‘Education Minister must provide guidance for special schools’ – Newry MLA Liz Kimmins

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Wednesday, January 27th, 2021

Sinn Féin MLA Liz Kimmins has said the Education Minister must provide guidance on the current COVID restrictions for special schools and childcare settings.


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The Newry/Armagh MLA said, “It is unacceptable that special schools and other childcare settings who have been asked to open have not been provided with up-to-date guidance on the current COVID restrictions.



“Last minute decisions, out of date guidance and a failure to communicate with school staff and their representatives, together with concerns over PPE, are driving a crisis of confidence within the staff and amongst parents.

“The Minister must urgently address safety concerns in special schools and other settings where staff provide close personal care and education.”


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The Newry MLA continued, “Following the serious concerns raised with me by school leaders, staff and parents, I have written to Minister Weir highlighting these serious issues and the need for him to step up to the plate and put forward solutions immediately.

”Our special school staff, in particular, have been let down because of a lack of appropriate guidance from the Minister as well as a lack of additional support and mitigations which are required to make our special schools safe.



”The Minister must urgently engage with representatives of the special school sector, listen to their concerns and afford them the flexibility they need to put in place arrangements which are safe and which work for their students and their staff during these difficult times.

”We also need to see progress on the issue of prioritising education staff for vaccinations and in particular our special school staff, these people are frontline workers and must be afforded every level of protection as they carry out their important work,” she added.




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