Thursday 21 June 2018

All schools closed Tuesday - but decision on creches and third-level institutions not so clear-cut

  • All schools to remain closed on Tuesday due to Storm Ophelia - Department of Education
Education Minister Richard Bruton. Photo: Tom Burke
Education Minister Richard Bruton. Photo: Tom Burke

Kevin Doyle and Katherine Donnelly

ALL schools in the country are to remain closed today.

As Storm Ophelia continues to rages officials have decided that for safety reasons all schools should remain closed for another day.

Schools in Northern Ireland will also remain closed.

However, the situation for creches and third level institutions is not so clear - with the final decision being left to the individual faciility.

Education Minister Richard Bruton said the decision on schools was made in the "interests of safety".

"Following careful consideration by the National Emergency Coordination Group, the Department of Education and Skills, has decided that all schools will remain closed [on Tuesday]," Minister Bruton said.

"It is recognised that the decision to close schools will have a major impact on families and on the workforce. However, this decision has been taken in the interests of safety for children and to provide clarity for everyone concerned."

"Re making up school days, my department will take stock and issue guidance as they have done in the past having consulted with school management," he added.

A Department of  Education spokesperson said that while it was recognised that some schools may not be as badly impacted as others, severe winds are continuing to cause damage.

The spokesperson added that many school authorities had not had an opportunity to check buildings and confirm that they were safe, had power and water and that routes to the school would be safely open.

Meanwhile, decisions on whether third-level colleges, creches and montessori schools will open tomorrow will be left to the institutions and facilities themselves

All third-level institutions were covered by a blanket instruction by the Department of Education to close on Monday.

However, sources indicated that it seemed likely that it would be left to individual colleges to make up their own minds. It is expected that many will open today.

The creches and montessori schools will also make their own decision on whether to reopen.

But childcare facilities that decide to remain closed on Tuesday as a result of the storm will still be entitled to claim State funding for the day.

Crèche owners have been urged to take no chances as "safety must be the top consideration".

Most crèches are privately owned but receive State funding for their services through a variety of schemes. 

The Department of Children said: "The safety and welfare of children, staff and parents should be carefully considered by each service before they decide on service resumption.

"Assessments of buildings and other infrastructure should only be carried out when safe to do so."

The Department is advising that funding for those services offering state schemes will continue to be provided irrespective of whether they are in a position to re-open

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