Teachers to be balloted for action over junior cycle reforms

Ballots for industrial action by the country’s 27,000 second-level teachers over the new junior cycle are to take place next month.

The members of the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland and the Teachers Union of Ireland say that aspects of the Department of Education’s proposals “pose serious threats to education standards and to the objectivity and transparency of junior cycle exams”.

The ballots will ask teachers to take industrial action including, but not limited to, non-co-operation with aspects of the new junior cycle, as directed by the ASTI and TUI. The TUI’s ballot will also ask teachers to vote on strike action.

The unions say they are concerned about the timescale for the introduction of the proposals “and the capacity of second-level schools to implement significant change in the context of schools having been stripped of vital resources”.

Teachers also believe the proposals are likely to worsen inequalities between schools.

ASTI general secretary Pat King said: “Teachers have no confidence in the junior cycle reform proposals.

“Teachers were not consulted before the announcement of these proposals and they believe that several aspects of the proposals are educationally unsound.

“They want the best for their students and they cannot stand back and allow the implementation of reform plans that they believe will damage education.”

His TUI counterpart, John MacGabhann, said: “Teachers demand that public education provision of the highest standard is preserved.

“We believe that student achievement in the new junior cycle must be externally assessed and nationally certified by the State Examinations Commission.

“Change for which adequate and appropriate preparation has not been made can cause lasting damage to the education system and particularly to individual students.”

The results of the ballots will be announced on March 26.

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