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ETBI Welcomes New Commitments on Junior Cycle Education Reform

ETBI welcomes today’s the announcement by the Department of Education and Skills of changes to proposals for implementing the new Junior Cycle Framework across second level education.

In particular Mr Moriarty welcomes the following.

  • “The decision to allow schools to allocate a dedicated day in each of the years in which the new framework will be implemented to undertake whole school planning and continuous professional development can be expected to smooth significantly the implementation of the reform programme.
  • Increasing the amount of continuous professional development being made available to school leaders and teachers should ensure that those responsible for implementing the reforms in a sustainable way will be better equipped to do so.
  • The extension of the implementation period and the reduction in the number of new subjects that will be changed in the course of any one year will give schools more time and space to implement the programme successfully.
  • The decision to have a National Certificate as distinct from a certificate carrying the logo of individual schools will go a considerable way towards ensuring that the new Junior Cycle Student Achievement Award will carry the same value right across the school system.  The previous proposal to have schools award their own certificates risked certificates awarded by the so-called ‘more prestigious’ schools being seen as more valuable than those awarded by other schools.

ETB, said Mr Moriarty, ‘has advocated for these kinds of changes to the implementation programme for some time in the belief that they were essential to ensuring that the aims and objectives of the reform programme can be fully implemented and that the changes will be sustainably embedded in the education of young people in Ireland for decades to come’.

‘A little over 20 years ago Ireland sought to reform its junior cycle education system but, while the title of the certificate and the subject syllabi were changed, there was very little change to teaching and learning and to the experiences of students. The new junior cycle framework, assuming that we implement it properly, has the potential to change the educational experiences of young people in a way that will see them become willing and effective lifelong learners – something that is essential to ensuring individual fulfilment, social cohesion and economic progress in the challenging years that lie ahead’.

Concluding his remarks, Mr Moriarty said ‘the Minister and his Department are to be congratulated on the extent to which they have listened to the concerns of the education partners.  Now hopefully, all schools, teachers and students can move forward together to make junior cycle education the most rewarding experience possible’. 

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