Newton welcomes focus on keeping schools open

East Belfast MLA Robin Newton has welcomed the action taken by Education Minister Michelle McIlveen to encourage recently retired teachers to return and assist with pressures in school through staff absence.

Mr Newton, who is a member of the Assembly's Education Committee said, "The Education Minister's clear priority to keep our schools open will be welcomed by everyone. Children and young people have suffered hugely through disruption to education and it is vital this does not happen again. The most significant challenge we face currently however is the disruption through necessary staff absences caused by Covid.

The Minister has taken action through writing to all recently retired teachers. That is clearly the greatest pool from which to secure the necessary additional staff and it was a call put out pro-actively by the Minister before some others had awakened to the issue.

I would encourage all those who can return to teaching to take up the offer. They will know better than anyone the huge benefits of face-to-face teaching in the classroom and ensuring that can continue."

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