COVID -19 advice and guidance from the Department of Education and other bodies.
***Update from 6th August 2020***
Education Minister Peter Weir said he wants all schools to return to more normal patterns of operation and attendance from the week beginning 31 August. Revised New School Day guidance will be published next week setting out an updated approach to the full reopening of schools rather than a phased approach. You can read his full letter at this link.
We will update this page as and when we receive information from the Department of Education, but please note the “updated” date at the top of the page. Any communication from the Department of Education on the ongoing situation should be consulted in the first instance.
In regards to training events through NICIE, conferences etc, we will update the relevant pages on our website and post notification via social media as well as notify attendees via email and/or phone where possible. If you are unsure about a course or meeting please contact us.
Update from 23rd July 2020
The Executive Office agreed further relaxations of restriction on the Coronavirus recovery pathway. Full details can be found on the Executive Office website here: https://www.executiveoffice-ni.gov.uk/news/statement-executive-decisions-23-july-2020
Update from 17th July 2020
The Permanent Secretary, Derek Baker, has sent a letter to all principals regarding preparing for the 2020 influenza season along with a letter from the Chief Medical Examiner, Dr Michael McBride. Both highlight the importance of ensuring a high uptake of the flu vaccine, with the intention of extending the vaccine programme into year 8.
Update from 10th July 2020
The Department of Education have released two sets of guidance. One, an FAQ on supporting staff returning to the workplace, can be read at this link: https://www.nicie.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Frequently-Asked-Questions-Guidance-on-Supporting-Staff-to-Return-to-Sch.._.pdf
The second, specific to support staff, can be read at this link: https://www.nicie.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Preparation-for-Schools-Reopening-Return-of-Support-Staff.pdf
You can find further information in support of these documents at the Department of Education website here https://www.education-ni.gov.uk/news/latest-department-education-updates-relation-covid-19-coronavirus as well as further down this page.
Update from 8th July 2020
Education Minister Peter Weir has announced that free wi-fi and mobile connectivity will be provided to children and young people who may not have had access to digital technology during lockdown. More information can be found at this link: https://www.education-ni.gov.uk/news/weir-announces-free-wi-fi-scheme-disadvantaged-pupils
Update from 3rd July 2020
The Department of Education has released additional guidance for the Foundation Stage within Primary Schools, which can be viewed on the department website here: https://www.education-ni.gov.uk/publications/northern-ireland-re-opening-school-guidance-additional-guidance-planning-foundation-stage-within
Update from 30 June 2020
Ministers announce that childcare is available to all parents. Ministers Robin Swann and Peter Weir have confirmed that the definition of key worker will no longer apply for access to childcare.
The announcement follows the recent publication of the Childcare Sector Recovery Plan.
Education Minister Peter Weir said “This announcement will support more parents to access childcare.As schools begin to reopen it will be important to ensure that there is alignment between school restart plans and childcare provision so that the impact on working parents is kept to a minimum.”
More information can be found at the Department of Health website here: https://www.health-ni.gov.uk/publications/covid-19-childcare-guidance
In addition, a summer food scheme proposed by the Minister for Education, Peter Weir has been allocated £12 million in the June monitoring round process. The summer food scheme will provide help during July and August to families who were eligible for free school meals’ direct payments up to the end of June. Almost 57,000 families representing over 102,000 children will receive payments of £13.50 per child per week.
You can read full details on the Department of Education website here: https://www.education-ni.gov.uk/news/weir-welcomes-monitoring-round-allocations
Updates from the 23rd to the 26th June 2020
The Department of Education has released an important circular that has been sent to all principals and education bodies on the 24th June, which aims to provide guidance and support for schools as they design their curriculum for 2020/21. It is available on the Department of Education website at https://www.education-ni.gov.uk/publications as well as here.
Education Minister Peter Weir also published guidance on the 19th June setting out how schools should plan for the new school day. You can read his full statement at this link: https://www.education-ni.gov.uk/news/weir-publishes-guidance-new-school-day
Please see this link for full details: https://www.education-ni.gov.uk/publications/northern-ireland-re-opening-school-guidance-new-school-day
On the 23rd June a pre-school supplementary was also published as part of the overall guidance, which can be viewed via this link: https://www.education-ni.gov.uk/publications/northern-ireland-re-opening-school-guidance-new-school-day-pre-school-education-supplementary
You can also find FAQs on the Education Restart Programme at this link https://www.education-ni.gov.uk/faqs-education-restart-programme-24-june-2020 and FAQs on the childcare discovery plan at this link https://www.education-ni.gov.uk/faqs-childcare-recovery-plans-24-june-2020 both of which were published on the 24th June.
Further guidance was released on the 26th June for the re-opening of Special Schools, which can be viewed ta this link: https://www.education-ni.gov.uk/publications/northern-ireland-re-opening-school-guidance-special-schools
Finally, guidance on supporting staff to return to school was also published on the 26th June. You can read this in full at this link: https://www.education-ni.gov.uk/publications/guidance-supporting-staff-return-schools
***Please also note that previous updates, including links to letters from the Minister for Education, information on from the Department of Education and information from the Education Authority can be found at this page***