Stormont Executive agrees timetable for full school return in NI

Stormont ministers have agreed a timetable for all school children to return to classes in Northern Ireland.

By David Young and Rebecca Black, PA
Tuesday, 16th March 2021, 10:57 am
Updated Tuesday, 16th March 2021, 11:00 am

Primary pupils in years P1 to P3 are already back in classes and secondary school children in year groups 12 to 14 are due back on Monday March 22.

The PA news agency understands that ministers have now agreed that remaining primary pupils in P4 to P7 will also return on March 22.

The final cohort – secondary pupils in years 8 to 11 – will go back to classes on April 12 after the Easter holidays.

Education Minister, Peter Weir.

The proposals from Education Minister Peter Weir were agreed by Executive colleagues at a meeting on Tuesday morning.

The meeting will also see the wider lockdown restrictions reviewed.

Some relaxations are anticipated, with some outdoor sporting activities set to be given resumption dates.

First Minister Arlene Foster and deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill will go to the Assembly later on Tuesday to outline the decisions.

Northern Ireland has been living under restrictive lockdown measures since a spike of coronavirus cases in December.

The Executive published its Pathway Out Of Restrictions blueprint earlier this month.

It includes five steps along nine pathways – retail; hospitality; education and young people; work; culture, heritage and entertainment; sports and leisure; travel and tourism; worship and ceremonies; and home and community.

The five stages of restriction begin with lockdown then extend to cautious first steps, gradual easing, further easing, and preparing for the future.

The plan did not initially include any dates.

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