Schools: COVID Disruption Plans

Oral Answers to Questions — Education – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:30 pm on 6 December 2021.

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Photo of Alan Chambers Alan Chambers UUP 3:30, 6 December 2021

T6. Mr Chambers asked the Minister of Education whether it would have been prudent to have had a plan to deal with COVID disruption in place when schools returned in September, given that he noted in the press over the weekend that her Department is now preparing plans to deal with the disruption being caused by the number of teachers who are unable to attend work because of COVID infections. (AQT 1876/17-22)

Photo of Michelle McIlveen Michelle McIlveen DUP

I thank the Member for his question. The situation is fluid, and we will be responsive. We are mindful that there are between 7,000 and 8,000 teachers on NISTR. The pressures on the number of teachers available are the consequence of a number of factors, not only because of COVID but because a considerable number of them are now involved in Engage programmes and so on. They, too, will have been sick or unable to attend work for whatever reason. As the Member knows, the situation is fluid, and we are responding to assist schools where we can.

Photo of Christopher Stalford Christopher Stalford DUP

There are 10 seconds for a supplementary question and 10 seconds for an answer.

Photo of Christopher Stalford Christopher Stalford DUP

You are happy enough.

Photo of Christopher Stalford Christopher Stalford DUP

The Minister looks delighted.

That concludes questions to the Minister of Education. Members, please take your ease for a moment while we move to the next item of business.

(Mr Deputy Speaker [Mr Beggs] in the Chair)