Tuesday, 8 December 2020

Questions (355)

Emer Higgins


355. Deputy Emer Higgins asked the Minister for Education the number of extra personal vacation days which are allowed for a teacher to take at the present time with the provision of a substitute teacher to cover the leave if the five days normally allowed have been reduced; and if there are plans to restore this number of days. [41869/20]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

A Primary teacher who attends and completes a Summer Course approved by my Department is entitled to Extra Personal Vacation (EPV) Leave.  My Department’s Circular Letter 37/97 details the EPV Leave entitlement and Circular Letter 35/2009 details the employee’s requirement to provide a certificate of completion to the employer as evidence of EPV Leave entitlement.

The Summer Course programme forms part of the overall Continuous Professional Development (CPD) provision for Primary teachers who, upon undertaking up to three approved summer courses, are awarded a maximum of five EPV days, to be taken during the school year, ‘subject to the prior approval of the manager’ and a number of conditions. In considering an application for non-statutory leave (including EPV Leave), the welfare and educational needs of the pupils must take precedence over all other considerations.

 My Department’s Information-Note-0008-2020  titled ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19): Revised arrangements for Primary Schools in respect of Substitution and Extra Personal Vacation (EPV) Leave for the 2020/21 School Year’ published on 12th August, 2020 caters for amendments to the Supervision Scheme and the provision of substitute cover for certain leave types for the 2020/21 school year, to deal with the Covid-19 emergency situation.

In relation to substitute cover for EPV Leave, the Information Note states the following at paragraph 4.1:-

'i. Currently, substitute cover is not paid by the Department for EPV Leave.

ii. For the 2020/21 school year, the Department/ETB will provide substitute cover for the first day of EPV Leave taken by a teacher in the school year.

iii. Subsequent EPV Leave may be taken only where the effect on the school’s operation, including its COVID-19 Response Plan, is minimal and where this can be enabled without disruption to the teaching of the class and without the division of the class group between other classes.

iv. For the avoidance of doubt, substitute cover will not be provided by the Department/ETB beyond the first day of EPV Leave taken by the teacher in the 2020/21 school year.’

In relation to carryover of EPV Leave, the Information Note states the following at paragraph 4.2:-

'i. Where, due to the provisions above, it is not possible for a teacher to take their total EPV Leave during the 2020/21 school year, accumulated untaken EPV Leave will be carried over to be taken in the 2021/22 school year.

ii. This carryover will be subject to an individual teacher having a maximum EPV Leave entitlement in the 2021/22 school year of 5 days.

iii. The requirements for the approval of EPV days by the managerial authority does not change under this circular.’