Teachers and students ‘in limbo’

Teachers and students are facing a ‘curricular limbo’ due to the standoff between teaching unions and the Department of Education over Junior Cycle reforms, a group representing school principals has warned.

The National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals issued the comments following Tuesday’s breakdown in talks between Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan and The Association of Secondary Teachers’ Ireland (Asti) and Teachers’ Union of Ireland (Tui) over Junior Cert reforms.

In a statement, the principals and deputy principals association said it is “disappointed” that talks between the Department of Education and Skills and second- level teaching unions have reached an impasse.

“Minister O’Sullivan appears to have gone some way to address the concerns of the teaching unions, particularly in relation to her proposals regarding final exams in third year, a State certificate and marks awarded for project or portfolio work.

“These proposed changes suggest that agreement can eventually be reached and the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals remains hopeful that the teaching unions and the department will resume engagement. Teachers and students are currently facing a ‘curricular limbo’ due to the lack of agreement on implementing the proposed Junior Cert reforms. It is vital that progress is made to ensure schools are not left operating within a climate of uncertainty and confusion,” the association said.

Meanwhile the National Parents’ Council post-primary and the Irish Second-level Students’ Union said that they supported the department’s proposed junior cycle reforms. In a joint statement, both groups called on the teaching unions to return to talks.

Craig McHugh (17) who is a student and president of the Irish Second Level Students’ Union said students are hungry to see significant reform in schools.


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