Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

14.35 7 Jan 2021


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A teacher has called on Education Minister Norma Foley to 'sit in a classroom and lead by example' next week when Leaving Cert students return to school.

There has been a large backlash from teachers, students and parents to the Government's decision to allow some students back for three days a week, despite schools otherwise being closed for the month.

Some schools in Dublin are to hold meetings to decide if they will reopen next week for Leaving Cert students.

Minister Foley - who is herself a former teacher - yesterday insisted Government followed public health advice in its decision to keep Leaving Cert students in school.

However, she and other ministers have declined to say whether NPHET had provided their opinion on the specifics of the Government's plans.

Maeve, a secondary school teacher, told Lunchtime Live there’s been “no leadership” from Government and that teachers feel let down.

Teacher calls on Norma Foley to 'sit in a classroom and lead by example' next week

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She said: “I think it’s been rushed.

“We all want to go back - none of us want to be online. But I think for the sake of two weeks, we can get it more organised.

“I think our Minister for Education has let us down badly.

“If Norma Foley is so sure schools are safe, I think [she should] enter a school and lead by example - show that by her entering into classrooms and sitting in classrooms, that they are safe."

She added that teachers feel like they haven't received the proper support with for 'blended learning' from the State, and have had to do everything themselves.

Special needs teaching

Classes for children with special needs with also be able to continue during the lockdown, the Government confirmed yesterday.

Narita, a special needs assistant in Cork, spoke to Lunchtime - and said the other SNAs she has spoken to are 'absolutely terrified'.

She said: "Nobody feels safe going back into work on Monday.

"They do not feel we can provide a safe workplace for either the pupils coming in to us - some of whom are very vulnerable - and the staff."

She said the nature of the job is that social distancing is 'impossible', while many of the children do not understand the likes of cough etiquette.

She observed: "I do feel for their parents - I understand that it's a vital service for parents.

"But right now, with COVID so high in the community, I don't think it's fair to ask us to go back in there and place our families' lives at risk, our lives at risk, and indeed our pupils' lives at risk."

She said there's 'no doubt' SNAs' job is closer to healthcare than education at the moment.

Main image: File photo of Education Minister Norma Foley. Picture by: Leah Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

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