UNISON Northern Ireland

An update for education members on schools remaining open over the Easter holidays

The Education Authority has released some Frequently Asked Questions to assist Education staff in their queries about schools remaining open over the Easter Holidays. 

Who should schools engage to provide cover over the Easter holidays where a school is remaining open?

Where requests for additional staff are received, the sequential approach the EA will take to identifying available workforce to support these schools will be as follows:

i.               Teaching and non-teaching staff from individual schools.

ii.              Wider community of teaching and non-teaching staff from other schools to assist in clusters/hubs.

iii.            EA Staff to be redeployed with a focus on:

- Classroom Assistants
- Behavioural Support staff from EOTAs Centres
- Officers with teaching qualifications (mainly Edu/CYPS)
- Cleaning/Catering/Caretaking staff – Ops and Estates
- Other appropriately vetted/checked staff

iv.            NI Substitute Teacher Register

v.              List of additional Volunteers being compiled by DE.  This list will only be used in the event that the other options above have been exhausted.


What will teaching and support staff be paid if they work to provide support in a school over the Easter holidays?


Teachers who provide cover over the Easter holidays will be paid for additional hours worked in line with their terms and conditions of employment e.g. if a teacher is contracted to work 2 days per week and they work an additional day, they will be paid for the additional day. 

If a teacher was due to be off during the Easter Holiday period and they work, they will be paid for the hours that they work during the Easter holiday period.


In line with NJC terms and conditions of employment, support staff who are required to work on the statutory holidays will receive an enhanced payment for these days, namely double time and a day in lieu.  Staff who work any other days over the Easter holidays will receive normal pay for hours worked (single time).  This includes staff who are on arrangements such as term-time.  Where staff had annual leave booked for the Easter period and this has been cancelled due to a requirement to provide support, they will be permitted to take these days at a later stage. 

Staff who are redeployed to another school hub will be eligible to claim excess mileage, in line with the agreed mileage circular JNC No 187.


I have registered an interest on the volunteer list following the appeal for volunteers from the Minister of Education on 27 March 2020.  Do I need to register an interest with the EA following Michele Corkey’s letter of 07 April 2020?

The list of volunteers is administered by DE.  In accordance with the agreed sequential approach to identifying available workforce, the DE volunteer list will only be used in the event that all other steps have been exhausted.  The list being compiled following Michele Corkey’s letter of 07 April is held by the EA School Development Service.  This list will be used in the first instance to provide required additional staffing to schools and hubs.  Staff who are available and willing to be redeployed to help provide support over the Easter holiday period and beyond should complete the form to register an interest by clicking on this link https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=-yeCOETeDkaBkAVAK4mNqN5d_9N4BoVBq1iaUR9JMrFUM1NDN1FWOE5EOVZINlhJQ09LMThMTktKQy4u