The Minister for Education Norma Foley TD today (Friday 25 March) announced the establishment of Regional Education and Language Teams (REALT) to support the needs of Ukrainian children arriving in Ireland.
These Education and Language Teams will be hosted by the 16 regional education and training boards (ETBs) and will be staffed by existing regionally-based education support personnel working closely together to ensure good coordination and alignment of supports for Ukrainian children.
The Department will be liaising with the teams to ensure all necessary supports for the Ukrainian children are provided as quickly as possible.
The primary role of the REALT will be to assist children in finding school places and to support schools in the area to meet the needs of these children as they emerge, to advise and support the Department in developing new capacity where required, and to co-ordinate the provision of education services to children and families across their defined area.
These teams will ensure that clear, accessible information flows are in place between schools, local education support services and national support structures in relation to Ukrainian arrivals.
The regional teams will be hosted and administratively supported within the ETBs and will lead a network of other key agencies, including Tusla Education Support Service (TESS), NEPS regional personnel, NCSE regional personnel and Management body local nominees working together with local schools.
All of the key agencies working together in a holistic manner will bring added value and efficiencies to the process of supporting the Ukrainian children.
Minister Foley said:
I am delighted to announce the establishment of Regional Education and Language Teams (REALT) for Ukraine as part of the Department’s emergency response to the situation in Ukraine. This builds on the supports we have already put in place for Ukrainians arriving into Ireland.
We are committed to providing every support possible to all those fleeing war in Ukraine and seeking protection in Ireland. These teams will provide critical support in aligning current school capacity with the placement of Ukrainian families, as much as possible.
The work of the REALT will initially focus on ensuring that children find school places when they are ready to engage with the school system. I want to thank all of the ETBs, Department agencies and national stakeholders who have pulled together to get this service in place. I am sure it will be of enormous benefit to those arriving from Ukraine.”
The REALT will support existing services and co-ordinate the following work areas:
- Align current school capacity with the placement of Ukrainian families, as much as possible.
- Identify additional capacity within their geographic areas to prepare for situations where demand may exceed available school capacity, and work with the Department and other organisations as necessary with a view to making this additional capacity available.
- Assist schools and families with accessing information on school places for Ukrainian children and young people who have moved into the area.
- Assist schools and families with accessing resources and supports for additional capacity, wellbeing, language and educational needs.
- Assist with work in the area of staff supply, including where required, English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) tutors who would assist with the English language needs of Ukrainian children, young people and their parents / guardians.
- Liaison with other local co-ordinating structures that may be established to coordinate the delivery of public services for Ukrainian families.
Information for parents in Ukrainian and Russian on accessing school places is available on gov.ie/Ukraine.