Minister for Education Norma Foley TD has opened a consultation process with stakeholders, as part of the review of the school transport scheme.
The review currently being conducted by the Department of Education encompasses the school transport scheme for children with special educational needs and the primary and post-primary school transport schemes.
The review will examine the current scheme, its broader effectiveness and sustainability, with a view to ensuring that it serves students and their families appropriately.
Other issues under consideration include the efficiency of the service and to also examine potential scope for a more co-ordinated approach with other Government departments involved in transport services.
Minister Foley said: “As part of the review of school transport, we will be listening to the views of parents and guardians, students, the education partners and other relevant stakeholders. We will use surveys, focus groups and meetings, as well as inviting written submissions.
“We are inviting these stakeholders to share their views and opinions so that we may consider them in our assessment and in informing policy on the future operation of the scheme.”
Granard Municipal District Councillor Garry Murtagh has urged parents, guardians and students to partake in the online survey.
“We as local representatives are inundated with calls every year regarding tickets and concessional tickets for the school transport system which is dated and unfair in terms of its selection process, with queries on these increasing as mid term break, St Patrick’s Day and the Easter break are fast approaching,” said Cllr Murtagh.
“I would like to thank the minister personally for heeding the concerns and issues of councillors up and down the country and in particular to the notice of motion highlighting these concerns, which I submitted to Longford County Council in July 2021 on behalf of the parents and students of Co Longford.”
Parents and guardians are invited to complete a survey, which is accessible via https://bit.ly/3gu0E6D and on gov.ie.
Post-primary students are also invited to complete a survey which is accessible via https://bit.ly/3J7Db7n and on gov.ie.
The closing date for completing these surveys is Thursday, February 10.
The Department is working with the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth in order to listen to the views of children in primary schools and children with special educational needs.
The Department will shortly contact the education partners and other relevant stakeholders to invite written submissions and to make arrangements to meet as appropriate.
It is planned that the Steering Group on School Transport Scheme Review will report to the Minister on an interim basis as the review progresses, with a view to presenting a final report with recommendations on the future operation of the Department’s School Transport Scheme.
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