The severe weather conditions in Northern Ireland in November and
December 2010 resulted in an unprecedented number of schools
having to close. The resulting queries from schools, parents and
the media highlighted a considerable degree of confusion and
misunderstanding over the legal requirements governing the number
of days that schools must be in operation: the different types of
school closure; the arrangements for reporting closures; and the
arrangements for notifying parents.
As a result, the Department of Education established a Working
Group on School Opening/Closure Arrangements to explore how the
legislative and other arrangements governing school days of operation
and closures might be better explained and communicated to schools,
parents and the wider public.
The Group was chaired by Stanley Poots, MBE, Principal of Dromara
Primary School, and included representatives from the Primary,
Post-Primary, Special and Irish Medium sectors, the Education and
Library Boards (ELBs), the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools
(CCMS), Trade Unions and NI Direct. The Department of Education
and the Education and Training Inspectorate (ETI) attended as
observers. The Department also provided the secretariat to the Group.