NCSE – Remote Teaching and Learning – NCSE Communication to Special Schools and Schools with Special Classes


Please find attached an NCSE letter outlining recent communication to special schools and schools with special classes re: supports for remote teaching and learning.

Letter to Education Partners re Supports for Remote Teaching & Learning


Note to Members

This morning at a meeting of the NAPD regional chairpersons, representatives, and secretaries high levels of anger and frustration were expressed in relation the DES announcement yesterday. Principals and Deputy Principals are the greatest advocates for the academic and wellbeing needs of all students including the Leaving Certificate, LCA, and SEN students.

NAPD has asked the Department to allow online teaching for all students next week to give time to logistically prepare to accommodate Leaving Certificate, LCA, and SEN students returning to school as announced by the DES and await further information from NPHET on the safe return to schools.

The expectation that the school can be ready to safely accommodate this request by next Monday is unrealistic. Careful planning is required to adjust timetables to cater efficiently and safely for returning students and teachers. It must also be borne in mind that there are almost no substitute teachers available to cover for teachers who are COVID positive or are identified as close contacts. Throughout this pandemic, the Principals and Deputy Principals have kept schools open safely.

Given the unprecedented levels of COVID in many communities members expressed serious concerns that they cannot guarantee the health and safety of staff and students in their schools. Principals’ and Deputy Principals’ paramount concern is to provide a safe environment for the entire school community.

NAPD believes that online learning for all students should take place next week and that further discussions should take place with the education partners and the Department.

Clive Byrne

Commenting on measures announced by Government, Clive Byrne, Director, National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD)

Commenting on measures announced by Government, Clive Byrne, Director, National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD), said:

“While it will bring challenges which require careful consideration, school leaders note the decision by Government to allow Leaving Certificate students to attend school three days a week and to continue traditional classroom education for students with special needs.

“Throughout the pandemic, school leaders have expressed a view that the best learning environment for our students is that of the traditional classroom.

“The primary goal of all school leaders has been and remains the provision of the highest standard of education for all our students while protecting the health and wellbeing of all in the school community. The logistics of maintaining online and on-site learning in this way will be complex but with the support and understanding of the Department of Education, they can be achieved.

“Limitations remain, in particular inadequate broadband connectivity in many schools. Childcare concerns for many school staff and a lack of availability of substitute teachers for staff who have Covid-19 or are isolating as close contacts are also critical considerations.

“We are extremely mindful of the disruption experienced by all of our students. This year’s Leaving Cert students have already been impacted by the Spring 2020 lockdown and this is now added to further at a critical time in the academic year. We will continue to do everything possible to minimise the impacts of these measures.

“In addition to the current challenges, we cannot lose sight of the need to future plan. We remain hopeful that the traditional Leaving Certificate examinations can take place this summer. There remains sufficient lead-in time, coupled with the learnings of last year.

“The NAPD is anxious to meet the education partners and explore solutions with the Department and the State Examinations Commission which will meet the expressed concerns of students and staff to enable a mix of face to face teaching and online learning.”


For media queries, contact 360:


Barry Murphy / / 087 266 98978

Macdara Ó’Móráin / / 086 087 3387

NAPD Welfare Committee – have your input.

The NAPD Welfare Committee is currently investigating practical ways in which the Association might support the welfare and well-being of members. The next meeting of the committee, on 28th January 2021, will focus on this issue alone.

We are asking members to reflect and identify what additional supports might be put in place to help alleviate the current workload that is currently being experienced school leaders and to forward their thoughts and suggestions to the committee for inclusion in a draft discussion document that is being prepared for the January meeting. The email address for all communication is

Info for schools reopening

For the attention of all  schools

The HSA Work Safely Protocol requires that staff should confirm that the details in their pre-return to work form remain unchanged on school reopening following the Christmas break. The form was originally completed at the beginning of the school year. This can be communicated to the school principal verbally or by text or email. The school should keep note of these confirmations.


All staff should also be aware and take note of current advice in relation to travel. It is important that all non-essential domestic and international travel is avoided. Anyone who travels internationally must restrict their movements for 14 days on arrival into Ireland. Alternatively, travellers may take a PCR test on day 5 after arrival and should continue to restrict their movement until they receive a ‘not detected’ result.

Tomorrow 11th Dec is #GRMA Day

Tomorrow is #GRMA day

Since schools had to close their doors last March and move overnight to online learning and teaching and then reconfigure and adapt themselves to allow safe reopening, each and every member of the school community have had to put their shoulder to the wheel. Our school leaders have led this change and coordinated the efforts throughout. Our Teachers, SNAs, office staff, caretakers, cleaners, students, parents and all others who work in schools have all given the extra required to make this happen. Our schools are open and are operational.

On Day Friday 11th December 2020 our country wants to acknowledge this effort by our school communities.

It is hoped that sometime around 11.00 on Friday that your school community can take the time to view a video collage from a selection of those who want to thank you and your school community. The link to the video which includes tributes from President Higgins, the Taoiseach and many other leading figures in politics, sport, education and the media will be ready at 1.00pm and is available to either live stream or download from the following locations.


Many other will add their voice of gratitude on social media under the hashtag of #GRMA. Some have chosen to use radio to say “go raibh maith agaibh”, some the TV and others in the print media.

Please share your story on which ever platform you are comfortable with. If using social media please use #GRMA. Let’s make this a special day, a to remember when the efforts made by your school community are acknowledged and appreciated. This special day of appreciation is thanks to the work of the NAPD Corporate Advisory Board.

Webinar Event – Tuesday 1st December 7pm – COVID 19 and Schools

Covid-19 and Schools – the Public Health Approach

All school principals and/or deputy principals at primary and post-primary level are invited to view a live webinar with a HSE Public Health doctor and an Assistant Secretary of the Department of Education on Tuesday 1 December at 7pm.


Schools are sustaining their operations in a Covid-19 context and the rate of Covid-19 among school communities has been consistently lower than among the general population. This is a testament to the measures are being carried out on a daily basis by the whole school community.


National data on Covid-19 within the schools setting for the first half-term are reassuring.


At this point in the term, many schools have dealt with their first experience of a positive Covid-19 test among the school community. In the first half term, 18 per cent of schools had dealings with public health at a local level.


This webinar provides an opportunity to hear from public health doctors supporting schools on a daily basis on the learnings to date, the enhanced systems in place to support schools and to answer some of the questions that arise most often for school leaders.


The agenda will cover:

  • Principles of the public health approach
  • Public health risk assessment in schools
  • The enhanced schools teams
  • Close contacts, testing and tracing
  • Communications with parents and the school community

There will be an opportunity to submit questions online, and a thematic range of questions will be answered by the panel.


The webinar will also be recorded and available to watch after the event on

Registration link:

Maintaining Connectedness and the Wellbeing of School Leaders – Monday 30th November 2020 at 7pm


Maintaining Connectedness and the Wellbeing of School Leaders


Date and Time:

Monday 30th November 2020 at 7pm



The panellists will explore examples and effective strategies from their own professional practice in various themes such as leading in challenging times, managing the unknown, resilience in school leadership and offering support to the school community.


Full details: