Section 4: Operations

School Transport


Schools should continue to follow the operational guidance provided in the Cleaning FAQs section on the EA website.


School Uniform

School uniform policy remains a matter for school Principals, subject to any directions that might be given by the Board of Governors. The Department of Education’s guidance circular 2011/04 , revised June 2018, remains current however, the Department encourages schools to continue to be flexible in enforcing school uniform policies to ensure the comfort and wellbeing of pupils as strict adherence to usual school uniform requirements may not be conducive to pupils’ learning during colder weather and pupil welfare should be paramount in these circumstances.

Curriculum Delivery

Guidance in relation to curriculum planning for primary schools in 2021/22 is available at Curriculum Planning Primary Schools and for post primary schools at Curriculum Planning Post Primary Schools.  This is includes guidance in relation to PE in the curriculum. Schools will note that both indoor and outdoor PE are permitted without COVID related restrictions on the numbers of participants. 


Information relating to Summer 2022 qualifications can be accessed on the CCEA website.

Recording Pupil Attendance

Specific guidance in respect of recording pupil attendance whether at school or at home is set out in DE Circular 2021/16 - Attendance guidance and absence recording by schools.  This Circular is likely to be updated on an on-going basis as circumstances change. Schools will be contacted as and when this happens.

Vulnerable Pupils

The Department has produced Contingency Planning Framework for Vulnerable Children and Young People for use when schools/education settings are directly impacted by COVID restrictions. 

The Department's publication, Putting Care into Education will be useful in supporting our more vulnerable children & young people and understanding the impact of trauma, in particular on those who are currently or have previously been looked after.

Further information is also provided on the EA’s website. This includes the relevant pupil wellbeing information for school staff including the wellbeing hub.

Remote Learning 

The Department’s Circular 2021/01 Guidance on Remote Learning and Circular 2021/25: Further guidance for schools on supporting remote learning to provide educational continuity – December 2021 provides advice and guidance to schools on supporting remote learning.  It outlines a range of key principles which should underpin schools’ remote learning programmes. The Department has also simplified its remote learning guidance into a one-page, quick glance document for schools entitled Effective Practice in Remote Learning

Schools should only employ remote learning in circumstances where a class or group of pupils are required to self-isolate because of COVID, or in the event the school has to close due to COVID.  It should not be used to facilitate any other circumstances for example study for internal exams.

Wraparound Care

All school wraparound care should continue to be provided in line with mitigations in place across other aspects of school life.

Extra-Curricular Activities

Extra-curricular activities should continue in line with mitigations in place across other aspects of school life.  

Music and Singing

Information on the music and singing in schools can be found in the EA’s Music Unlocked  guidance.

Educational Visits

Both day and residential visits by schools are able to take place both within and outside the Common Travel Area. Schools should consult the relevant travel advice from the Executive before booking and travelling to ensure that all relevant requirements for travel are adhered to, including any requirements put in place by authorities in the destination country. Schools are advised to seek advice from their travel provider and/or insurers to ensure that there is adequate financial protection in place for the trip. The Department will not be able to underwrite the costs of any trips, including, but not limited to, additional costs resulting from the impact of COVID.

Schools should consult the EA guidance for educational visits. This includes mitigating measures and details on the appropriate risk assessments that are required for educational visits. Schools should undertake full and thorough risk assessments in relation to all educational visits.

Information on overnight residential visits by youth settings can be found on the EA's Youth Online website.

Pre-School Education Settings

Separate guidance documents for pre-school education settings are no longer required and the previous guidance published on 5 March 2021 has been stood down. Providers registered through Health and Social Care trusts should follow the relevant guidance provided on the Family Support NI website

Pre-school settings, in helping pre-school pupils to settle in to face to face learning, may find the Department of Education guidance on Induction and Transition  helpful.

Childcare Provision

Childcare providers registered through Health and Social Care trusts should follow the relevant guidance provided on the Family Support NI website.  Information on DE COVID support for childcare providers can be found here.

Youth Services

The EA's Youth Page - Youth Online contains further guidance relevant to Youth Services including risk templates and FAQs.


A range of workforce documents are available in relation to supporting staff to return to schools.

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