Special school leaders fear staff shortage during Covid-19

Special school leaders fear they won’t have enough workers to stay open through Covid-19 if staff go off sick.

Last week a Belfast SEN school closed less than a fortnight into the phased return of pupils – because they didn’t have enough staff after two tested positive for coronavirus.

Paula Jordan, Principal of Sperrinview Special School in Dungannon, said staff are especially vulnerable because they can’t keep a distance from their students – many of whom need intimate care.

Ms Jordan, who is who is also the chair of the Special Schools Strategic Leadership Group, added: “Our vulnerability comes from the fact that social distancing is not possible in most of our schools.

“Most schools are concerned about the limited numbers of bank staff available to us.

“Schools have their own substitute staff, both teaching and non-teaching, who are familiar with how the school operates.

“However, if large numbers of

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