Information notification from NAPD

Following coverage in the media and on social media regarding the involvement of the Inspectorate in COVID Compliance Inspections in the schools, I would like to clarify the situation.

NAPD, the 3 Management Bodies, the 2 Teacher Unions, the National Parents Council, the Irish Second Level Students Union and the Ombudsman for Children attended a briefing with the Inspectorate. The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) is responsible for ensuring COVID compliance in the workplace. Schools are workplaces and the Inspectorate is responsible for ensuring compliance in the education sector. A Memorandum of Understanding in this regard has been agreed between the HSA and the Department. The briefing was to explore how best the Inspectorate could undertake this role in the context of their commitment to the school system that their involvement with schools would be supporting this term rather than evaluative. The model used in Child Protection Inspections involved a small number of pilot schools to refine the process and iron out any challenges for schools. The meeting agreed a similar process for the COVID Inspections. A small number of schools will be asked to participate in the pilot. Notice will be given.

The areas to be covered in the Inspectors visit will be identified to the school in advance. There will be engagement with the principal, the lead worker, some staff and students to enquire how the school is operating, to examine hand sanitisers, signage and additional cleaning to ensure the safety of all in the school. The inspector will also take the opportunity to ensure that the name of the DLP is prominently displayed in the building. The tone of the meeting was positive and collaborative. All present realised the need for the visits to take place in the context of the HSA Memorandum. The visit should last no more than a couple of hours. Notice will be given, and no report will be published in the pilot phase. Schools will be able to indicate what additional supports or resources would assist in running the school. I recognise the frustration of members but wish to assure you that the stress that school leaders are experiencing was conveyed forcefully to the meeting. Inspectors understand the workings of schools and I would prefer to have a co-professional discussion with an inspector rather than an unannounced inspection from the HSA.

Several colleagues have been in contact to express their concerns about the holding of the state exams in November and December. NAPD and the management bodies have been in contact with State Exams and has emphasised the challenges involved in holding the exams in schools at that time. NAPD has told the SEC that principals and deputy principals will not be available at night-time and weekends to run the exams and the SEC has agreed to make resources available to minimise the impact on school management. Further discussions will take place when there is an indication of the numbers who may wish to sit the exam. Rest assured that the SEC will fund the additional supports necessary to prepare for the holding of the exams and arrange for appropriate cleaning before and after each exam to enable the school to operate as normal. Schools can appoint an aide for 13 days before the exams begin and during the exams. The SEC will appoint an external superintendent to deal with the distribution of exam papers and the management of data associated with the exams. Detailed guidance will issue to each school when the numbers of students who will sit the exams are known. Students will be able to indicate whether they wish to sit an exam during the week of the 28th September.

Some colleagues have asked who is speaking for school leaders and when is NAPD going to take a stand say enough is enough. Rest assured that NAPD is articulating your concerns in every forum available and will continue to do so. While some might like a higher profile beating a louder drum in the media and on social media, our strategy has been to get on with our work representing your interests quietly and effectively. “Is iad na muca ciúine a itheann an min” and in the discussions on calculated grades, COVID reopening, inspections, masks/face coverings and additional resources to support school leaders into the future we will always do our best. School leaders are tired and frustrated. We will be organising regional Zoom meetings over the next while to explore all avenues to help us come through this horrible pandemic. Schools are at the heart of the community and society. Your leadership is vital to the success of the campaign to control the spread of the virus. Thanks for all you are doing and have done since March – much of it unseen and largely unheralded but you know the enormous part you’ve played in getting us to where we are today.


Clive Byrne

Director, NAPD

Face Coverings and Code of behaviour documents

Clarification on the use of face coverings in Post Primary schools

All documents below to download. 

Wearing a face covering or mask does not negate the need to stay at home if symptomatic.

Wearing of face coverings – a requirement
Staff and students, at post-primary level, are required to wear a face covering. The exemptions to this are set out below.

Cloth face coverings
Cloth face coverings are recommended for staff and students. Cloth face coverings act as a barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from travelling into the air and onto other people when the person wearing the face covering coughs, sneezes, talks or raises their voice. Cloth face coverings are therefore intended to prevent transmission of the virus from the wearer (who may not know that they are infected) to those with whom they come into close contact.

Face coverings must not contain any slogans/logos/images that may cause upset or be deemed offensive to any member of the school community.

Cloth face coverings are more effective than visors. In the limited circumstances where a cloth face covering cannot be worn clear visors must be considered. The alternate use of a clear visor can also be considered when a staff member is interacting with students with hearing difficulties or learning difficulties.

A medical certificate to certify that a person falls into a category listed below must be provided to the school by, or on behalf of, any person (staff or student) who claims that they are covered by the exemptions below:
– any person with difficulty breathing who cannot wear a cloth face covering or a visor
– any person who is unable to remove the cloth face-covering or visor without assistance
– any person who has special needs and who may feel upset or very uncomfortable wearing the cloth face covering or visor, for example persons with intellectual or developmental disabilities,       mental health conditions, sensory concerns or tactile sensitivity.
– In circumstances where a medical certificate is not provided that person (staff or student) will be refused entry to the school.

Directions for effective use of face coverings
–  Information should be provided by schools on the proper use, removal, and washing of face coverings. Advice on how to use face coverings properly can be found here.
– All staff and students should be reminded not to touch the face covering and to wash or sanitise their hands (using hand sanitiser) before putting on and after taking off the face covering.
– All staff (and students, where applicable), should be aware that they should wash or sanitise hands (using a hand sanitiser) before and after helping a student put on or adjust a face covering.
– Face coverings should be stored in a designated space, for example, in an individually labelled container or bag.
– Cloth face coverings should be washed after every day of use and/or before being used again, or if visibly soiled.
– Face coverings should not be worn if they are wet. A wet cloth face covering may make it difficult to breathe.

Whilst staff and students may wish to utilise their own face covering on a day-to-day basis, schools should have a stock of additional disposable or multi-use face coverings (or if appropriate, visors) for staff and students in case a back-up face covering is needed during the day or where required on an ongoing basis.

Use of medical grade face coverings
Schools should consider the specific circumstances where the use of medical face masks (to EU Standard EN 14683) may be more appropriate for staff as part of their risk assessment for employees returning to work (for example where staff by necessity need to be in close and continued proximity with students with intimate care needs such as SNAs).

Students using school transport
All students on the post primary transport scheme are required to wear face coverings subject to the exemptions above.

Wearing face coverings in Post Primary schools

Soiléiriú maidir le clúdaigh aghaidhe a úsáid in Iar-bhunscoileanna

template covid health and safety policy 160920

2020.09.11 Template covid health and safety policy final

What’s New for IT in Education – Online Event Series

We’re pleased to share some upcoming online events and new resources to support education leaders, teachers and IT support staff.


What’s New for IT in Education – Education Online Event Series
Powerful new features across software and hardware can enable students and teachers to be more productive than ever before.


Join an upcoming online education event to explore IT improvements in security, management and identity to help simplify the deployment of Apple devices in education. Register here for upcoming Apple Education Online Events.


30 Time-Saving Tips for Teachers
Discover thirty fun and simple activities highlighting iPad built-in features and apps. Designed for teachers, these tips can help save time on many tasks teachers do daily. Use Safari to easily eliminate distractions from web pages, and quickly create a PDF of any web page to share with students. In Notes, explore how to quickly digitise a printed hand-out you already have, or create interactive handouts in Pages to engage your students. You’ll find a wealth of ideas to help you stay organised  manage tasks, gather instructional resources, and more. Download 30 Time-Saving Tips for Teachers.


Learning with iPad: Building Literacy Skills
Today’s students need strong foundational literacy skills to support all facets of learning. The Learning with iPad: Building Literacy Skills shows how iPad’s built-in features and apps can help students build literacy skills, communicate their thoughts and demonstrate understanding. Download Learning with iPad: Building Literacy Skills.



Quick Guides for Learning with Apple

From managing schedules and screen time to building a story, these guides make the most of built-in features of iPad and Mac, and can help create productive learning environments. Download the Quick Guides for Learning with Apple.


Stay up to date on using Apple products and services by following us on Twitter @AppleEDU and joining the Apple Teacher Learning Center.



Apple Education Ireland

Welcoming Foreign Language Assistants Protocol

As you may know the Department administers a Foreign Language Assistant (FLA) Scheme.


In light of COVID19 we have developed a ‘Welcoming Foreign Language Assistants Protocol’ and Addendum (template for sign off by FLAs) which issued to schools today.


Under the Protocol principals in host schools will be required to sign off that they have arrangements in place to provide assurance that FLAs can arrive safely, and can be accommodated in restricting their movements within the first 14 day period post-arrival.


Where such assurance is not in place, schools must agree not to take in FLAs to the school until such time as they are in a position to put in place the appropriate arrangements. The FLA may work remotely from their home country until such time as such assurances can be given by the School Principal.


The Department recognises that there have been additional burdens imposed on school principals and school management in the current school year. The Department appreciates that there may be reservations on the part of schools regarding the burden this protocol imposes on school management. In view of this it is open to schools to opt to provide the service online for at least the first term or as a last resort to defer participation until the 2021/22 school year.


Majella O’Dea

Department of Education and Skills


Template for Sign off by FLAs on Protocol FINAL

Protocol 26 August 2020

Roll Out of CAO Offers

Commenting on the roll out of CAO offers for Leaving Cert students this afternoon, Clive Byrne, Director, National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals said:


“On behalf of all school leaders and the NAPD, I would like to congratulate all those Leaving Cert students who have received CAO first round offers this afternoon.


“In an unprecedented year, our Leaving Cert class of 2020 has shown great reserve and determination in getting to this point.  Today represents an important milestone in the transition from secondary to third level education and beyond.


“While many students will be excited with today’s their first round offers, it is important to note that others may be disappointed to not receive their first choice college course.  For those who find themselves in this position, thankfully there are a multitude of routes into further education and I encourage all students and their parents to research and consider these options.  Critically, your education and career prospects will not be defined by this outcome.


“This year, as a written exam was not completed in June, students can also avail of the option of sitting an exam paper in their subject of choice in November. Between now and then, all Leaving Cert students remain firmly part of their school community, and school leaders, teachers and staff are ready to support these students in any way they can.


“For any student in need of advice over the coming days, please contact the Department of Education helpline on: 1800 265 165.”



Principals congratulate Leaving Cert students on results and begin focus on class of 2021

  • Comment from Clive Byrne, director of the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD): “Our Leaving Cert students receiving results this morning have shown great resilience and reserve over the past several months. Today marks a special moment in their young lives.”

The director of the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD), Clive Byrne, has offered his congratulations to Leaving Certificate students receiving their exam results today, while also highlighting the challenges ahead for the Leaving Certificate class of 2021.

Mr Byrne said: “On behalf of Irish principals, deputy principals, and the NAPD, I would like to congratulate all those students receiving their Leaving Certificate results today.  Today’s results represent the culmination of two years of hard work and dedication from our students. Their achievements should be celebrated, and the support of their families recognised.

“The Leaving Cert class of 2020 has had to forgo many of the school traditions that all preceding sixth years have experienced and remember fondly, such as their last days at school, school graduations, and even their Debs, all in respect of public health guidance.

“In response to the pandemic, the Leaving Certificate ‘calculated grades’ programme was developed and implemented by the Department of Education in consultation with a wide range of education stakeholders. As part of this process, every effort has been made to ensure no student has been disadvantaged in receiving their results today.

“For those students who have been fortunate enough to match or exceed their expectations, today is a happy and very affirming conclusion to their second-level schooling and a launchpad to third-level education or other career opportunities.

“For other students who may be feeling disappointed, I would encourage them to remain positive.  Thankfully, there are more pathways than ever before into third-level education and their chosen careers beyond that.  Additionally, today’s employers are becoming increasingly open to sourcing talent from non-traditional disciplines and do so with a greater appreciation for the diverse experience and skillsets this brings.”

Leaving Certificate Class of 2021

“In the weeks following the excitement and emotions of today’s exam results, school leaders and all education stakeholders must now focus on the impact of Covid-19 restrictions on our Leaving Cert class of 2021. Our incoming sixth years, who have returned to classroom education in recent days, have had and will have equal if not greater challenges than this year’s school leavers.

“March’s school closures came at a time when many fifth-year students were getting to grips with crucial course material that, in a normal year, they would move to revise and refine in sixth year. While every effort was made by teachers to continue this coursework through a blended online learning approach, many students, particularly those in disadvantaged areas, did not experience the same level of learning.

“All school stakeholders must now begin to focus on what can be done to ensure no one in the Leaving Cert class of 2021 is disadvantaged. In considering this approach, learnings can be taken from the process implemented to support those who received results today.

“The NAPD has long advocated for Leaving Certificate reform, and it with this in mind that we ask the Minister for Education to continue dialogue and consultation on how Ireland might develop a more adaptive, sustainable, and modern senior cycle programme in the period ahead. As we adapt to living with Covid-19, the work of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment on this matter is now more important than ever.”


Junior Cycle Guidance Related Learning Resources

NCGE have developed and have just ‘released!’ a suite of 18 lessons for Junior Cycle Guidance Related Learning (GRL).

A unit of learning for each of 1st, 2nd and 3rd year has been developed. Each unit contains six lessons. A lesson plan, presentation and student worksheet are available for each of the six lessons in each unit. An appendix I for each unit has also been developed with the support and guidance of the NCCA.

These lessons have been developed with input from the JCT and were developed in line with the Whole School Guidance Framework (NCGE, 2017). As such, they can be taught by a Guidance Counsellor or another teacher or a combination of both.

All GRL content is available through three zip files (one for each year group) on the NCGE resource page ( and through careersportal.

NCGE collaborated with careersportal on a webinar introducing all aspects of the topic, including how to access the resources on both sites. It is available at the link above.

National Parents Council Post Primary Leaving Certificate Helpline 2020


The NPCPP Leaving Cert Exam Helpline 2020 number, 1800-265-165, will operate the following schedule:

  • Monday 7th September         11am – 8pm
  • Tuesday 8th September        11am – 8pm
  • Wednesday 9th September 11am – 2pm
  • Thursday 10th September 11am – 2pm
  • Friday 11th September 12pm – 8pm
  • Saturday 12th September 11am – 5pm
  • Monday 14th September 11am – 5pm
  • Tuesday 15th September 11am – 2pm
  • Wednesday 16th September 11am – 2pm

Supporting the wellbeing of School Communities – Documents Attached

The Department’s Wellbeing Office has updated the Guidance for Schools on supporting the wellbeing of school communities as school reopen.  This is attached here for your information.  In addition, a shorter document outlining a summary of the resources that are being made available to support wellbeing at this time is also attached.






Teaching Council announces measures to enhance supply of teachers for supervision and substitution as schools reopen

The Teaching Council is introducing a range of interventions to support teaching and school communities as they prepare for re-opening. The measures form part of the wider approach for the reopening of schools being co-ordinated by the Minister and Department of Education in consultation with all stakeholders in education.

The measures being introduced by the Teaching Council are focused on increasing the supply of registered teachers who are available to fill vacancies, including supervision and substitution roles, to support the re-opening of schools for the 2020/21 school year.

There are 106,000 qualified teachers registered with the Teaching Council. It is estimated that up to 6,000 of these teachers are not fully deployed in schools and may be available for substitution and supervision. The Teaching Council will be contacting this potential grouping directly to encourage their participation in supporting the return to school.

Minister for Education Norma Foley TD said: “I am pleased to welcome the range of measures being taken by the Teaching Council to support the re-opening of schools at both primary and post-primary level.

“I announced last week that the Department is making funding for 1,080 new teachers at post-primary level available and putting in place new substitution and supply arrangements to provide additional teachers to all schools, in these extraordinary circumstances.

“I am pleased to say that a new Teaching Council regulation will enable, on an exceptional basis, teachers who are qualified abroad to complete their induction in Ireland. This is an added source of teacher supply and I have no doubt that this, along with the combination of other measures, will enhance the supply of qualified teachers available to primary and post-primary schools for the new school year.

“I would like to thank the Teaching Council for its work in supporting teacher supply, and particularly for its work connecting with the teachers on the register that may wish to re-commence teaching or increase their hours, to enable a safe return to school for all.”

Register Your Availability

Any teachers registered with the Teaching Council who are in a position to provide more substitution and supervision or to fill vacancies, are asked to register their availability through and in particular through the Sub Seeker platform for short-term substitution requirements.

Teachers who are graduating this summer are asked to follow the instructions, including completing their vetting, in the email that they receive from the Teaching Council when the results have transferred over from the higher education institutions.

Higher Education Institutions (Teacher Education Universities and Colleges)

The Teaching Council has also consulted with the higher education institutions to identify mechanisms which will facilitate the availability of registered teachers on school placement to also be available to schools on a further basis as an additional resource including supervision and substitution. The HEIs will enable this in a number of innovative ways, including adjusting times of course delivery and tutorials for student teachers, also including online course delivery (which has already been established in view of the current pandemic).

Universities and colleges providing the Professional Master of Education (PME) post-primary programme of initial teacher education have also introduced flexibility in their course delivery to increase the amount of time which registered teachers on school placement can provide for supervision and substitution, outside of their placement hours.

Teachers Qualified Abroad

The Minister for Education on 30 July 2020 signed a Teaching Council regulation order which will allow, on an exceptional, time-bound and once-off basis, teachers who have qualified outside of Ireland but who have not completed the required period of induction in the country in which they have qualified to complete their induction in Ireland. This will require registration with the Teaching Council in compliance with all necessary standards prior to being able to teach. This measure will also be particularly relevant to Irish citizens who have studied and qualified abroad and who may wish to return to the Irish education sector as we deal with our current challenges.

Please click here for more information on how to apply under this regulation.

Recruitment and Employment

The recruitment and employment of teachers will continue to be handled in the normal way by school management and their related patron bodies, subject, as usual, to the necessary registration and vetting processes in line with the professional standards regulations of the Teaching Council. Candidates should visit in the first instance.

Director of The Teaching Council, Tomás Ó Ruairc said: “The re-opening of schools, and keeping them open, in the next academic year is an absolute priority for the State and for school communities nationwide, most particularly teachers, pupils, parents and families. The Teaching Council will continue its close collaboration with the Department of Education and stakeholders to support our school communities in this process.

“The measures we are announcing today are designed to maximise the available pool of registered teachers to support schools in meeting their recruitment, supervision and substitution requirements in the next academic year. “Since 1 May, the Council has added 1,600 teachers to the register. It is anticipated that up to 3,200 new registrations will be processed by end of August. Each year, we process over 30,000 vetting declarations for teachers. Right now we are in the middle of our streamlined registration process for newly qualified teachers. This process has already been moved fully online in response to Covid-19.

“The re-opening of schools is asking all members of the school community – including teachers, parents and students – to come together in a spirit of mutual respect, care, integrity and trust. It asks leaders in all sectors of society to do what must be done to support our school communities in this collective endeavour. It may take a village to raise a child. It takes a nation, working together, to educate our children.”

The Chair of the Teaching Council, Seán McMahon, said: “When the current crisis loomed, teachers answered the call, transforming the learning and education environment to support students to the maximum possible, albeit under the most challenging of circumstances. I have no doubt that this dedication, and long standing commitment, will continue apace as schools reopen and the entire community of stakeholders involved in the education sector is energised to support teachers, students and schools.

“As the statutory professional standards body for teaching, working with multiple stakeholders in education, it is our experience that there is a very high level of commitment among the teaching profession to support school communities as the new school year approaches. This responsibility and commitment is grounded in the core values of the Code of Professional Conduct for Teachers – respect, care, integrity, and trust – the underpinning values and standards within the teaching profession. We look forward to further collaboration with all stakeholders in supporting our school communities as we continue to safeguard the vital role that education plays in our collective wellbeing and progress.”

Other protocols and documents to be referred to:

Guidance Note for School Placement 2020/2021

Protocol for Registered Teachers on School Placement during the 2020/2021 Academic year

The Teaching Council’s Initial Teacher Education Criteria and Guidelines for Programme Providers (2017)

Guidelines on School Placement (2013).


FAQs available here.