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Education Minister Peter Weir has outlined a significant package of funding to help support the safe reopening of schools.

The package includes: £17.5million towards the cost of substitute teachers and other school expenditure; £6.4million for PPE; £5million for school wellbeing initiatives; £3.1million for home to school transport; and £1.4million to support special educational needs. The funding is for the first term of the new academic year.

Education Minister Peter Weir said: “I fully recognise the stresses felt by teachers, parents and pupils due to the ongoing disruption and uncertainty regarding the future. My key priority has always been to ensure all of our children and young people return to school on a full-time basis, as soon as it is safe to do so.

“To help support schools, I have allocated funding which will address many of the new pressures arising as a result of Covid-19, including increased substitute teacher costs, wellbeing initiatives for pupils, PPE and home to school transport.”

Concluding, the Minister said everyone had to play their part in addressing the challenges posed by Covid-19 by following public health advice.

Peter Weir said: “The first step in keeping our schools safe is that anyone with symptoms should not attend school. Parents should not send their children to school if they have any of the Covid-19 symptoms including:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.

“I want to thank teachers and school leaders for their hard work and commitment to their students in these very difficult circumstances.

“I want to assure them that I will continue to monitor funding requirements as schools reopen and as the pandemic progresses, to secure adequate funding to keep schools open and protect our children and young people.”

Notes to editors:

1. A breakdown of the £42million funding package is as follows:

c£17.5million - teacher substitution (including special schools) and other school expenditure

£6.4million – PPE provision

£5million – school wellbeing initiatives

£3.4million – free school meals, maintaining standards & learning, cleaning etc.

c£3.1million – home to school transport

c£2.8million – safe reopening of non-statutory pre-school settings

c£2.4million – support online learning

c£1.4million – special educational needs in mainstream and pupil support