School Bus Transport Scheme lacks Appeal #dail #backtoschool

Wordle: School Bus Transport Report 2011

Most utilised words in the School Bus Transport Report 2011, for which the new bus transport policy is based.

Government department’s spend loads of time and loads of money developing policies. With all this effort and expense you would hope, in this country, we’d have some of the most well thought out and fit for purpose policies in the world. I’ll let you be the judge.

We live in rural Ireland. Towards the end of the swinging sixties, the government realised that subsidised school transport was the only way to encourage mass second level school attendance. Fast forward over forty years and the transport scheme has become an ingrained part of rural life, as well as a key part of the government’s Smarter Travel Policy (a commitment for less cars on the road by 2020).

We also find ourselves living between more than two second level schools. Although the school bus passes our front door to one particular all-girls school (our school of choice), the Department of Education has deemed a mixed comprehensive in the opposite direction as closer. I have nothing against mixed comprehensives, I went to one my self in Dublin but it is not our choice of school in this particular situation.

Our only option was to appeal the eligibility to the Department of Education, which we did, in writing at the end of July. The appeals board only meet on the third Thursday of each month. In reality that’s two appeals meetings between the time in the summer when parents are told their child is ineligible for school bus transport  travel and the start of the new school term.

On contacting the office in Tullamore this week we were told that our appeal had been received, but, although the appeals board is meeting this Thursday, 21st August, it will not be looking into our case. It will have to wait till the end of next month. Our daughter is supposed to be starting school next Tuesday, 26th August. That’s one full month of waiting to find out if our appeal is or is not successful.

As I stated at the beginning, I’ll let you make up your mind as to whether it’s fair to delay a school bus transport appeal a month into the new school term. We are not alone in this. When I first became aware of this issue I began a petition on change.org for all the families on our road affected by this. We have over 120 signatures. The Minister and Junior Minister for Education are well aware of this, believe me they’ve been telephone called and e-mailed.

If you wish to sign the petition and be kept up to date with developments please click here. If you have been affected by this issue please tell me or the minister, so together we can highlight unfair policies.

Go raibh maith agat

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