25th March 2022
INTO President Joe McKeown met with the Department of Education earlier this week to discuss how primary and special schools could be best supported as we welcome Ukrainian families. INTO has sought and secured a weekly meeting to ensure we meet the ongoing challenge of responding to the needs of Ukrainian children.
Today, Minister for Education Norma Foley TD has announced the establishment of Regional Education and Language Teams (REALT) to support the needs of Ukrainian children arriving in Ireland. These teams will be hosted in each of the sixteen regional Education and Training Boards (ETBs) and will act as a single point of contact for arriving families and for schools.
These teams will chiefly focus on assisting children in finding school places and supporting schools in the area to meet the needs of newly arriving children. In doing so, they will work with the Department of Education to assess capacity within the system and coordinate the provision of education services to children in the region.
The INTO underscored the need for arriving families to be given clear and simple information. The teams will seek to ensure effective communication between local schools and these families.
INTO further understands that the regional teams will be hosted and administratively supported within the ETBs and will lead a network of other key agencies, including Tusla Education Support Service (TESS), NEPS regional personnel, NCSE regional personnel and management body local nominees, working together with local schools. It is essential that a coordinated approach to these specialist services is made available to schools and pupils.
Next week, the INTO will be publishing a dedicated Ukrainian hub on our website, collating key information for members on supporting pupils from Ukraine.