Youth conference hears that creative thinking is increasingly vital for young people and wider society. File photograph: Getty

Government programme aimed at inspiring ‘brilliant young actors, musicians and artists’

The number of Covid-19 outbreaks in schools rose to 61 during the May 2nd-May 8th period, up from 29 the previous week. Photograph: Alan Betson

1.7% of close contacts in schools test positive, latest weekly HSE figures show

Schools are more important than neighbourhoods in influencing adolescent behaviour, according to new ERSI research. Photograph: iStock

Youths attending disadvantaged schools had higher levels of truancy, antisocial behaviour

Unless schools can make up for the disruption, the ESRI study says learning loss during the closures are expected to “ripple through students’ educational trajectories and into their later life”.

Some 70% of secondary schools reported less pupil involvement during Covid-19 closures

Children with disabilities are up to three times more likely to be bullied and up six times more likely to experience violence than their peers, according to research. Photograph: iStock

Many children with additional needs targeted because they are ‘different’

Students from Greystones Community National School, outside the newly-built school which has been lying idle for a year, pictured with Michelle Boehm, chair of the  school’s parent-teacher partnership. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Talks to resolve row over fire safety issues between department and WBS fail to reach agreement

All students in special schools, special classes and those with complex needs in mainstream schools will be eligible to participate in the summer programme. Photograph: iStock

Ministers announce €40m supports for pupils with special needs or at risk of disadvantage

Government sources say they hope the addition of about 4,000 extra third-level places this year will absorb pressure. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Mature students, overseas applications push third-level applications to new high

Many Leaving Cert students  are “terrified” about testing positive for Covid-19 or being designated a close contact and jeopardising their chances of sitting the written exams. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Candidates and families urged to avoid situations which could expose them to risk

Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris: ‘This is a monumental day for higher education.’ File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Institutions fear emphasis on ‘control’ in significant shake-up of third-level governance

Socially distanced exam arrangements in Dublin’s Gonzaga College during Leaving Cert exams last November. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

Socially distanced written exams mean thousands of supervisors must be recruited

JK Rowling dominated the leaderboard of most popular books at primary level. Photograph: Graeme Robertson/ Getty

Marked uplift in reading enjoyment levels during pandemic

Lar (6) from Bennekerry, Co Carlow, holding a copy of the application document for Waterford Institute of Technology and Institute of Technology Carlow to become a technological university.  Photographer: Shaun Dowling

WIT and IT Carlow submit application to merge and create new institution

Michael and Jan Rynne with  Daniel (12) and Emily (15), who have not returned to school because of their mother’s medical condition.  Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/ The Irish Times

Mother says children cannot attend school due to her medical condition, but are not entitled to remote tuition

The Department of Education. Figures provided  by social services and the department  show that most of 4,500 children who failed to return to school did so for Covid-19 reasons. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Ombudsman voices concern over ‘forgotten families’ without access to education

The Department of Education has confirmed that many primary schools are entitled to take next week off by using “discretionary days” even though a mid-term break is not scheduled. Photograph: iStock

Department of Education says schools entitled to use ‘discretionary days’ for holidays

UCD sociology lecturer Dr Paul Stokes cited a ‘self-entitled’ attitude behind the complaints. File image: Collins

Dr Paul Stokes faces several ‘tribunals of inquiry’ after complaints over his teaching

St Gerard’s School on Thornhill Road, outside Bray, Co Wicklow. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

A number of teaching staff and students at St Gerard’s test positive for Covid-19

Thousands of apprentices have been waiting for up to a year for essential training due to difficulties accessing further and higher education campuses. Photograph: iStock

7,500 trainees such as plumbers and electricians unable to access off-the-job training

Photograph: iStock

‘Puberty is a gift from God’ states Flourish, a new course for children from Irish bishops

Eoin Dolan, principal of St Malachy’s  in Finglas which is due to lose a teacher due to a dip in enrolment. Photograph: Alan Betson

Principals fear losing teachers due to Covid-linked disruption and pupil absences

Tom Felle, head of journalism and communications at NUI Galway, at a flag raising to mark the launch of the Global Migration Media  Academy.

Programme aims to boost media literacy by training students to identify misinformation

 Waterford IT’s governing body is due to meet on Tuesday, while IT Carlow’s is scheduled for Thursday. Photograph: iStock

Move follows rejection from Waterford staff of terms for proposed merger

Leaving Cert students have a final chance to choose their exams and subject levels next week for the receipt of accredited grades. Photograph Nick Bradshaw

Online portal will open from noon on Tuesday until 6pm on Friday, April 30th

A computer-generated image from the Department of Education’s design guide for sanitary facilities in new or refurbished schools.

Department of Education guide says new schools will not have traditional toilet layout

Sixth year students at St Joseph’s CBS  in Nenagh  have been classified as close contacts and asked to self-isolate following a number of positive cases

HSE engaging with two schools where positive cases have been detected

The provision of gender neutral toilets is seen as an inclusive measure. Photograph: iStock

Official design guide says most facilities in future will include self-contained cubicles

It is understood  concerns were raised in recent weeks to the HSE over prescribing patterns and access to appropriate therapeutic interventions concerning some young people in south Kerry.  Photograph: PA Wire

HSE reviews files of 1,500 young people amid fears adult doses of medication prescribed

Adam Harris, chief executive of autism charity AsIAm, said  there appeared to be a ‘hierarchy of rights’ operating in some affluent schools. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Few special classes provided in wealthy parts of south Dublin, Oireachtas committee hears

Jeremiah Cronin (21) with his father Daniel and mother Margaret Cronin. Ms Cronin said she was shocked to learn that her son’s records were being used by the Department of Health without her consent.

Margaret Cronin says she has been fighting for her son Jeremiah’s rights for 21 years

Students and parents at Clonturk Community College  protest last week over students not being allowed sit the Leaving Cert Applied. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Clonturk Community College says it has secured resources to deliver the programme

The 68-page senior-cycle reform report acknowledges that the emphasis on final exams is seen by many as causing a ‘negative backwash’ in teaching and learning. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Senior-cycle reform includes access to apprenticeships, voluntary work and life skills

Apprentice mechanic Samantha Kao at  Bus Éireann’s Broadstone depot in Dublin. “We really all do learn differently. You get a chance to put into practice what you’re learning all the time.” Photograph: Naoise Culhan

‘ I can’t recommend the earn-and-learn route enough. We all learn differently’

The range of apprenticeships is set to broaden to include dozens of new roles. Photograph: iStock

Five-year strategy aims to boost ‘earn and learn’ options in green skills, software, finance

The findings are contained in a preliminary survey of more than 700 secondary teachers who were involved in last year’s calculated grades process, which required teachers to assess their own pupils for State certification for the first time. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/Irish Times

Vast majority of teachers felt they were fair to students in estimating marks, study says

Minister for Education Norma Foley has invited applications from both primary and secondary schools. Photograph Nick Bradshaw for The Irish Times

Successful applicants will receive up to €15,000 to bring ideas to fruition

Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris has announced a €9m fund to boost the research capacity of technological universities and institutes of technology in the area of science and technology. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Government is investing in programme that also covers institutes of technology

It is critical that we seize the opportunity to overhaul the Leaving Cert, says Minister for Education Norma Foley. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Overemphasis on Leaving Cert written exam is bringing stress and challenges for students

The Government has said it will provide an additional 2,000 third-level college places in high-demand courses this year.  Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Government has pledged to expand college numbers in bid to ease CAO pressure

Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris is working on a plan  to ensure the cost of mandatory hotel quarantine for students returning to Ireland from Erasmus can be covered for students. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

€1 million plans will apply to those studying in European programme in Austria, Belgium, France and Italy

Principal Fiona Lennon welcomes fourth-year students back to St Mary’s Academy CBS in Carlow as the last cohort of students returned to schools in Ireland. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

One million students and staff return to classrooms as schools fully reopen

State Examinations Commission figures show 87 per cent of this year’s 60,000 candidates have chosen a combination of both written exams and accredited grades. File photograph:  Nick Bradshaw

Total of 81% intend to sit English with Irish the least popular at 58%

Erika Gallagher (17), a student at Newpark Comprehensive School in Dublin: ‘I think we’ll all have a newfound appreciation of being back at school.’ Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Schools reopen fully to one million students and staff for first time since Christmas

Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris said the move represents the ‘opening of a conversation’  with students and staff of our higher education institutions. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Colleges required to record and report cases annually under new safety initiative

Black and white photographs of prisoners of the Khmer Rouge regime in the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, located  where the S-21 prison once was. Photograph: Omar Havana/Getty

Media outlet removes article where smiles were added to the faces of some victims

Prof Linda Doyle

Simon Harris congratulates new Provost – ‘a glass ceiling has been shattered’

The all-female shortlist for Trinity College Dublin’s next provost includes Prof Linda Doyle, dean of research; Prof Linda Hogan, a theologian and former vice-provost; and Prof Jane Ohlmeyer, a high-profile historian. Photograph: iStock

Online election among 800-plus staff due to take place on Saturday morning

Staff in special schools in Wexford, Dublin and Galway have been vaccinated despite a Government decision to remove teachers from the priority vaccination list in favour of an age-based approach. File photograph: Alan Betson

HSE apologises for errors resulting in school staff being categorised as frontline health workers

The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation’s (INTO) annual congress took place online this year, broadcast from a studio in Naas, Co Kildare. Photograph: Moya Nolan

INTO congress: Some school patrons believe gay teachers are ‘intrinsically disordered’

Mr Martin said the target is for 80 per cent of adults to have their first vaccine dose by the end of June. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

All three unions back motion to hold ballots on industrial action as Foley defends changes

Covid-19 vaccination at the HSE Vaccination Centre in the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Alan Betson

HSE apologises for error, says it believed staff fitted into category of frontline worker

 Grafton Street: The easings under consideration  would relieve pressure on the contact tracing system, allowing more resources to be focused on high-risk cases. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Nphet likely to consider lifting mask requirement as extra ‘vaccine bonus’

Mary Magner, president of the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation speaking to delegates at the union’s virtual congress 2021 which is taking place in a studio in Naas, Co Kildare. Photograph: Moya Nolan

INTO annual congress backs calls for major investment in primary schools

Union leaders have variously said the policy change is a “bombshell”. Photograph: David Sleator

Analysis: Change to vaccination policy could hardly have come at a worse time

Minister for Education Norma Foley speaking to the media at the INTO’s virtual annual congress which was broadcast from the Killashee Hotel, Co Kildare. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Norma Foley says decision is not ‘value judgment’ of profession, is based on science

A queue at the HSE vaccination centre in the Aviva Stadium at the weekend. Photograph: Alan Betson

Anger over ‘downgrading’ of profession as rollout shifts to age-based model

Extra supports will be needed next year to assist vulnerable students, survey finds

Some sources say any potential industrial action might be deferred until the new academic year, which begins in late August. File photograph: The Irish Times

Move will not affect the planned reopening of schools on April 12th, according to unions

Under the new system, students in special schools or classes are automatically exempt. Photograph: Getty

New system permits opt-outs in ‘exceptional circumstances’ only

At present, links between further education and third level are ad hoc and vary from college to college and course to course.

Many college ‘dropouts’ might flourish in further education sector

The lowest completion rates were among higher certificate or ordinary degree courses in areas such as computing and engineering at institutes of technology. Photograph: iStock

Males with low Leaving Cert points at high risk of not completing college courses

 Minister for Education Norma Foley. File photograph: Dara MacDónaill

Foley says schools remain safe and transmission levels in schools remain very low

Students at Maryfield College, Drumcondra, Jodie Sherlock, Elene Bujiashvili and Sobhie Ruddell. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Group of transition-year students are shocked at the scale of the problem

‘This is the most serious threat Trinity has faced to its autonomy in many decades because it strikes at the heart of who we are and everything we want to achieve as a university.’ Photograph: iStock

Trinity seeks private legislation to exclude it from some proposed Government changes

Trinity College says  the planned changes threaten to undermine its autonomy, damage its academic standing and end its tradition of “collegiate governance” which has served the college well for over 400 years. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Planned changes threaten 400-year tradition of independence, college warns

Leaving Cert students will be required to wear face masks during oral exams following a last-minute reversal of official guidance. Photograph: The Irish Times

State Examinations Commission reverses guidance to students and teachers

Leaving Cert students will have fewer questions to answer and greater choice in their written exams this year. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Time pressure on students will be relieved under changes to 2021 written papers

 Primary school pupils  return to Holy Cross School in Dundrum, Dublin, earlier this month. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Latest public health data indicates Covid-19 transmission in schools remains low

All schools are expected to reopen fully after Easter despite increase in Covid-19 cases among younger children, Minister for Education Norma Foley says. Photograph: Dara MacDónaill

Foley says schools remain safe and transmission levels in schools remain very low

Andreas Schleicher, head of education for the OECD, says Ireland’s education system is based on a 20th century model of learning. Photograph: Marco Illuminati

OECD’s Andreas Schleicher says education system must avoid producing ‘second-class robots’

Andreas Schleicher, the OECD’s director for education: Ireland’s education system ‘is quite industrial in its outlook and its design. Students get taught one curriculum.’ Photograph: Marco Illuminati/OECD

OECD’s Andreas Schleicher says Ireland needs to modernise its ‘20th-century’ system

Leaving Cert students will not be permitted to wear face masks during oral exams which take place shortly, according to guidance being issued to secondary schools. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Perspex screens to be used between candidates and teachers during oral exams

The  ASTI says it has received euro280,000 from rival TUI in compensation as a settlement to a dispute over “poaching” of members. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Tensions mount over ‘one of the most wretched events in Irish trade union history’

Government  programme  aims to alleviate congestion at school gates and increase the number of students who walk or cycle to school.  Photograph: iStock

More than 100 schools to get new footpaths, cycle lanes and entrances through new fund

Minister for Education Norma Foley said the  school community has been positive about the reopening of schools.  File photograph: Julien Behal Photography

Signs ‘positive’ for full return on April 12th as transmission rates low in schools – Minister

Public services will be given targets to take on apprentices as part of new strategy to boost the number of school leavers choosing alternatives to third level under plans being developed by Minister for Further and  Higher Education Simon Harris. Photograph: Crispin Rodwell

Plan to increase apprenticeship registrations from 6,500 to 10,000 a year by 2025

Department of Education inspectors have found that 98% of schools are complying with Covid-19 safety rules. File photograph: Patricia De Melo Moreira/AFP via Getty Images

Concern as some schools press ahead with mock exams without public health advice

Dr Jessie Rogers: ‘I hope there is something about being a woman and married with children that I can bring to the role’

Dr Jessie Rogers is also the first lay person to take on the role at St Patrick’s College

Students opting for both the exams and accredited grade options this year will automatically receive the better grade in each of their subjects. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Vast majority of students have formally applied for exams, accredited grades or both

 The HSE’s weekly Covid-19 mass testing report for schools  shows positive cases were detected in 108 schools.   Photograph: David Sleator

Positivity rate among staff and students climbs from 1.1 per cent to 2.4 per cent

A Canadian company linked to coding errors which led to some  Leaving Cert students receiving incorrect grades has defended its work. Photograph Nick Bradshaw

‘In any scientific process, a correct result is produced through trial and error,’ says Polymetrika chief

Conor O’Reilly, principal of Scoil Áine Naofa in   Lucan, Dublin, measuring  the distance between tables as he gets the school ready to reopen. Photograph: Laura Hutton

300,000 pupils return to school on Monday as phased reopening continues

An outbreak is defined as two or more cases occurring. Photograph: Getty Images

No new outbreaks of the disease reported in schools during the first week of March

The online  portal opens on Wednesday, allowing students to formally register for exams and/or accredited grades. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Students will have chance to choose exams, accredited grades or both

 Girls arrive to  school in Herat, Afghanistan. There is a global drive to raise at least $5 billion (euro4.2 billion) to transform education for up to one billion children in 90 countries and territories. Photograph:Jalil Rezayee/EPA

Global drive to boost access to school for up to one billion children in 90 poorer countries

Minister for Education Simon Harris: “In the post-pandemic Ireland, we will need a new international strategy to help us grow our education, science and research sectors.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Plan for third level forms part of three-year strategy being published by Minister

John Scottus  primary school in Rathmichael, Co Dublin, which has emphasis on outdoor play and learning. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Smaller classes and ‘wrap-around’ childcare comes at a cost: about €3,000-€11,000 a year

Class sizes in the private primary sector are typically much smaller than in public national schools where there is an average of 25 pupils for each teacher. Photograph: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

Private primaries receive no State funding, charge fees of up to €11,000 a year

  Trinity College Dublin has expressed alarm over Government plans to reform university governance. Photograph:  Dara Mac Donaill

University says regulators will have ‘dawn raid’ powers under new legislation

The Leaving Cert candidate self service portal will open from March 10th-16th to allow students to make their choices and select their subject levels. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Candidates to be placed in pods with 10 students per classroom for written exams

The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation has called for compulsory masks for  third to sixth class pupils. Photograph: Andy Buchanan / AFP

Children should not be discouraged from wearing masks if they wish to do so

A street party in Limerick city which, locals say, was attended by hundreds of students.

Many house parties taking place in private rented sector beyond college walls

For decades there has been talk of reforming the Leaving Cert and boosting the chances of students from disadvantaged schools. Photograph Nick Bradshaw

Sighs of relief in Government as calculated grades system survives legal challenge

Minister for Education Norma Foley said  there is a burden of responsibility being placed on all of society to ensure schools can fully reopen. Photograph: Julien Behal

Foley says there is ‘burden on all society’ to ensure schools fully reopen next month

Prof Sarah Alyn-Stacey claims she was unfairly disqualified from running in the election to be Trinity’s next provost following her track-record of criticism of the management of the university.

University says process was fully in accordance with the college statutes

Primary school children Ryan (9) and Shane Kenny (7) with their mother Claire and sister Karina (4) during a homeschooling session in Kilcock, Co Kildare. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

After a year of disruption, there are concerns over long-term impact of school closures

Mothers were more likely to have taken unpaid leave or to have changed to working from home. Photograph: Getty

Pupils spending much longer learning at home this year compared to 2020

The classroom will remain the same as last year with physical distancing rules and pods, along with strict enforcement of handwashing and good hygiene classes and existing rules. Photograph: Alan Betson

Parents urged to avoid congregating outside school and to be extra cautious for Covid symptoms

 ‘In the majority of cases’ Leaving Cert students will be required to answer fewer questions in this year’s exams. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Minister confirms no later date available for students unable to sit exams due to Covid-19

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