30th June 2021
As we come to the end of a unique and often challenging school year, I would like to take a few moments to say thank you for your leadership and the support you have provided within your school communities during an extraordinary school year, and indeed throughout the Covid-19 crisis.
You have really pulled together to help your pupils, their families and each other. Grappling with an unprecedented global pandemic, you demonstrated the best of our profession, responding to latest developments, changing tack with very short notice and reacting to the profound and difficult challenges which arose when our schools once more had to close.
Each and every day during that prolonged closure, you reached out from your homes and engaged with your pupils through online platforms and other means to guarantee the continuity of education. In many cases, you were the only connection with our most vulnerable children.
The commitment you have shown to your students and the manner in which you have ensured the delivery of quality education for the full school year has been nothing short of outstanding.
The times we are experiencing will be the subject of history and economics and social lessons for generations to come. The work INTO members have been doing every day has been ground-breaking, and it will continue to be.
No matter how we move forward under the precautions that will likely remain necessary for some time, we know that we must never return to the days of under-investment and neglect that prevailed for the last decade.
The crisis has also provided us with the opportunity to think about all aspects of our work differently. It has allowed us to examine how we can take advantage of technology to be more flexible in meeting the needs of every student.
Nothing will ever take away from the need for, and the value of, the personal connections that are so vital to the work we, as teachers, do.
The INTO will continue to prioritise your safety and to seek additional supports for schools during the summer months. We will endeavour to deliver a campaign that will demand that the Department of Education (DE) and employing authorities build on recent measures to provide additional supports for school leadership and increase funding for all educational settings to ensure that the diverse needs of the young people in our care can be adequately met.
In the meantime, I hope that you get a well-deserved rest and that you thoroughly enjoy a restful holiday period. You have earned it.