Northern Ireland news

Children attending schools on the rise as parents' anxieties lessen

The blanket closure is now in its sixth week and the numbers of pupils attending schools has been fluctuating

THE number of children undertaking supervised learning in schools is on the rise - with principals suggesting anxiety levels among parents are lessening.

Schools are closed for normal business, likely for the rest of the academic year, but some remain open for children of key workers and vulnerable pupils.

Summer exams, both vocational and academic, have been cancelled.

The blanket closure is now in its sixth week and the numbers of pupils attending schools has been fluctuating.

The latest figures from the Department of Education show that on Monday, there were 1,219 children being looked after in 477 schools. This is the highest daily total since day one of the education lockdown on March 23, when 1,446 young people attended.

A map from the Education Authority (EA) detailing which schools were open on Monday shows that many had no pupils attending, and there were no schools open to young people in some areas of Co Tyrone and Co Fermanagh.

Last week saw a daily average of 1,056 children in schools across the north - again a high.

Head teachers told The Irish News there were several reasons for the increase, including more people trickling back to work and also less anxiety among parents.

The Department of Education said it was not possible to speculate on the reasons for fluctuations in numbers of children being supported in schools.

"We can say that collaborative arrangements between schools have been working well combined with the key worker placement system in EA which has ensured that those children requiring a place are able to secure it," a spokeswoman said.

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Northern Ireland news