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Government Abandons Plan To Re...

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Government Abandons Plan To Reopen Special Schools

Adrian Harmon
Adrian Harmon

10:44 PM - 19 Jan 2021



The government has abandoned plans to resume special education this week.

The Department of Education said the planned return on Thursday will not be possible after teachers and SNA's rejected the move.

It's after the Irish National Teachers Organisation and Forsa said efforts to reassure staff schools are safe had failed.

INTO general secretary John Boyle said the fundamental problem was conflicting health messaging, which had left many school staff totally unconvinced school environments were safe.

He added that yesterday's education department webinar, which attracted over 16,000 participants, clearly demonstrated the level of fear and anxiety among school staff.

Fórsa's head of education, Andy Pike said, "the Government hasn't won the support of special education stakeholders. I'm sure this was not the intention, but we are in a desperately sad situation where rushed efforts to prematurely reopen schools have pitched the special needs community against itself.

"It would be for the best if all parties would focus on a general reopening of schools as soon as possible, once there is an established downward trajectory in the number of Covid-19 cases and fresh public health advice that it is safe to do so," he said.

In a statement, the Department said it was regrettable that "after unprecedented engagement a shared objective to support children with special educational needs return to in-school learning" could not be reached.

Both the Department and unions say they want to continue discussions with the aim of reopening schools.



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