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Eligibility for transport to Ennistymon schools needs to be modified to include students in North Clare as some teenagers are being accepted into a school but are refused a seat on the bus.

Correspondence is to be issued to the Department of Education and Skills seeking a modification to the criteria used to determine the eligibility for school transport following a proposal by elected representatives in North and West Clare.

Both the Department and Bus Éireann were urged to “redefine the catchment area for Ennistymon secondary schools allowing pupils from Corofin and environs to become eligible for transport to these secondary schools on a phased basis,” Cllr Joe Killeen (FF) detailed in a proposal to the West Clare Municipal District.

Students living further than 4.7km from their school are eligible for school transport, Cllr Killeen stated. A “huge increase” in numbers attending primary schools in North Clare is creating difficulty on the demand for second level places in Ennis leading to many unsuccessful applications.

Clare Echo Planning

Killeen noted that the reputation of secondary schools in Ennistymon entices the interest of people of Corofin as a viable option for them but cautioned that the buses for Ennistymon are currently full.

Parents are left waiting until August for clarity on their request for school transport having made applications in April, the Corofin man outlined. He highlighted that some parents are dropping their children to school in the morning and travelling to work in places like the Midlands before collecting their child that evening because of ineligibility for buses.

“We need to try work with our secondary schools to introduce different system for enrolment along the line of CAO, give a scale of choice. Some students applied for Ennistymon but can’t get a seat on the bus,” Killeen added.

Widening the remit of choice was required, Cllr Shane Talty (FF) agreed. “In this particular case, it is not that you’re seeing a threat to other schools, you are not undermining the sustainability of the Ennis schools by giving the option to travel to Ennistymon. Most of the schools in Ennis are already operating at capacity”.

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