Northern Ireland

Coronavirus: Seventy schools to run summer classes for some pupils

Stock photo school pupils Image copyright PA Media
Image caption The summer schools are for pupils going into years five, six and seven

About 70 schools in Northern Ireland are to run summer classes for some pupils.

Fifty mainstream and 21 special schools are expected to open for some of the summer break to hold classes.

The Department of Education (DE) announced plans in June for two-week summer schools for pupils going into years five, six and seven.

However it was not compulsory for schools to open for pupils over the summer.

Schools in Northern Ireland closed to the vast majority of pupils on 23 March.

That led to concerns that closures were more likely to harm the education of children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The department is making up to £10,000 available to each school holding summer classes to pay for staff, cleaning and food.

The DE received money to pay for the scheme in the June monitoring round.

However most of the £12m allocated will be used to pay for a project providing support to primary and post-primary schools in disadvantaged areas in the 2021-22 school year.

Education Minister Peter Weir said his department expected to spend about £700,000 funding the summer schools.

Mainstream schools providing summer classes will be expected to admit about 30 pupils.

Schools are being asked to select pupils who would most benefit from attending classes over the summer to help them catch up.

DE has said that a maximum of three teachers should be involved each day to enable one teacher for every 10 pupils.

The schools taking part will identify the pupils and notify the parents.

Image copyright PA/Steve Parsons

Principals, teachers, classroom assistants and cleaners will be paid an additional wage if they work in schools running summer classes.

The DE has said social distancing rules should be observed in schools that are open.

Schemes run by the 21 special schools are likely to be slightly different from those run by mainstream schools.

Pupils who attend special schools over the summer are not likely to attend for the entire school day.

It will be up to individual schools, though, to decide what format their summer provision will take.

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