Written answers

Thursday, 12 May 2022

Department of Education and Skills

Health and Safety

Photo of Brendan GriffinBrendan Griffin (Kerry, Fine Gael)
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131. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if she has taken steps to help address the weight of school bags for children, particularly for children in the junior cycle years of secondary school; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23718/22]

Photo of Norma FoleyNorma Foley (Kerry, Fianna Fail)
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Under the provisions of the Education Act, 1998 the Board of Management is the body charged with the direct governance of a school.

The Department is aware that positive action has been taken by many schools on the issue of heavy school bags. Actions consist of a range of measures, including the provision of lockers and in the case of second level school the arrangement of the timetable into double class periods, active liaison with parents and the co-ordination of homework by subject teachers.

The use of digital resources by teachers and students in schools is increasing. While conventional textbooks are still widely used, a number of schools have introduced or are considering introducing e-books and other digital resources to enhance students' work in school and at home. Schools can use the book grant scheme to purchase a range of digital resources relevant to the curriculum. It should be also be noted that Scoilnet.ie, the Department funded website, supports Primary and Post-Primary teachers in sharing and finding useful resources for the classroom, including the World Books online encyclopaedia resource, and other valuable online content and resources to assist in teaching and learning.

The decision to use tablet devices, and as a consequence eBooks, is a matter for the Board of Management of each school. Where the introduction of new technology is planned, there should be consultation with members of the school community including parents. The cost and other implications must be fully considered by the Boards of Managements before a decision is made. It is a matter for each individual school to determine which particular measures are most suited to its individual circumstances and to how the school concerned organises teaching and learning.

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