Just 70% of primary school children attended class today, according to a survey carried out by principals.
Today marked the official return to school after the Christmas holidays – with thousand of children returning despite surging COVID cases.
Preliminary results from a survey of principals carried out by the National Principals’ Forum today show 30% of primary school children were absent.
Meanwhile, 80% of schools did not have a full cohort of teachers available, with half forced to use student teachers to cover classes.
Just 12% of schools were able to source a substitute from the Department of Education substitute panels and one-in-20 had to send at least one class home.
Meanwhile, one quarter of Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) were unable to attend.
It comes after teachers unions have warned that schools would face staffing issues as children return – with the Government accepting that some classes and individual schools may have to temporarily close in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, thousands of people signed a petition urging politicians that are trained as teachers to step up and supports struggling schools by returning to the classroom.
Meanwhile, new Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) figures have shown that there were more COVID outbreaks in Irish schools in the second half of last year than in any other public place.
The National Principals’ Forum (NPF) is grassroots lobby group made up of over 1,200 practicing primary school principals.