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Unions critical of timing of decision to call a halt

Teaching unions have said they will work with their members to figure out what lies ahead following the announcement that Northern Ireland's schools will close on Monday.

Jacquie White, general secretary of the Ulster Teachers' Union, said the priority must be with pupils' wellbeing and education.

"Now we hope that the minister will consult closely with us in the best way forward because the wealth of academic and expert knowledge, coupled with the experience banked within our profession, is unparalleled," she said.

NASUWT's national official Justin McCamphill stated that it was "regrettable" that the decision was not made earlier.

"Most schools have put a lot of effort into (being prepared for the closures) but if clear guidance had been in place, schools would have been better prepared for what lies ahead," he said.

Elsewhere, the Irish National Teachers' Organisation's northern secretary Gerry Murphy added: "This is a worrying time for all concerned but today's decision will go some way to reducing the additional stress levels principals, teachers, parents, children and young people have been enduring over the last week."

Belfast Telegraph