AQW 5124/17-22 – Transport arrangements for children with Special Educational Needs

Mr Patsy McGlone (Mid Ulster): To ask the Minister of Education how his Department intends to implement social distancing guidance in relation to Education Authority and private transport arrangements for children with Special Educational Needs who attend specialist units in mainstream schools, including pupils with (i) ASD, MLD, ADHD conditions; (ii) behavioural difficulties; and (iii) a complex range of medical needs who are entitled to transport to and from school.

Minister of Education: The Education Authority is examining these complex issues and will be publishing operational guidance in due course. This guidance will detail its operational plans for how it will provide home to school transport to eligible pupils, including all those with special educational needs.

While social distancing measures are in place on vehicles providing home to school transport, capacity will be significantly reduced. While the EA is trying to maximise the number of pupils who will be able to be safely transported, with any form of social distancing in place, it is unlikely that all eligible pupils will be able to be provided with a seat on a vehicle. My Department is examining a range of options to seek to minimise the disruption that this would cause.