Coronavirus: Two-week school term being considered for July

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The Department of Education (DE) is considering two-week summer schools for pupils going into Years 5 ,6 and 7.

The department wants to measure interest from primaries and community organisations about whether or not they can hold the faculties in late July.

However, no school or organisation are going to be required to try to to so. “This is subject to funding being available and with the agreement of the chief , teaching unions and schools,” a DE spokesperson said.

More details are contained in an email from departmental officials seen by BBC News NI.

It suggests asking primaries if some teachers would be willing to run a school term for 2 weeks from 20 July to 31 July.

Schools would be asked what percentage pupils they might combat an estimated ratio of 1 teacher for each seven pupils, in order that Covid-19 safety precautions would be followed.

The department email said that food and cleaning costs would be covered, also as other support – if funding was available.

“The department may provide support to any schools who wish to run their own summer schools this year for current Year 4, Year 5 and Year 6 pupils,” the e-mail continued.

“We want to form clear this is often a voluntary offering for those that wish to avail of it and there’s absolutely no requirement to run a school term .”

The department is getting to ask primaries if they might have an interest in running such a school term , as a part of their existing survey of what percentage schools are open and the way many pupils are attending them.

Among the opposite proposals the department is considering is extra online lessons in literacy and numeracy for a few pupils going into year 7.

Children taking the additional lessons would also get online support from a substitute teacher.

Schools would be asked to spot pupils going into year 7 who may have extra support and have “appropriate” IT access, within the first instance.

However, neither scheme is yet finalised.

Virtual learning
A Department of Education spokesperson said Education Minister Peter Weir had asked departmental officials to develop proposals for summer schemes.

“A limited number of faculties and community organisations could also be seeking to support children for brief periods over the summer, and any practical support are going to be considered,” they said.

“The schemes are going to be managed by participating schools and community organisations and can get on a voluntary basis.

“There can also be scope for virtual learning support for a few pupils.

“This is subject to funding being available and with the agreement of the chief , teaching unions and schools.”

Source: bbc news

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