INTO Responds to Minister Weirs Statement to the Ad Hoc Committee on 21 May 2020

The INTO acknowledges the Minister’s appreciation to the teaching workforce for their efforts over the period of the COVID pandemic. INTO members have engaged whole heartedly in the work of maintaining the continuity of learning for their students whilst also continuing to meet their own familial caring responsibilities. We further acknowledge the Minister’s commitment to ensuring the provision of additional much needed computer and IT hardware for our students and young people to support their learning and the work of INTO members.

Gerry Murphy, Northern Secretary of INTO said:

“INTO is committed to seeing our schools returned to normality as soon as possible. We share the Minister’s view that this can only be done in circumstances that are guided by the science, are medically safe and governed by the establishment of social distancing norms. We are determined to play a full and constructive role in the stake holder engagement the Minister has signalled as being central to planning for and managing a phased wider re-opening of schools.

This is a complex and challenging undertaking, but the teaching profession continues to demonstrate a capacity for innovation and a willingness to be flexible that will be essential as we work our way through these difficult times. INTO members are stepping up to the challenge and will continue to do so in the interests of all our young people and society generally. Teachers remain the most valuable resource and whilst more IT equipment is welcome, teachers in safe, properly resourced classrooms engaging with children and young people in learning activities remains our goal.

It is however disappointing that the Minister remains unwilling to embrace the opportunity, presented by the unfortunate circumstances we find ourselves in, to address the issue of transfer to post primary schools. INTO will continue to campaign to have the current system, which is both educationally unsound and socially unacceptable, changed in the interests of every child.”