INTO condemns lack of consultation on school continuity guidance

Throughout the current crisis, with schools closed and the country in a state of lockdown, INTO members have risen to the challenge and continue to provide an ongoing education service to our pupils in extraordinary times. We are guided by a belief that we are all in this together and must endeavour to work together in the common interest.

In regular engagement with the Department of Education and Skills, the INTO has repeatedly raised the need for formal guidance on home based learning to aid our members at this time. We had even offered to help draft this guidance, having produced a large body of advice for our members in recent weeks.

Last night, the Department of Education and Skills published a note on their website, ‘Guidance on Continuity of Schooling for Primary and Post-Primary Schools’The Department failed to communicate this guidance to the INTO or to engage with us as a stakeholder in advance of publication.

Commenting on the publication, INTO General Secretary John Boyle said:

It is wholly unacceptable that this important document should have been published without any consultation with the union representing primary school teachers and principals, despite our repeated offers to aid the department in formulating such a document. The timing of issue is terrible, emerging on a Friday where schools are due to commence an Easter closure, during which many parents would reasonably anticipate less emphasis on formal learning supports.

We are all in this together and there must be a spirit of cooperative working in the common interest of the education of our children. I implore the Department of Education and Skills to engage with us now, so that we can all work together during this unprecedented period. It’s just not good enough to set aside appropriate consultation processes and proper communications during a national emergency. Surely the least that’s to be expected is that the voices and expertise of teachers’ representatives would be heeded at a time like this.”