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15th Sep 2021

Parents express concerns about children spending less than two hours in school

Kat O'Connor

Children under 6 are only in class for one or two hours.

There’s no doubt that the new school year has been a very different experience for pupils across the country.

Covid measures have altered their usual days in the classroom and it looks like they’re now impacting how long children are spending in school.

Concerns have been raised about the number of hours children under 6 are in school.

According to the Children’s Rights Alliance, some children under 6 are only in class for one or two hours a day.

It is believed this is due to reduced timetables.

Campaigners have called for guidelines on reduced timetables to be introduced immediately.

They believe more and more schools are introducing shortened schools days or weeks.

This can have a detrimental impact on pupils, especially those with additional needs.

Most primary school children start school between 8.30 am and 9.20 am. They usually finish between 1 and 2 pm, but older students, in senior years in primary school, tend to finish at 2 pm to 3 pm.

It is believed numerous parents and guardians have contacted the Alliance’s helpline about the reduced hours.

Parents are concerned because numerous schools have yet to reintroduce full school days.

Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance commented: “Schools need Government guidance to ensure these measures are used for the right reasons. Restricting a child or young person’s schooling to sometimes as little as an hour a day without good reason and for extended timeframes is unacceptable.”

The news comes after tens of thousands of children had to temporarily leave school after being deemed a close contact of someone with Covid.

It is believed NPHET will meet this Thursday to discuss the measures for non-symptomatic children.

According to reports, children with no symptoms may not have to isolate in the future.

Has your child been affected by the reduced school hours issue?