My Department has provided a suite of guidance materials, agreed with the education partners, to enable schools to facilitate the continuity of learning. My Department has also provided a number of supports and materials to assist parents which are available at www.gov.ie/backtoschool. On 12th January 2021 I wrote to all parents of pupils and students providing details of remote learning, and the supports available.
During the current period of school closure, schools are required to put in place their plan of action to enable continuity of learning for all pupils. This involves all teachers who are medically fit to work, including SETs, providing remote teaching and learning to all pupils in their class or on their caseload.
It is crucially important that the learning of all pupils/students, especially those with special educational needs and those at risk of educational disadvantage and/or early school leaving, are supported at this time. These supports include teachers engaging with their pupils/students on a regular basis, through a blend of guided and independent learnings tasks and experiences. Chosen learning tasks provide an opportunity to demonstrate a student’s learning in a clear and concise way. These learning tasks enable teachers to monitor progress and provide constructive, developmental feedback to support learning.
My Department has agreed a plan with the relevant education stakeholders for the phased return to in-person learning for children in special schools and children in special classes in mainstream schools. This phased reopening will commence this Thursday 11th February with children in special schools returning on a 50 per cent shared basis from that date.
The full re-opening of our schools for all pupils and students remains a top priority for Government and I am committed to working on an ongoing basis with all stakeholders to achieve this outcome at the earliest opportunity.