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Ireland
Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Primary school principal faces sending classes home due to lack of staff

A primary school principal has warned parents that entire classes may have to be sent home due to the difficulties in getting substitutes to replace absent teachers.

The primary school, based in Co. Meath, saw the principal and five special education teachers take classes in the 330-pupil school yesterday.

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If a teacher is absent and unable to be replaced by a substitute, one of the six special education teachers has to teach the class, the principal told parents.

This is the second time this week an incident of this nature has taken place in the country as a primary school in Cork was also dealing with teacher shortages but in this case, Owenabue Educate Together National School was left with no other option but to send 12 students home due to the teacher shortage.

Currently, schools are experiencing high levels of teacher absence which has been caused by, with the exception of illness, the stay at home advice if they present symptoms.

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This has a knock-on effect on pupils who need additional support as special education teachers are summoned to look after classes when substitutes are unavailable.

In the case of the Meath school, the principal stated that there were six confirmed cases this week while adding, “The situation is very challenging to manage and may severely impact our ability to provide education in the time ahead”.

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