24 May 2022

Freezing classrooms more suited to penguins than pupils - Offaly TD

Freezing classrooms more suited to penguins than pupils - Offaly TD

Freezing classrooms more suited to penguins than pupils - Offaly TD

Independent TD for Laois-Offaly Carol Nolan has called on the Government to address the freezing cold conditions in classrooms across the country with windows being left open for ventilation due to Covid-19 fears.

Deputy Nolan, who is also a member of the Oireachtas Committee on Education and Further and Higher Education, was speaking during Leaders Questions in the Dáil this week, and challenged the Tánaiste on the urgent need to address ongoing issues around the inappropriately cold temperatures in primary and post-primary schools.

“What I am hearing from parents and indeed from schools is that the current situation regarding the freezing cold conditions in which staff, very young children and Leaving Certificate students are expected to learn is simply intolerable," she said.

"Indeed, as I put it to the Tánaiste, parents are telling me that their children are returning home with headaches or muscle pain from constant clenching of their teeth and from shivering.

"This is a totally ludicrous and absurd situation.

"It borders on negligence to expect pupils as young as 5 years of age to begin their formative years of education in conditions more suited to a penguin than to a child.

"I accept that there is a balance to be met and the need for ventilation is clear with respect to Covid prevention measures, but it is obvious that the guidelines issued by the department last May are in urgent need of revision."

Deputy Nolan also called on Tánaiste Leo Varadkar to ensure that Government and the Department of Education provide absolute clarity on the format of this year’s Leaving Certificate examinations.

She said: "The cold classrooms are also making it very difficult for students to concentrate and that is having a direct impact on the preparedness for the Junior and Leaving Certificate.

"This is why we must allow for a more flexible, hybrid-model of examinations where accredited grades, ongoing assessments and traditional written exams all have a role to play.

"The Tánaiste assured me that the State Exams Advisory Group which is meeting today will be addressing the issues I have raised.

"I can only hope that they will listen to common sense and support the wishes of parents and students alike for the hybrid-model of exams for 2022,” concluded Deputy Nolan.

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