FET in a Covid-19 World

FET in a Covid-19 World

March 12th 2020 is a day very few of us will forget.  Just like for other life-moments, we will probably all remember where we were when we heard the news that from 6.00 p.m. that day all schools were to close.  While many of us had begun to make preparations for the expected closure, it seemed to happen all of a sudden in the end.  Teachers had already begun to move material online - course material left to cover, assessments left to administer, learning supports to be delivered remotely.  Completed assessments and laptops were put in the back of cars.  In the College Office, contingencies for the payment of invoices and the processing of the various payrolls had to be put in place.  To a person, teachers, administrative, maintenance, learning support and canteen staff all rose magnificently to the occasion - just like in every School, College, Institute of Technology and University across the country.

Killester College of Further Education went from the classroom to online in six hours.  It was truly a sight to behold.  Our contingency plan, developed with CDETB parameters and agreed with QQI, was in three parts – part 1: finish the courses, part 2: complete the assessments, and part 3: process and approve the results.  It proved to be a great collaborative exercise across CDETB, and I’m sure, for all other schools and colleges.

What staff missed most was each other’s company and camaraderie.  Weekly staff meetings every Monday on Google Hangout discussing the week just gone and setting out the week to come proved very important.  The Deputy Principal and I, and the entire College Leadership Team, checked in regularly with each staff member by phone to ensure that they we doing ok and to provide whatever support and encouragement was needed.  From a leadership perspective, the true leaders of this period have been the staff.  The best thing I could do was to stay out of their way.  It has been truly inspirational to see their dedication and commitment to our students.

I salute all our teachers and school staff who have shown themselves to be the ultimate public servants and true professionals.


Dr Rory O'Sullivan, Principal of Killester College of Further Education, and Chair of the NAPD FET Committee.

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