Belfast Telegraph

School blighted by staff absenteeism to open over Easter

By Lesley Houston

Beleaguered west Belfast school De La Salle College is to stay open over Easter to accommodate some A-level pupils.

The move is aimed at allaying fears that large-scale staff absenteeism could ruin pupils' chances of good grades in this summer's key exams.

School principal Claire White yesterday issued a letter to quell parents' concerns, informing them that additional staff will also be employed at the Edenmore Drive school as a "support mechanism" in light of the recent absences by existing staff.

Co-signed by board of governors' parent trustee Nuala Lynn, the letter said the school is introducing "support mechanisms for the coming days and weeks to address the educational provision in the light of staff absences".

It sets out a list of other initiatives, including small group subject and pastoral mentoring, coursework and revision clinics, extended afterschool study support and evening and weekend opening hours, giving pupils access to ICT equipment.

Pupils will also be offered additional counselling provision, the letter revealed.

Referring to the upcoming holidays, when all other schools across Northern Ireland are expected to shut for up to two weeks, the document promised pupils and parents: "Easter Opening in De La Salle College for revision of particular exam modules."

It did not specify which modules will be subject to the extra opening times. The measures offered by the school, where 25 out of its 70 teachers called in sick on Monday and Tuesday, comes after parents joined a student walkout at the school gates.

There has been an industrial dispute at the school over a number of months, with parents upset at excessive staff absences last November.

Belfast Telegraph


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