By Richard Fraser, Editor
11 March 2021
Voice Community welcomed the cautious and measured approach of the Northern Ireland Executive to reopen schools in a phased manner and is pleased that this has been adhered to despite talk to the contrary. So, understandably, we are uneasy about the announcement from Education Minister Peter Weir about wanting P1-P3 children to stay in class when schools welcome back GCSE and post-16 students later this month.
We understand the educational logic and agree that this would potentially be less disruptive, but we would also hope that any decision will be based on sound data, including assessment of this week’s wider reopening. The Northern Ireland Executive met today (Thursday 11 March) to discuss when all children should return to school.
Update, 18 March 2021:
Following a plan approved by ministers of the Northern Ireland Executive, it has been confirmed that all primary school pupils will return on Monday 22 March. Students in Years 12-14 will also return on 22 March, with all other post-primary students set to return on 12 April, after the Easter holidays.
We know that members are relieved that they will not be returning to remote teaching for pre-school/nursery children and pupils in P1 to 3 for the week beginning 22 March until the start of the Easter holidays, because of the disruption this would cause.
Voice Community is cautiously supportive of the measured approach of the Northern Ireland Executive’s plans to reopen schools in a phased manner and hopes that all future decisions will continue to be based on sound data.
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