Kildare South Fine Gael TD and Minister Martin Heydon has welcomed decisions on school transport  and the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance announced by Government yesterday which will help to ease the burden of back to school costs for Kildare families.

“In a positive move for many Kildare families, it has been confirmed that students availing of the school transport scheme will not be charged fees for the academic year 2022/23. This is a temporary measure for the current year only which will mean that anyone who has applied for and receives a school bus ticket for the academic year 2022/23 will not be charged a fee for their school bus ticket this year.

“This will provide families with savings of up to €500 on the cost of tickets. I am very pleased that we can now make this significant difference to families and can provide this information at this stage when payment would be due, to help them with planning for back to school.”

“Further details on how the scheme will operate will be announced shortly and communicated directly to families. Families have already applied for their tickets for the school year and these will be processed in the usual way, but without a fee being charged. Families will need to go onto the payment portal to verify they still wish to be considered for a ticket and further information will issue on this process in the coming days. Where fees have already been paid, these will be refunded in the coming period.

“In addition to this change to make school transport free, the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance, administered by the Department of Social Protection is being increased by €100 for each eligible child under the scheme. The amount being paid for each qualified child aged 4–11 years will be €260 and the rate payable for each eligible child aged 12 and over will be €385. It is estimated that some 151,000 families will benefit from this measure in respect of over 262,000 children. This is a one off measure for 2022 to assist families with back to school costs in the current year.

“A further measure relates to the Department of Social Protection’s School Meals Programme. Currently, some 230,000 school-going children benefit from this programme. From today, an additional 310 schools, recently designated as DEIS schools in March are being invited to participate in this programme. An additional €50 million in total will be made available to provide for these measures.

“While many Kildare children are enjoying the first few weeks of their summer holidays, I am very aware that parents’ thoughts are already turning to the costs associated with their return to school in September.

“While additional Cost of living measures will be confirmed on Budget day of 27th September, it is positive that these specific back to school measures can be confirmed now to enable parents and families to plan and manage their back to school expenses”, concluded Minister Heydon.