Written answers

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Department of Education and Skills

School Transport

Photo of Fergus O'DowdFergus O'Dowd (Louth, Fine Gael)
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261. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if queries raised by a person (details supplied) in respect of a bus escort query will receive a response; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [49239/21]

Photo of Norma FoleyNorma Foley (Kerry, Fianna Fail)
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The School Transport Scheme is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department. In the 2020/2021 school year over 114,100 children, including over 14,700 children with special educational needs, were transported on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country at a cost of over €224.7m in 2020.

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.

School Transport Section funds schools for the employment of Bus Escorts at the end of each school year by way of advance grant payment for the next school year. The Board of Management of the school to which the escort grant has been allocated has responsibility for employing the escort.

As most transport services (routes) serve more than one school, it was decided by the Department to allocate escorts on transport to the schools with the largest number of pupils travelling on a particular route. Thus the escort is responsible for the supervision of all pupils travelling on transport to special schools and classes, not just the school of which the escort is an employee.

School Transport Section has been provided with the Escort's timetable and has reviewed the funding provided to the school for the escort and based on this information, the Department is satisfied that sufficient funding is provided to the school for funding the escort for the hours of duty on board the school transport service .

Any further queries the school or escort in question may have can be directed to School Transport Section.

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