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Schools 'should make up missed snow days'

21-12-2010

BBC

Children who have missed out on school because of icy weather should be able to make up the days at a different time of year.

The chairman of the Education Committee, Mervyn Storey, said students, particularly those in exam classes, are losing out.

Mr Storey said if time can be clawed back by shortening holidays later in the year then this should be looked at.

Hundreds of schools across Northern Ireland had to close on Tuesday.

Mr Storey made the comments after it emerged schools in the Irish Republic may open early after Christmas.

The Irish Department of Education has contacted school management bodies in relation to the options for making up for lost time.

Mr Storey said he does not believe shortening the Christmas break is a good idea but days could be made up later in the school calendar.

He added: "The difficulty we are going to have is that if this weather is prolonged then we could have the same problems come January.

"I don't think this is the right time of year. It could be looked at later in the year.

"What needs to be of paramount importance is, if a school believes too many days have been lost, then if additional time can be gained elsewhere then that needs to be seriously considered."

A spokesman for the Department of Education in Northern Ireland said it has not considered shortening holidays but it is possible.

He added: "Schools should only close for exceptional reasons and where these occur regularly it may be possible to shorten or cancel other optional holidays."

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