School closures for snow, bad weather and other unexpected reasons could become a thing of the past, the Department of Education has indicated.
The Irish Times reports that remote learning and supports could be provided to children in these circumstances using technology similar to that pioneered during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Under proposed reforms, all teachers and special needs assistants would “work with the department to support the use of technology to the greatest extent possible to maintain teaching and supports to children in unexpected closures (weather etc) on a remote basis”.
The proposed reforms are set out in a new action plan that is linked to the public service pay agreement reached between the Government and trade unions in December.
A number of proposals related to work practice reforms are also set out in the plan published last night.
More efficiency for State exams could see oral and practical elements of the Leaving and Junior Certificates take place outside school time and an increase in the number of teachers acting as correctors, superintendents and examiners.
Professional development for primary and secondary teachers could also be moved outside school hours and online.
The changes could also see primary teachers allowed to move to post-primary schools at the qualified rate in special education settings.
The plan also proposes that educators would co-operate more with curriculum reform in primary and post-primary as well as with reforms in the further education sector.
The public service pay deal will see teachers get a one per cent pay rise in October 2021 and a further one per cent increase in October 2022.
However, one of the conditions of the pay deal is that progress be made on agreed action plans, the department said.
Similar reform plans for the civil service and the child and family agency Tusla have been published, and proposals for other parts of the public service are due shortly.