Covid-19: Leading Continuity of Learning



Key Considerations relating to leading Continuity of Learning:

Circular 74/2020: “Requires all schools to have in place a communication and learning platform that supports schools to respond in the event of a partial or full school closure in the future”. A minimum requirement for all schools is to establish a Communications/Learning platform (Circular 74/2020, pg. 1-2).


School leaders should consider the following key principles (Circular 74/2020, pg. 6):

  • A whole school approach to remote learning
  • Managing in-school and remote learning environments and necessary technologies 
  • The development of digital skills of all teachers
  • Develop digital competency skills of pupils
  • Ongoing effective communication with parents and pupils


Key considerations outlined in Circular 74/2020 include the following:

  • School leadership (pg. 7)
  • Teaching and Learning approach (pg. 7)
  • Access to technology (pg. 7)
  • Professional Development Support for school leaders (pg. 8)
  • Poor Broadband/Access to Devices (pg. 8)


The Guidance on Remote Learning in a COVID-19 Context: September – December 2020 (Page 12) explains how we can achieve:

  • Regular daily engagement with pupils
  • A blend of guided and independent learning tasks/experiences
  • Appropriate and engaging learning opportunities and experiences
  • Learning tasks aligned to the needs of the pupil/student
  • Two-way feedback between home and school
  • Support for pupils/students with SEN

Key Updates:


8 January 2021: COVID-19: Update for Parents on the resumption of Home Tuition from Monday 11th January 2021


7 January 2021: Minister Foley confirms that schools will remain closed to students


November 2020: Guidance on Emergency Remote Teaching and Learning in a COVID-19 Context


3 November 2020: (Circular 0074/2020) Arrangements for schools to have in place appropriate contingency measures to ensure that schools are prepared to continue to support teaching and learning in the event of a partial or full closure of schools arising from Public Health advice


8 October 2020: Guidance on Remote Learning in a COVID-19 Context: September – December 2020​


7 August 2020 (Updated 21th August): Update on Reopening Our Schools: The Roadmap for the Full Return to School


27 July 2020: Roadmap for the full return to school​


17 June 2020 (Circular 0041/2020): Arrangements for the Inspection and School Self-Evaluation for the 2020/2021 School Year​



25/3/2020 Letter to principals and teachers regarding continuity of teaching and learning


National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS): A Guide for Parents on supporting children and young people with daily routines while schools are closed

Extract from this Guide around schoolwork:

Key Leadership Considerations around supporting the continuity of learning


  • Consider the benefits of a school wide approach and an individual teacher approach to supporting learning

  • Consider the benefits of teachers supporting each other in learning how to support pupils/students in a new way

  • Consider empowering the various chains of communication within the school (Senior Leadership groups, Subject level, Year groups, Parents etc.

  • Consider the facilitation of this communication between staff in school

  • Consider the benefits of structure for students doing independent learning in a home environment

  • Consider issues of inclusion in the design of tasks and the expectations of pupils - the role of SEN coordinator 

  • Consider the learning benefits of particular approaches – use of the home environment as a way of learning, investigative activities, project work, collaboration with other students in a remote location, connecting with wider family and generations via school activities, journaling, recording, keeping a diary, use of technology to support learning, opportunities to engage with the environment outside in a safe way, use of a unifying theme for a class grouping, a unifying text for a class grouping,  the use of online texts etc

  • Consider the benefits of regular contact with smaller content rather than occasional contact with larger amounts of content

  • With the above in mind consider a coordinated approach to content delivery? Create awareness amongst the teaching staff as to what is being delivered and to whom to avoid saturation of content. This might be in the form of short pre-recorded lessons for each subject or a slightly larger piece of work with a longer timeframe for completion??  Could year heads, for instance, coordinate the dissemination of content to their year group?

  • If using technology consider the importance of directing to a specific online resource rather than to an online platform

  • Consider the mode through which a pupil or student is able to engage with his/her teacher

  • Consider the importance of a structured supportive capacity building around the use of distance learning strategies with staff.


Supporting Parents in developing continuity of learning

  • Consider the importance of including parents in the sharing assignment to impact on student accountability

  • Consider learning outcomes, strands and strand units of the curriculum that are most appropriate for the home learning environment

  • Advocate the development of childrens’ skills and attitudes as well as knowledge 

  • Encourage and suggest learning that can be achieved independently as well as paired learning for siblings for example - older siblings supporting younger siblings, buddy reading etc.

  • Consider how the use of technology can support children's learning

  • Support parents in including children in planning, implementation and review of the schedule in a way that allows flexibility and structure depending on the demands of the day 

  • Ensure that planning includes considerations around relationship-building, food, movement and sleep.

  • Include everyone in the household (adults and children) in the schedule

  • Allow for flexibility to ensure that learning is a positive influence on home rather than a burden on all. 

  • Perhaps consider timing and pace - take things at a slower pace than normal. 


Click on the images and links below to find out more about various platforms and their online features that can be used to lead continuity of learning. 


PDST Distance Learning Page 

Curriculum Online 

Distance learning resources for schools affected by COVID-19


Microsoft 365 Distance Learning resources

A collection of good practise videos showing technology in action

Supports for children with Additional Needs

PDST Blended Learning Resource Page  A collection of online courses relating to Teaching Learning and Assesment and approaches to Online and Digital Technologies A hub of information and tools to help teachers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis Scoilnet supports Primary and Post-Primary teachers in sharing and finding useful resources for the classroom. PDST Health and Wellbeing SPHE, Wellbeing and PE Supports