Friday, 31 December 2010

Advice issued to schools

Advice has been issued to schools following the recent extreme weather conditions to ensure as many as possible can reopen after the holiday break.

Education Minister Caitríona Ruane said: "We currently have schools right across the north affected as a result of the severe weather and ongoing thaw. The problems identified include lack of mains water supply, burst pipes, broken boilers and damaged ceilings. I would thank all principals and education sector staff who have been checking schools to assess if any damage has been caused. Problems may, however, continue to emerge in coming days and inspections of all schools should continue. I would pay particular tribute to the maintenance staff in all areas who worked over the holiday period to safeguard school premises. 

"My officials have been in contact with the schools managing authorities to ensure all affected schools are operational as soon as possible.

"As we are expecting colder weather to return it is important that schools take adequate precautions to protect their buildings from further damage." 

The Department of Education will be advised by NI Water on Sunday 2 January of areas where interruptions to mains water supply may impact on schools. On the morning of Monday 3 January Education and Library Boards will advise the Department of schools which will be prevented from reopening as planned. 

The Education and Library Boards will communicate directly with the vast majority of schools. However, schools in the voluntary grammar and grant maintained integrated sectors who have a direct link with the Department in relation to capital and maintenance issues are asked to contact the Department on Monday morning between 9 am and 12 noon on 028 9127 9480, 028 9127 9481, 028 9127 9473 to advise on the latest position affecting their school. 

Notes for editors:

1. All media queries should be directed to DE Press Office on 028 9127 9701. Out of hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07699 715440 and your call will be returned.

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