on 28th September 2020.
The pupil's parent has been notified on these sanctions and will be contacted by the local Bus Éireann office with details of the service in due course.