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Pre-school, nursery and primary schools pupils in P1 to P3 will now remain in school until the start of the Easter break. The announcement was made today by Education Minister Peter Weir and it overturned an earlier decision to break for two weeks.

The decision, which was agreed by the Executive today, means that the youngest pupils will continue with face-to-face teaching for the remainder of this term.

Photo by Rob Gonyea from FreeImages

Decisions on the timing for the return of other primary and post-primary pupils will be considered next Tuesday as part of an overall review of the current restrictions.

Students in years 12 to 14, who will be awarded qualification results this summer, will return to full time face-to face teaching with effect from 22 March 2021.

Education Minister Peter Weir said: “I welcome the decision by the Executive today to allow the youngest pupils to continue with face-to-face teaching until the start of the Easter holidays.   

“I know that many schools, parents and other pupils want clarity on when more year groups will be returning.  I will continue to make the case for all pupils to return as soon as practicably possible and in line with public health advice and scientific evidence.

“It is clear that long periods away from the classroom has a significant impact on the mental health and well-being of our children and young people.  Remote learning, no matter how well provided and delivered, is no replacement for face-to-face learning and educational experience.  I am particularly conscious of the disproportionate impact that this has on disadvantaged groups and vulnerable children.”

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