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Parents frustrated as primary schools in Ireland are taking holidays next week

DUBLIN: Parents have expressed dissatisfaction with the Department of Education as many schools will be closed next week, despite the fact that their children’s education has been interrupted for the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many parents have voiced their concerns with the schools’ approach to taking holidays next week on social media and on RTÉ’s Liveline. They say many children are finding it difficult to catching up on lost learning due to school closures and in this case it is not fair to take a break next week.

Primary schools in Ireland were closed from mid-March to the end of June last year in view of rising COVID-19 cases. It was later reopened but closed again from January to March this year. It is in this context that schools are set to close again next week.

However, the Department of Education has confirmed that schools have a standard number of teaching days and that many primary schools have the right to take next week off using “discretionary days.” They are entitled to take holidays even if a mid-term break is not scheduled.

Meanwhile, some schools have readjusted their schedules in recent weeks, deciding to take one or two days off next week and finish classes early in June.

Lorraine Dempsey, interim chief executive of Inclusion Ireland, said: “I understand that schools scheduled their school holidays a year in advance, but given the recent challenges and the proximity to school closures and Easter holidays, we’d have hoped that some would have taken a more flexible approach.”

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