In-school teaching and learning for students enrolled in special classes in post-primary school is set to resume on Monday, February 22nd.
The Department of Education has announced that following a period of intensive engagement with the education partners, students attending these classes will return for in-person teaching and learning on the same day on which primary school special classes will return.
Earlier this evening, the Executive Committee of the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) had announced that its members would facilitate the re-opening of special classes in post-primary schools from February 22, and said that a number of concerns that it had expressed have now been addressed.
The Association of Secondary Teachers of Ireland (ASTI) had said they secured a range of additional mitigations and interim measures to support the return of special education classes and would be monitoring them over the coming weeks.
Fórsa which represents clerical, administrative and management education staff, were understood to be on board with the plans.
Speaking tonight, Minister for Education Norma Foley said; "I am pleased that students in special classes at post-primary level will now return to in-person teaching and learning on the same day as primary school students in special classes.
Minister of State for Special Education and Inclusion Josepha Madigan added: "This is another positive step in the right direction that will give certainty and comfort to students with special educational needs at post-primary school and their families. From tomorrow, students in special schools will return to the classroom, and now from 22 February all students in special classes at both primary and post-primary can look forward to a return to school."
In addition, the TUI said this evening that its Executive Committee unanimously decided the union’s willingness to facilitate the return of leaving certificate students from some point in the same week, subject to public health advice.
The ASTI has said they are engaging with the Department of Education on the safe re-opening of schools for other cohorts of students.