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Coronavirus crisis sees more than 2,000 apply to Northern Ireland fund for substitute teachers

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Daniel McCrossan

Daniel McCrossan

Philip Magowan

Daniel McCrossan

More than 2,000 substitute teachers have applied to a government support fund, education officials have revealed.

The group was left in limbo when the lockdown hit - unable to work and also unable to access the furlough scheme, leaving them without an income.

Earlier this month the Executive launched a £12m support fund. Derek Baker, Permanent Secretary at the Department of Education, told the education committee that 2,125 substitute teachers applied for the money.

The deadline for the scheme was Tuesday and the teachers will be paid in the June payroll.

Meanwhile, SDLP education spokesman Daniel McCrossan called for clarity for pupils, parents and teachers on the arrangements for the safe opening of schools when lockdown restrictions can be eased.

The West Tyrone MLA said that people need certainty about how normally large classes will operate, when children will return, how school transport will be arranged and other issues.

"But they are being left in the dark with no information about when or how school reopening will be managed. This is not something we can just spring on people at the end of August, they need time to prepare and everyone should have the opportunity to engage in the design of a new process," he said.

Belfast Telegraph