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big jump More than 5,000 Ukrainian pupils enrol in Irish schools

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Enrolments at primary schools have jumped significantly. Photo: Stock image

Enrolments at primary schools have jumped significantly. Photo: Stock image

Enrolments at primary schools have jumped significantly. Photo: Stock image

The number of Ukrainian children in Irish schools has risen to 5,144.

Primary enrolments have jumped significantly and are up 80pc from about 2,000 before Easter to 3,601, according to official data.

However, post-primary schools have seen a drop, from about 1,800 earlier this month, to 1,543.

The intake of Ukrainian pupils varies, but about 580 of 4,000 schools, across the primary and post-primary sectors, are now receiving additional resources to support the new arrivals.

A surge in enrolments was predicted as more families flee conflict in their homeland and others, who arrived earlier, took time to settle before seeking a school placement.

Fluctuations in enrolments in individual schools were also anticipated as refugee families move on from initial emergency accommodation.

The students least likely to enrol are those preparing for the Ukrainian equivalent of the Leaving Cert, many of whom are doing online classes with their own teachers.

Education Minister Norma Foley confirmed the updated figures yesterday as she visited two primary schools in her native Kerry that have welcomed Ukrainian children.

Nagle-Rice Primary School in Milltown currently has four Ukrainian pupils, while the two-teacher school at Flemby, Ballymacelligott, has enrolled seven children from Ukraine. Both schools are participating in the ‘The Daily Mile’, a 15-minute-a-day walk or run initiative for primary pupils, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this week.

Ms Foley paid tribute to “the extraordinary work” of schools in welcoming children who were coming from very difficult and traumatic circumstances.

She said some families were “very happy almost immediately to have their children in school and others just need that little bit more time, and children and young people themselves need a little bit more time. And we’re happy to work with that”.

Extra resources provided by the Department of Education include additional teaching hours and English language and psychological supports.

Much of the immediate focus is on developing the children’s English language skills and supporting their well-being.

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