In-Person English Language Education Resumes

By Steven Galvin - Last update

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Extensive planning has been undertaken by the sectoral stakeholders of the COVID-19 Working Group for the English language education (ELE) sector to prepare for the safe resumption of limited, small group, in-person provision to cater for the needs of this sector’s existing cohort of students.

These plans follow the publication of COVID-19 Resilience and Recovery: The Path Ahead and are in keeping with the Government’s objective of moving to a return to safe onsite provision in higher and further education,

On the basis of these plans and subject to the conditions of this notice, in-person activity may begin to resume from 19th July 2021 where it is safe to do so.

In-Person English Language Education Resumes

In preparing to undertake the resumption of in-person activity, English language education providers should particularly be aware of and take account of the following key factors:

  • there is no deterioration in the public health situation nor changes to public health advice/measures that would impact on this activity.
  • the resumption of this activity is exclusively to cater for the needs of the existing cohort of English language education students currently in the State
  • this step should be taken in consultation with each provider’s staff and students.
  • subject to conditions (detailed below), providers may opt to remain closed, to provide blended learning or to continue operating wholly online
  • there continues to be no basis for the recruitment of new international students that may seek to travel to the State at this time

All existing restrictions and public health guidance with appropriate protective measures and limited congregation will need to be followed, supported by the sectoral reopening protocols and adaptation framework, to facilitate and ensure the safe return to some classroom-based activity for this cohort of students.

The resumption of in-person activity is a key stepping stone on the pathway to recovery for the English language education sector in Ireland. The Department looks forward to continued productive engagement with stakeholders to support the development of further plans which will enable the return of international student recruitment and the full re-opening of the sector in due course.

Subject to the above resumption of limited in-person activity can begin from 19th July 2021.

Key supplemental information

COVID-19 English language education Protocols & Adaptation Framework

Following consultation with the representative bodies for staff, students and providers, the English language education sector has developed a suite of protocols and an accompanying adaptation framework specifically tailored for English language education provision, aligned with public health guidelines alongside the requirements of the Government’s Work Safely Protocol.

The COVID-19 protocols and adaptation framework for the English language education sector must be adopted and implemented by those providers wishing to resume in-person provision.

Please note that these are living documents and must be updated in line with evolving public health advice.

Content in relation to international travel and the arrival of new students remains in development and is not yet ready for implementation.

Where there are concerns in relation to compliance with the requirements of the Government’s Work Safely Protocol that cannot be resolved via the processes set out within the sectoral protocols, such matters may be brought to the attention of the Health & Safety Authority (HSA).

Role of Online Provision

Where a provider is not in a position to resume in-person activity, and who wishes to continue providing classes either on a partial or wholly online basis, it may do so subject to relevant conditions.

Where a provider decides to continue online provision after 19th July, it must advise ILEP of its plans to provide for their existing cohort of students during this time. This notification must be given no later than Friday, 30th July.

Relevant ILEP criteria surrounding minimum standards of provision for students continue to apply when delivering classes online. This includes, but is not limited to

  • attendance requirements and the keeping of attendance records
  • the requirement to provide a minimum of 15 hours of student contact per week
  • to have no more than 15 students in a class and for that class to be led by an appropriately qualified teacher

The period in which providers may continue to remain wholly online will be limited and will keep under review in light of changing public health advice and related developments. Where a provider is unable to provide a level of in-person provision, they should not enrol any new students.

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Steven Galvin

Rugby Academy Ireland Scholarship For Transition Year
Engineering Analysis & Technologies at DCU


  1. Maureen Ruddy 20/11/2022 at 22:30

    English language and all learning

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