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Ireland
Thursday, December 2, 2021

Twelve Cork pupils told to stay at home amid teacher shortage

A primary school based in Cork has told the parents of 12 children to keep them at home as there are no teachers available to teach their class.

Two out of four teachers at Owenabue Educate Together National School, which has 30 pupils spread across junior and senior infants, are out sick today.

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The principal Tríona Golden accused the system of doubling down on the learning loss already experienced by children who have additional learning needs so that mainstream classes can be covered.

Ms. Golden also described how the national crisis in substitute cover was affecting her school, saying that she tried everything in her power to find substitutes this morning.

After contacting other principals and even posting on Twitter that substitutes were being sought, she was left with no choice at 8:15am but to inform the parents of children in senior infants that the class would be closed.

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Being a teaching principal, Ms. Golden had stepped in to take the junior infants class, which was also without a teacher this morning.

Describing the guilt as “enormous”, Ms. Golden stated, “You know that these are the kids who struggled the most during the school closures.”

However, Ms. Golden is a special education teacher and is supposed to be working with children who have additional needs, to which she said, “The gap was already widening, but now we are actually doubling down on their learning loss. For these kids, we are doing the opposite of catching up.”

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