Northern Ireland Re-opening School Guidance - Special Schools

Date published: 24 August 2020

This guidance has been developed for special school education settings, to support a safe, phased reopening of special school education settings in line with the Northern Ireland Executive's "Coronavirus Executive Approach to Decision-Making” published on 12 May 2020. It should be read within the context of the overarching guidance "Northern Ireland Re-opening School Guidance - New School Day".


The guidance is additional guidance for special school education settings, to be read alongside the overarching Northern Ireland Re-opening School Guidance - New School Day.

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, special school leaders and key partners. It has been informed by judgments 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 available.

The Department has asked that children at Special Schools should be able to attend school from 24 August 2020 where possible. However, the Department understands that for some Special Schools this pattern may not be possible for a range of reasons, including that children and young people attending them, may have higher levels of anxiety on their return to school following a significant period of time out of the school setting and therefore flexibility is required over the first two weeks of the new school term.

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