Returning to School - Department Communications

The Department of Education has recently provided the following advice to schools.

As part of the Roadmap for Re-opening Schools, the Department of Education published a number of guidance documents for schools in relation to the 2020/21 school year.
These included:

In addition to providing guidance to schools on curriculum issues, these guidance notes also set out for schools a number of broad principles underpinning how the various support services funded by the Department will support schools in the 2020/21 school year. These principles included:

  • The need to protect pupil teacher contact time and to minimise disruption to school time and
  • The need to reflect public health guidelines and advice in any consideration of face-to-face CPD.

For Term 1 of the 2020/2021 school year, the Department of Education is advising the various support services (including the Teacher Education Support Services) to focus on supporting schools online and to the greatest extent possible outside of class contact time. Where there is no alternative available and face-to-face support is required in relation to particular curriculum reforms or other reforms, this support will be arranged for Terms 2 and 3 to be delivered in accordance with the public health guidelines pertaining at that time.

These arrangements also recognise the importance of allowing schools the time and space to re-engage with students in the early part of the new school year.
These arrangements will be kept under review during the school year.

Of particular note to Guidance Counsellors

The Dept of Education has clarified that Guidance Counsellors are permitted to attend Guidance Counselling supervision sessions. 
In addition, School Management can facilitate Guidance Counsellors to attend remote CPD outside of class contact time