photo of empty class room
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Isle of Man schools are continuing to be unable to provide in-person schooling for all students this week.

According to EnergyFM, Year 9 and Year 12 students at Ballakermeen High School are being asked to not attend classes in-person for at least part of this week.

EnergyFM reported Ballakermeen Headteacher Adrienne Burnett saying, “We have ended the week with 30 members of staff absent and we know that at least 15 teachers will be absent on Monday. As you can appreciate, this is putting unsustainable pressure on the school.”

The Manx TaxPayers’ Alliance believes that schools are essential services, and that it is unacceptable that the Department of Education, Sports and Culture has not made adequate preparations for the current spate of absences. The DESC could have taken a variety of steps to both prevent this problem (such as by taking active steps to reduce the risk of viruses spreading airborne) and to mitigate the impact (such as by hiring more supply staff on various arrangements).

The Isle of Man taxpayer funds secondary schools at substantially higher levels than across, and during the last five years, there has been a 20% increase in actual DESC staff numbers. Given these facts, the DESC needs to come clean about the current failure to provide essential schooling services, and to provide a plan to minimise the risk of further future failures.