NAPD sets the scene for school reopening as Covid Committee hears from Ireland’s secondary school leaders

NAPD sets the scene for school reopening as Covid Committee hears from Ireland’s secondary school leaders

A full return to school in late August-September described by school leaders as “best outcome”, provided it is safe to do so for all students and staff.

  • The National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD) to present to Oireachtas Special Committee on Covid-19 Response on key challenges set for schools and school leaders as return to traditional post-primary education planned
  • Minister for Education Norma Foley and all education stakeholders must take key learnings from recent months to modernise post primary education
  • Leaving Certificate reform and digital learning access for all students must now be progressed
  • Extra school resources essential as challenges of dated infrastructure, social distancing, immunocompromised students and staff, and blended learning to be heard by committee members.

The National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD) is set to present to the Oireachtas Special Committee on Ireland’s Covid-19 response, today, Tuesday, 7 July 2020.

Alan Mongey, NAPD President and Principal of Coláiste Bhaile Chláir in Claregalway and Paul Byrne, NAPD Deputy Director will outline the challenges facing post-primary education as schools plan to reopen in late August–September.

The NAPD and school leaders from the over 700 post-primary schools it represents have been at the forefront of ensuring continued student learning and the implementation of the Leaving Cert ‘calculated grades’ programme, necessary due to Ireland’s Covid-19 restrictions.

This in-depth insight into the challenges brought about by Covid-19 has led to a clear understanding among post-primary school leaders that “a one-size-fits-all solution to school reopening will not work”.

What’s needed?

While the reopening of schools will create huge responsibility for all involved, centralised Department of Education support, guidance, and procurement is essential to reduce the burden that will be placed on school leaders.

As it stands, it will be principals and deputy principals who are primarily tasked with leading and managing any return to traditional education. This workload will add to that of an already over-stretched cohort who were already calling for increased resources and support pre-Covid-19.

Each school requires:

  • The appointment of a Covid-19 assistant to implement and monitor full public health guidelines.
  • Financial investment to allow the purchase of increased cleaning and social distancing infrastructure.

Learnings from Covid-19

While Covid-19 has brought about unprecedented challenges for post primary education, it can now provide us with an opportunity to reflect and allow what the NAPD describes as “key learnings to be made on reforming an education sector” that in recent times has proven to be “unfit for adaption”.

The Association is set to call on education stakeholders to use Covid-19 as a precedent for rolling out blended learning, Leaving Cert reform and school digitalisation, all progressions it describes as having previously been “unworkable” and which now are completely necessary.

Speaking ahead of the NAPD’s presentation to the Oireachtas Special Committee on Covid-19 Response, Alan Mongey, NAPD President, said:

“The NAPD welcomes the opportunity to present to the Oireachtas Committee today as the body representing school leaders from over 700 post-primary schools across Ireland.

“School leaders are committed to working in partnership with all education stakeholders to prepare for the safe reopening of schools in late August and September in order to provide the best education for all students. There is no doubt that a return to traditional education as soon as possible is the best outcome for all concerned.

“Increased investment in education is essential. The choice for government is an important one: a failure to adequately invest in the short term will lead to a further loss in learning opportunities for those students whose school year and learning has been interrupted. The rollout of proper resourcing now can prevent further learning loss and ensure no student is disadvantaged.

“Likewise, a failure to take and implement learnings from Covid-19 to reform post-primary education will be a missed opportunity and will leave us ill-equipped to face a similar future pandemic scenario.”

 

ENDS

 

For media queries:

Paddy O’Dea paddy@weare360.ie │ 086 357 3365

Barry Murphybarry@weare360.ie │ 087 266 9878

Teaching Transforms – Teacher Supply Newsletter

A chara,

 

As part of our commitment to communicate regularly with all of our stakeholders, I am pleased to now send you the link to our second Teacher Supply newsletter.  The newsletter can be found on our landing page; www.gov.ie/teachingtransforms or by clicking here.

 

As part of our ongoing campaign to promote the teaching profession, we developed a dedicated landing page for use by those looking for more information on teaching in Ireland.  The landing page can be found here; www.gov.ie/teachingtransforms, and there is also a campaign hashtag for use on social media; #teachingtransforms.

 

In order to increase the effectiveness of the campaign promoting the teaching profession and our recently published newsletter, we would be grateful if you would consider including a link to the landing page on your organisation’s website and also promoting the newsletter within your organisation.

 

If you would like any additional information in relation to the promotional campaign or this latest Teacher Supply newsletter, please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Many thanks,

 

Damien O’Neill

 

——

Damien O’Neill

Teacher Supply Secretariat

——

An Roinn Oideachais agus Scileanna

Department of Education and Skills

 

Corr Na Madadh, Baile Átha Luain, Co. na hIarmhí N37 X659.

Cornamaddy, Athlone, Co. Westmeath, N37 X659.

——

T  +353 (90) 648 4213

damien_oneill@education.gov.ie

W www.education.gov.ie

NAPD welcomes the appointment of new Minister for Education, Norma Foley, but describes challenges now facing post-primary education as the ‘most pressing in the State’s history’

NAPD welcomes the appointment of new Minister for Education, Norma Foley, but describes challenges now facing post-primary education as the ‘most pressing in the State’s history’

  • NAPD has called on the new Minister to adequately resource secondary schools to enable their reopening in September and use the lessons learned from Covid-19 to advance Senior Cycle reforms;
  • School leaders also call for increased supports to address the principal recruitment and retention crisis, a growing issue in the sector;
  • Social distancing, immunocompromised teachers and students, student access to broadband and digital devices and school transport among key issues post Covid-19;
  • Clive Byrne, Director NAPD: “Never has there been a more pressing time for addressing the immediate and long-term challenges of the post primary sector and we look forward to engaging with the Minister and her officials on these issues in the weeks and months ahead.”

 

The National Association of Principals & Deputy Principals (NAPD) has today, Saturday, 27 June 2020, congratulated Minister Foley on her appointment as Minister for Education and set out its key asks as she embarks on her new role.

The NAPD has been a key player in the education sector’s response and adaptation to challenges brought about by Covid-19. School leaders, already under resourced, have gone above and beyond to ensure continuation of learning for students and the successful implementation of the Leaving Certificate ‘calculated grades’ programme.

Clive Byrne, Director NAPD, says “There has never been a more challenging time for Irish education. We have endeavoured to adapt our teaching and examination processes so as to not disadvantage any student and we now need further resourcing and support from Minister Foley to make this a reality.”

As schools are asked to prepare to reopen this September, the immediate needs for the safety and wellbeing of all second level students and staff include:

  • Adequate financial resourcing for increased protection and cleaning requirements to prevent Covid-19 transmission.
  • Investments in technology and broadband infrastructure to allow remote learning and teaching for immunocompromised students and teachers.
  • Blended learning guidance and resources to optimise student experience.
  • Investment in school transport services to facilitate student safety, within public health guidelines.

The NAPD has also called on Minister Foley to acknowledge the learnings for the post primary education sector, during the Covid-19 lockdown and public health response. School leaders have outlined the need for substantial Leaving Certificate reform for many years. The challenges brought about by Covid-19 for executing the traditional, outdated, state examinations process have been brought to light and given full public scrutiny. It is now clear that a new approach must be taken.

The Programme for Government includes a plan to hold a ‘Citizens Assembly’ on Irish education and the NAPD believes this will be a crucial moment to strategise reform of the sector for the new Minister.

Commenting on the appointment of Minister Foley, Clive Byrne, Director NAPD, said:

“The NAPD, as the representative body of school leaders in over 700 secondary schools, looks forward to working closely with Minister Foley during the term of next Government. In order to achieve substantial progress for our students, we ask that the Minister engages with and listens to all education stakeholders.

“Of upmost urgency is the need to adequately resource and support secondary schools as we work to reopen this September. We must receive clear, realistic guidance from the Minister and her officials in order to protect the safety of all our students and staff.

“It would be regrettable for the Minister to not take learnings from the past number of months and the challenges Covid-19 has brought about for Irish education. We ask that we now move to future proof our state examinations system and execute reforms that have the best interests of our students at heart.

“School leaders and all those working in education have gone above and beyond in recent months and we must now address the long-term issues of principal recruitment and retention to ensure all our schools are appropriately led into a post Covid-19 era.” 

ENDS

For media queries:

Paddy O’Dea/ paddy@weare360.ie/ 086 357 3365

Barry Murphy/ barry@weare360.ie/ 087 266 9878

School Transport Scheme – Information for schools in regard to processing grant payments / An Scéim Iompair Scoile – Eolas do scoileanna maidir le próiseáil íocaíochtaí deontais

As you are aware, we recently introduced a temporary workaround process to allow transport applications for children with Special Educational Needs to continue to be submitted at this time. The workaround was put in place to ensure continuity during this period of Covid-19 related restrictions and has been working very well with applications being received and processed regularly and I would like to thank you all again for your co-operation and support with the process.

 

In line with normal practice, at this time of year School Transport Section plans to commence work on issuing grant payments to families availing of the Special Transport Grant, the Remote Area Grant and to also pay School Bus Escort Grants directly to schools.  We now plan to contact schools to advise them of the grants that will be processed and the manner and proposed timelines in which we will be processing them.  We ask you to please note that there is one change to the way we normally process these grants and this change relates to Special Transport Grant for which we have put a proposed work around in place so as to ensure continuity of payment to families during this time, details of which are set out in the attached documents.

 

In relation to Escort Grants and Remote Area Grants we are continuing to process these in the normal way, however we have set up dedicated email addresses within the School Transport Section to allow us to process these remotely and in a timely fashion.

 

Attached is a document outlining the grants that will be processed, the manner in which we will be processing them and proposed timelines for processing them.

 

With regard to the Special Transport Grant and details of the proposed work around, please also find attached a letter to Principals and Statement of Attendance form for circulation to all schools within your remit. We propose to also make this information available on the Department’s website.

 

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any queries.

 

Kind regards,

 

Shirley

Acting Principal Officer, School Transport Section

Documents below

1. Communication to Management Bodies re Payment Processes for STG-RAG-E…

1. Teachtaireacht chuig Comhlachtaí Bainistíochta maidir leis an bPróise…

2. Próiseas Malartach do Scoileanna chun Foirmeacha RÁITEAS TINRIMH maid…

2. Workaround for Schools to send STG SOA Forms

3. STG Statement of Attendance Form

3. Foirm Ráiteas Tinrimh le haghaidh DEONTAS IOMPAIR SPEISIALTA

Minister McHugh announces opening of Calculated Grades Data Collection App for Schools

Minister McHugh announces opening of Calculated Grades Data Collection App for Schools

 

The Department of Education and Skills has today, Monday 8 June 2020, confirmed an online application system has gone live for schools to upload data for Leaving Certificate Calculated Grades.

 

The data collection application has been created for schools to enter the relevant data on Leaving Certificate students’ estimated percentage marks and class rankings.

 

The online system went live today at midday and will remain open until close of business on Friday 19 June 2020.

 

Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh TD said: “The opening of the online system for schools to upload data for Leaving Certificate Calculated Grades is another important stage in the process.

 

“I want to acknowledge the work of teachers, principals and school staff who are collaborating at this time to ensure that students’ estimated marks and class rankings are compiled and uploaded to the system before the deadline of Friday 19 June.

 

“I also want to take this opportunity to thank the students once again for registering with the system.”

 

Schools have been provided with a detailed guidance document Calculated Grades Data Collection Guide for Data Entry Users and Approvers on use of this system.

 

Schools have also been provided with a matrix document showing students and their subjects and levels.

 

A dedicated helpline and email address are available to support schools during the process.

 

Over 60,150 Leaving Certificate and Leaving Certificate Applied students have registered on the Calculated Grades Student Portal since it opened.

 

In addition, more than 3,000 Leaving Certificate Applied students who are in year one of their two-year programme have also registered, as they will be eligible to receive Calculated Grades in certain modules.

 

Students will be contacted over the summer when they will be given the opportunity to opt-in to receive Calculated Grades.

 

For more information, visit gov.ie/leavingcertificate

 

 

Ends

Summer Programme Provision

There has been engagement with the Department of Education and Skills in relation to possible summer programme provision for disadvantaged students . A webinar/  information session will be arranged in the coming days so that schools who may wish to participate in such programmes can obtain further information. Details of the webinar will issue in due course.

International Protection Applicants in Accommodation Centres

For schools who have had difficulty making contact with pupils residing in accommodation centre for international protection applicants (direct provision) centres

 

The Department of Education and Skills has been engaging with the Department of Justice and Equality and Tusla Education Support service to ensure that school pupils residing in accommodation centres are supported during this period of school closures. Where schools have an education related query in relation to assisting in making contact with a specific pupil residing in an accommodation centre the following email address can be used:    ipasinbox@justice.ie

 

In the subject bar please type ‘Education’.  

In the body of the text please indicate that you have an education related query regarding a child of school going age who is residing in a named accommodation centre for international protection applicants. There is no need to include details of the parent or child at that point. The only details required are the location of the centre and your name and phone number as the person raising the query so that you can be contacted to follow up on your query.

 

25, May, 2020 – Minister McHugh announces online registration for Leaving Certificate Calculated Grades opens on Tuesday 26 May

All Leaving Certificate and Leaving Certificate Applied students should register now on gov.ie/leavingcertificate

The Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh TD today (Monday 25 May 2020) announced that the new online Calculated Grades Student Portal will open for registration to Leaving Certificate and Leaving Certificate Applied students tomorrow Tuesday 26 May.

All Leaving Certificate and Leaving Certificate Applied students are required to register on gov.ie/leavingcertificate between 10am Tuesday 26 May and 10pm Thursday 28 May.

All students following the Leaving Certificate Established or Leaving Certificate Vocational Programmes are also required to confirm the level at which they intended to sit each of their subjects. Students will have the option of confirming the level or changing to a lower level.

When registering on gov.ie/leavingcertificate students must have the following information to hand:

  • Their Examination Number
  • Their Personal Public Service number (PPS), which they will use to create a four-digit Personal Identification Number
  • Email address
  • Mobile phone number

Once the Department has received all the necessary data from schools, students will be asked to opt in through the portal to indicate if they wish to receive Calculated Grades.

Minister McHugh said: “Every school has been sent on the information to provide to their students so that they are able to complete the registration on the student portal.

“This is a brand-new system that it has been necessary to introduce because of the decisions we have had to take as we respond to Covid-19 situation. It is vital now that every Leaving Certificate and Leaving Certificate Applied student is aware of the new online registration on gov.ie/leavingcertificate.

“The important message for Leaving Certificate students is that they must now register by Thursday at 10pm to ensure that they can receive their Leaving Certificate Calculated Grades.

“It is also essential that students confirm their levels at this time so that schools can complete the task of providing information for each student about their expected level of performance in each subject.”

Schools have been asked to assist their students as much as possible but if anyone has trouble getting access online, there will be helpline support from midday on Tuesday.

Minister McHugh said: “Please don’t leave it until the last minute. This is a tight timeframe. We need every student to register so that the new system can operate smoothly.

“Every school has been sent information on the gov.ie/leavingcertificate portal and how to register, and will be asked to circulate this to students and to parents and guardians.”

ENDS 

Notes to Editors

The Leaving Certificate Calculated Grades system has been established as a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Students will be offered the option of receiving a Certificate of Calculated Grades which they can use to progress to further or higher education or to work.

A guide to Calculated Grades and further information on this process is available at gov.ie/leavingcertificate.

Some 61,000 students are expected to register on the portal;

  • 58,000 students following the Leaving Certificate (established) or Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme
  • 3,000 Leaving Certificate Applied Students.

21 May, 2020 – Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh TD announces publication of guidance for schools on Calculated Grades

Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh TD has today (21 May 2020) announced the publication of detailed guidance on the new system of Calculated Grades for this year’s Leaving Certificate.

The document is being sent to all post-primary schools today, to provide teachers and principals with information on the process of estimating marks for students to receive Calculated Grades.

The guide has been produced in consultation with education partners following the decision to postpone Leaving Certificate 2020 examinations, taken as a protective measure as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Minister McHugh said: “The guide is the result of intensive work and engagement by the Department, teachers and school management in recent days.

“It is designed to give teachers and principals clear and precise guidance on how to provide the Department with an estimated mark and a class ranking for each Leaving Certificate student.

“At all times we have put fairness and the interests of the students at the heart of our decision making. The guidance is very clear and strict on the issue of canvassing of teachers and principals. Canvassing would be unfair to students and to staff in a school, and it will not be tolerated in any circumstances.

“I’d like to thank all of the members of the advisory group of stakeholders who have worked so hard on the whole question of the 2020 state examinations process and have contributed to the development of this guidance.”

The document Guide for Schools on Providing Estimated Percentage Marks and Class Rank Orderings is available at https://assets.gov.ie/74606/745492ee42f64db9aedcd1863f0cd368.pdf

As part of the process of Calculated Grades, Leaving Certificate students will have access to an online portal from early next week where they will be required to confirm the subject level  at which they initially entered for the examinations or to change to a lower level.

The guide provides detailed information on how the Calculated Grades process should be operated in schools.

Among the information outlined in the guidance document is –

:: Advice on the range of information that teachers should use to inform the school’s judgements about estimated marks.

:: Guidance on how teachers can work together to ensure alignment of marks across students and classes in schools.

:: Details about how principals will oversee the process within schools.

:: Rules around canvassing setting out how schools will be required to report instances to the Department.

:: External candidates – the Department will look at these students on a case by case basis and will be flexible. Every effort will be made to provide an estimated mark where there is sufficient credible evidence of the student’s achievement.

:: Indemnity – as teachers and school leaders will be implementing the Calculated Grades process in schools on behalf of the Minister, arrangements have been put in place to extend a State indemnity to them and to the boards of management of their schools.

Further supports and information for students, teachers and principals in relation to the implementation of the Calculated Grades model are being provided.

The system of Calculated Grades is being offered to all 2020 Leaving Certificate candidates. Students will have the opportunity to appeal their results.

Students can also opt to sit the Leaving Certificate exams when they are held, which will be when public health advice permits.

The timing of the results of the Calculated Grades process will run as close as possible to the usual results system.

 

Ends 

Notes to Editors 

On 8 May the Minister announced that a system of Calculated Grades will be offered to Leaving Certificate students in 2020. Further information on this process can be found in the document Guide to Calculated Grades, available at gov.ie/leavingcertificate

The document published today, Guide for Schools on Providing Estimated Percentage Marks and Class Rank Orderings, can be accessed at

https://assets.gov.ie/74606/745492ee42f64db9aedcd1863f0cd368.pdf

Updated FAQs are also being made available here.

Under the system outlined in the guidance document, teachers will use their professional judgement, taking into account a range of evidence from a student’s past performance, to estimate the percentage mark a student would most likely have received had they sat the Leaving Certificate examination under normal conditions.

The estimated percentage marks and rankings will undergo an in school alignment process, involving colleague teachers of the same subject, to ensure that the standard being applied is consistent and appropriate for the subject. The principal will oversee the process and will also oversee the submission of the school’s estimated marks and class rankings.

The school’s estimated marks and class ranking will undergo a process of national standardisation. This will provide each student with a Calculated Grade. This process is outlined in the Department’s recent document: Guide to Calculated Grades. 

The Calculated Grades system will be overseen by an Executive Office in the Department of Education and Skills, established by the Minister for that purpose.