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."