January 7, 2021
ASTI decision shows mess government has made of Leaving Cert return proposal – Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD has said that the government has to go back to the drawing board with their plan for Leaving Cert students to return to school.

Teachta Ó Laoghaire said:

“Tonight’s decision by the ASTI has left the government’s plan for Leaving Cert students to return to the classroom as soon as next week in tatters.

“Sinn Féin have been calling for months for a contingency plan for schools in the event that they had to close. We all wanted schools to stay open, but no one ever expected that if cases got to these levels that they would stay open.

“There should have always been a Plan B, but the government thought differently. If there had been such a plan, teaching unions, parents and students would have already been consulted.

“Instead we had a plan cobbled together yesterday after countless Ministers told us schools would open on Monday, which is now collapsing before the government’s eyes.

“Sending Leaving Cert students back as soon as next week – without any consultation – and no public health advice to support it does not make any sense. It is disproportionate and it is premature.

“We support the notion that if there is going to be a phased return to school, then of course Leaving Cert students need to be a priority. However, Monday is premature and this proposal must be taken off the table.

“The government now need to consult properly and work out a better plan for the tuition of Leaving Cert students. We also need the Minister for Education to come forward with a contingency plan for the Leaving Cert. While written exams are preferable, we cannot afford a rehash of last year and recent days again, with plans cobbled together at the last minute.

“If the government is serious about valuing education, they also need to bring teachers, SNAs and all school staff further up the vaccination list to ensure that schools can get open and stay open as soon as possible.”

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