Friday 19 January 2018

Schools to be allowed flexibility in making up lost days

Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

SCHOOLS will be allowed flexibility in making up time lost due to the severe weather -- and the mid-term break and Easter holidays are safe.

Education Minister Batt O'Keeffe said yesterday that he did not want to be "dogmatic" on the issue of replacing lost days.

All 4,000 schools throughout the country were closed last Monday, most have lost at least three days and many had to shut for even longer as thawing snow and ice gave way to other problems.

Meanwhile, schools in Dublin forced to close this week because of water problems were able to open again today.

Dublin Fire Brigade filled tanks in about 20 schools yesterday, while an improvement in pressure also brought relief.

Department of Education officials and representatives of school managers and teacher unions held informal discussions on Wednesday about making up the lost time.

Primary schools are required to work 183 days , while at second-level the threshold is 167, and are obliged to make reasonable efforts to replace lost days.


The rules allow schools to make their own arrangements.

Many schools say it would be impossible to replace all the days lost, while there was fury in some areas about the blanket closure imposed by the minister last Monday..

Mr O'Keeffe suggested there would be scope to make up lost time in the weeks before the June exams, when students get study leave.

While the Standardised School Year has agreed dates for the February mid-term break and the Easter holidays for all schools, some primary schools may have up to three discretionary days yet to take and some may use these to extend the mid-term break.

Eileen Flynn, general secretary of the Catholic Primary School Management Association (CPSMA), representing 92pc of all primary schools, said schools would be operating the normal rules about unexpected closures.

The rules state that in exceptional circumstances, the department may, on application by the school, exempt or partially exempt it from the requirement to work 183 days.

Irish Independent

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