Schools NOT required to open extra days to make up for lost time during Storm Ophelia closures
Schools will not be required to open extra days to make up for lost time during closures for Storm Ophelia.
A rumour is swirling that schools have been directed to open this weekend to make up for time lost after enforced nationwide closures on Monday and Tuesday.
A Deparment of Education spokesperson has confirmed that the rumour is false and advised that schools will not be open this weekend. The spokesperson also confirmed that schools are not required to reopen at any stage during the school year to make up for the two days that were lost at the start of the week.
Primary schools are required to be open for a minimum of 183 days and for secondary schools the requirement is set at 167 days.
However, "significant flexibility is given to schools to make up tuition hours lost due to unforeseen circumstances", the spokesperson said.
In cases where the school has been affected by extensive or prolonged closures due to weather events such as Storm Ophelia, the school authority may decide to reduce mid-term breaks or holidays to make up for time lost.
The Department of Education spokesperson said: "The February mid-term break may be reduced by up to three days subject to the requirement that all schools must be closed on the Thursday and Friday of the week in which this break falls.
"The Easter break may be reduced by up to three days by the school remaining open up to and including the Wednesday immediately preceding the Easter weekend.
"All schools must be closed on the Thursday and Friday immediately preceding the Easter weekend and remain closed for the remainder of the Easter break."
In such cases, adequate notice is required for parents, pupils and staff, and the school authority must provide feasible measures for school transport.
However, before taking such measures, schools can make up for lost academic time by reducing non-tuition activities in favour of prioritising teaching, cancelling school tours in favour of classroom learning or reducing the school exam timetable.