Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Questions (467)

Jennifer Carroll MacNeill

Question:

467. Deputy Jennifer Carroll MacNeill asked the Minister for Education if she has considered a restructuring of school holidays to ensure that children receive more in-person learning; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10145/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The scheduling of the school holiday periods during the academic years is agreed between the managerial authorities of schools, the teacher unions and my Department for the purposes of standardising breaks at Christmas, Easter and mid-term. This is important to ensure certainty for the school community about the dates of school holidays.

My Department has provided a suite of guidance materials, agreed with the education partners, to enable schools to facilitate the remote continuity of learning for all pupils/students in a Covid-19 context during this period of school closure. These are available at www.gov.ie/backtoschool.

My Department has developed a plan with the relevant education stakeholders for the phased return to in-school learning for children in primary, post-primary and special schools. From the 1 March the first four classes at primary level – junior and senior infants, first and second class – and final year Leaving Certificate students will return to school. This phase will also see a return to full attendance for children in special schools. This is in addition to the reopening of special schools on 11 February on a 50% attendance basis and all special classes reopened fully from 22 February.

The full re-opening of our schools for all students in line with public health advice remains a top priority for Government. My Department is focussing on the safe return of all remaining cohorts of pupils and students to school at the earliest opportunity in March, with the last group of post primary students set to return to school after the Easter Break.

Question No. 468 answered with Question No. 413.