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Principal pleads for bus for his students

August 29th, 2023 5:30 PM

By Jackie Keogh

Principal pleads for bus for his students Image
Billy Dennehy, Naomi Butker and Emily Carroll, all from Ballinhassigh, are among the 30 pupils affected. (Photo: Andy Gibson)

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KINSALE Community School principal Fergal McCarthy has called on Bus Éireann to provide a bus for the 30 students in Ballinhassig who are likely to be left without a seat on the school run.

The students, some of whom are already attending Kinsale Community School and want to return there in September, are all from the one catchment area – but Bus Éireann says the students should consider schools that are geographically closer to them, such as Carrigaline or Rochestown.

Parents and public representatives have already pointed out that there are no school buses going to Carrigaline or Rochestown from Ballinhasssig, and the principal described the suggestion as making ‘zero sense.’

‘If there are 30 children all living within a similar geographical area, like Ballinhassig, all wanting to go to the same school, it would,’ the principal added, ‘be logical to put on another bus to accommodate these students.

‘For the bus authority to say they should migrate to a different school does not take account of the complexities of assessment over a number of years,’ said Mr McCarthy.

‘If a child elects to go to a specific school in first year,’ he said, ‘there is a commitment by the school that they will see out their education to Leaving Certificate level.

‘And for children coming into our school, who have an educational support file, that child will need ongoing classroom support over a number of years. If they elect to come to Kinsale Community School,’ he said, ‘we will have the appropriate support, and resources, in place for that child because what we offer is a continuity of service, awareness and understanding of where the child is at.’

He said Bus Éireann are not demonstrating any understanding of a 21st century schooling experience.

The principal also pointed out that Ballyheada National School, which the 30 students attended, is a recognised feeder primary school for Kinsale Community School.

And he described the issuing of what are called ‘concessionary’ tickets to the 30 students in Ballinhassig as ‘farcical’ because they were issued on the unlikely condition that the students can claim a seat on the bus if there are spaces available – a situation that is highly unlikely given that the service is already overstretched 

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