Thursday 15 November 2018

'Very unfair' to shorten Easter holidays to make up for days lost - teachers' union

Nigel Staveley, Stephen Corcoran, and Darren Devereux, clear snow from outside the Holy Family National School in Rathccole, Co. Dublin. Picture credit; Damien Eagers
Nigel Staveley, Stephen Corcoran, and Darren Devereux, clear snow from outside the Holy Family National School in Rathccole, Co. Dublin. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

Sean Nolan

It would be "very unfair" to shorten Easter holidays to make up for days lost due to bad weather, according to the Irish National Teachers' Organisation (INTO).

Speaking to Independent.ie, the INTO's Assistant General Secretary Peter Mullan said that at such a short proximity it would be "very unfair to make sudden changes".

With many schools missing two days due to Storm Ophelia in October and a further three in some cases due to Storm Emma last week there had been concerns about the number of school days missed.

However Mr Mullen said that there were "a number of levers" that could be pressed by schools and teachers to recover the time lost.

Mr Mullen said schools could "prioritise tuition over non-tuition activities" or work out arrangements at local level with parents.

The Department of Education advice in relation to days lost in the school year are contained in a circular released in September 2017.

In it the Department say that there are a number of options available to schools to make up for time lost due to unforeseen circumstances.

They include prioritising tuition over other activities such as school tours or, for post-primary schools, reducing the length of mock exams.

Other options mentioned in the circular include taking three days from the February mid-term break or three days from the Easter break.

However Mr Mullen said that due to the way incidents happened this year he didn't feel schools should have to make up the time.

He said: "If we had a December snow of that level, and a later Easter, you would have months to plan this but with two-and-a-half or three weeks now to Easter it would be very unfair to make sudden changes."

In a response to Independent.ie the Association of Secondary Teachers of Ireland (ASTI) said they were referring their members to the Department's circular.

The Catholic Primary Schools Management Association, the Association of Community and Comprehensive Schools and Educate Together have all been contacted for comment.

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