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Ulster Teachers’ Union


24th Mar 2020


Circumstances are changing very quickly in schools and we will endeavour to keep you up-to-date with information as it comes in. We commend all members for the way in which they have responded to issues so far.

The NITC is in daily contact with the Department of Education and UTU will bring you answers as we have them.

Numbers of children in schools

Early indications from you, the members, and indeed from the Department of Education, suggest that numbers of children presenting in schools so far have been very low.

If you have no children in your school you should close but keep in contact with your Principal.

There are on-going discussions regarding using the system more effectively to accommodate these children and the roles and responsibilities of Principals and teachers within any new structures.

Vulnerable children

Schools are not yet dealing with children in this category and consultation continues as to which children will be included and the nature of services and support to be offered. There is, however, a clear message that safety is paramount and if schools are unable to put in place measures to protect particular children they will be unable to accommodate them.

Free School Meals

Schools will not be providing Free School Meals and schools will not have to accommodate this group of children on that basis. Arrangements are being put in place for direct payments.

Health and Safety

We continue, understandably, to receive concerns from members about health and safety measures as the situation develops. Health and Safety is paramount and schools should be continuing to risk assess as the context changes.

Schools must have access to soap, hot water and, if at all possible, hand sanitiser.

Members who are pregnant, in an at-risk category as defined by the PHA or showing symptoms, or live with someone in one of these categories, should not be in school. Pay will continue as normal. If you are not symptomatic you will be supporting remote learning as established by your school.

Concerns and questions

If you have issues particular to you, email with your details. An Official will contact you as soon as possible.

Jacquie White

General Secretary