Thursday, 24 September 2020

Questions (135)

Michael McNamara

Question:

135. Deputy Michael McNamara asked the Minister for Education when after-school facilities such as homework clubs may open in schools; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26033/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The position is that decisions on the use of school facilities lies with the relevant school authority in consultation with the property owner and priority has to be given to the interests of the school, teachers and pupils.

My Department's policy is to encourage the use of school facilities, where possible, for community, training and education related activities such as homework clubs. My Department would encourage schools to facilitate the opening of after-school facilities wherever possible but on the basis that it would not impede the school's capacity to provide for education during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To assist schools in considering applications for use of their facilities my Department, in consultation with representatives of schools, has drafted general guidelines on the use of school property outside of school hours which is available on my Department's website at

https://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Policy-Reports/guidelines-on-the-use-of-school-buildings-outside-of-school-hours.pdf

In addition to the general guidelines above, during the period of the COVID-19 pandemic, the school in considering applications should carry out a risk assessment to ensure that any organisation using the school’s facilities can guarantee the school that all public health requirements will be adhered to.