Northern Ireland Re-opening School Guidance - New School Day

Date published: 19 June 2020

This guidance has been developed for education settings to support a safe, phased reopening of schools in line with the Northern Ireland Executive’s “Coronavirus Executive Approach to Decision-Making” published on 12 May 2020.


The guidance is written with a view to providing a planning framework for the restart of schools in August/September and should be seen in that context. Public health advice at the time of school opening will always prevail over the aspirational planning assumptions made within this guidance. 

The guidance, part of an overall Restart Programme, has been co designed by the Department of Education, school leaders and key partners and has been supported through consultation with Managing Authorities, trade unions and sectoral support bodies. It has been informed by judgements based on the scientific and public health advice available at the time of writing and should be read and applied in conjunction with the latest public health guidance. Given the changing scientific and public health environment, this guidance will change in line with the latest advice and as such should be treated as ‘agile’ guidance.

Where this guidance states that managing authorities and schools:
• “should” do something, there is a clear expectation, that it should be done; and

• “may” or “may wish” to do something, the relevant sections have been included as examples of relevant practice that can be considered if appropriate. Local variations are likely.

Further Guidance

While the broad principles will be similar across all settings, it is recognised that Youth, Early years and Special Education Needs sectors will require separate guidance and this is being developed. Likewise, further operational guidance on both catering and school transport provision is being developed and will be added at a later date.

Summary of Key Scientific and Public Health Advice

To promote transparency with regard to the scientific, public health and wider policy judgements that have informed the approach set out in this guidance, a summary of key scientific and public health advice has been published.

Northern Ireland Re-opening School Guidance -Additional Guidance on Planning for the Foundation Stage within Primary Schools


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