I propose to take Questions Nos. 502 and 503 together.
I wish to advise the Deputy that draft guidelines have been developed to provide clarity to schools around reduced timetables and to set out the procedures to be followed by schools where such an option is being considered and used. The guidelines provide for TUSLA Education Support Service to be notified if a reduced timetable is implemented.
The aim is to ensure that the use of reduced timetables is limited solely to those circumstances where it is absolutely necessary. The draft guidelines are underpinned by the principles that a reduced timetable should not be used as a sanction; that it should be applied proportionately and should last only as long as is necessary to facilitate a return to school on a full-time basis.
The guidelines have been subject to consultation with education stakeholders and are being finalised with a view to issuing them to schools; the priority focus in recent months has been on schools reopening and providing supports for children within schools.
Once the guidelines have issued, it is intended that data gathered will inform future policy and that the situation will be kept under review. The guidelines include provision for the use of ethnic identifier, subject to consent.