Wednesday, 18 November 2020
Department of Education and Skills
96. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if flexibility can be shown in the case of a family (details provided) that missed the deadline for the application for the remote area transport grant; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37151/20]
School Transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department of Education. In the 2019/20 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 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.
The closing date for applying for school transport is any given year is the last Friday in April for the new school year. Therefore the closing date for applications for the 2020/2021 was Friday 24 April 2020.
A child who is 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.
Bus Éireann has advised that an application for school transport for the family referred to by the Deputy was received on the 1st May 2020 and therefore payment of a Remote Area Grant cannot be considered for the current school year.