Monday 29 May 2017

Schools make own decision on closing as icy spell grips

Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

IT will be up to individual schools to decide whether or not to close as freezing weather continues its grip on many areas.

In some cases, pupils will have difficulty getting to school because of the snow and ice.

Bus Eireann advised last night that there may be disruption to school buses in certain parts of the country.

Individual school boards of management have the discretion to decide whether they should close, and for how long, when hit by extreme weather conditions.

A spokesperson for the Department of Education said last night that it was not issuing any instructions and confirmed it was a matter for individual schools.

In general, if a school is closed due to bad weather, it is expected to compensate for the lost time later in the school year.

Exceptional

However, in exceptional circumstances, the department may exempt a school from this requirement.

After last winter's big freeze, which led to widespread closure of schools, some made up the lost time but in other cases -- where the shutdown was extended -- it proved more difficult to replace all the lost days.

The school transport scheme, which is administered by Bus Eireann, carries 135,000 pupils to and from school every day, mainly in rural areas.

A Bus Eireann spokesperson said parents should contact their local school transport office to check on the status of the relevant service.

After January's freeze, the Catholic Primary School Management Association (CPSMA) the body representing managers in more than 90pc of primary schools, recommended that schools should make allowances for unforeseen circumstances, such as weather, when planning the school calendar.

In the interest of ensuring that schools meet their requirement to open for 183 days, the CPSMA recommended that boards of management reserve a number of days which could be used for such events.

Irish Independent

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