May 29, 2020
Mixed messages from Minister for Education confusing parents and teachers – Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD has said that commentary by the Minister for Education Joe McHugh yesterday has created more confusion than anything else.

He has said he hopes the Minister can bring some clarity and coherence to the Department’s position today, because as of right now, this is totally lacking.

He said:

“Yesterday morning on the Today Show on RTÉ radio, the Minister for Education said it was hard to see all children being back in school in September and that blended learning will be a reality.

“Within 12 hours on RTÉ’s Prime Time, he was telling us that he wouldn’t accept a ‘half return’ to school, essentially referring to what he had himself referred to that morning.

“This contradiction has left children, parents and teachers none the wiser and more confused than ever.

“Reports yesterday confirmed my fears that meetings happening in recent days were preliminary and that preparations for a return to school based learning were really only beginning. The fact that the Department is only now properly considering this – given that school buildings closed on 12th March – is unacceptable.

“It is against that backdrop that the Minister’s comments and contradictions occur.

“In the meantime, the Department has still not made contact with schools. How are they expected to plan, how are they to know how many teachers, SNAs or other staff they will need and what hygiene provisions they need to make? Will there be extra funding available? Teachers and Principals are deeply frustrated.

“The roadmap needs to be expedited and there needs to be direct communication with schools on the key points, including what the Minister is telling the Cabinet today he intends to do. I hope he can bring some clarity and coherence to the Department’s position today, because as of right now, this is totally lacking.”

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