We should not be in a position where whole classes or year groups are learning from home because of staff shortages, as is the case in some schools. That situation is untenable and urgent intervention is needed so that children receive the education they have the right to.
I welcome some of the suggestions already offered to make sure this does not become the norm, such as calling in retired teachers and redeploying teachers that are not currently working in schools.
Some older children are undertaking both mock and full GCSEs. Many children, of all ages, are only now beginning to settle back into education in the classroom. I know that school staff, Unions, the Education Authority and the Minister all agree that further school closures must be avoided at all costs and I urge them all to make every effort, including exploring the above suggestions, to ensure that this intolerable pressure on some schools is alleviated and our children do not have their education further disrupted.
My ‘New and Better Normal’ Report highlighted the impact of school closures on children and yet again our children and young people are anxious about their education and the services that they receive in school. Closing of schools must be avoided, the impact is much too serious for our children and young people.