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More must be done to support teachers, parents and pupils with remote learning, says Lyttle

More must be done to support teachers, parents and pupils in remote learning, Alliance Education spokesperson Chris Lyttle MLA has said, after it was announced most pupils would not return to schools until March 8 at the earliest.

First Minister Arlene Foster made the announcement after a recommendation from Education Minister Peter Weir. Special schools will remain open to all pupils but only vulnerable children and children of key workers will be able to attend mainstream schools.

“The disruption for pupils, parents and teachers throughout this situation has been unlike anything any of us have ever faced,” said Mr Lyttle, Chair of the Assembly Education Committee.

“The aim must be the same as it has always been – to return all children to school as safely and as quickly as possible. To do that, everyone in the community needs to work together to drive the community transmission and hospital admission rates down, while seeing an efficient roll-out of the vaccine.

“There must also be a proper plan in place for the eventual return to schools, so pupils, parents and teachers have a target to work towards and time to prepare for the transition from remote learning to school-based learning. In addition, the correct safety measures are needed for schools for when that return takes place.

“In the meantime, with an extended period of home learning now confirmed, we need to be doing more to support people with their digital experience, to ensure no child or young person misses out from what is already a far from a normal situation.”