Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education Thomas Byrne TD says it is now incumbent on the Government to withdraw the sword of Damocles hanging over Junior Cert English students to give space for a solution to be worked out.

Deputy Byrne said, “As a result of this ballot rejection by ASTI members, children in Junior Cert English are being told by the Government that they will be docked 10% of the marks. This extraordinary situation arises because the ASTI have now reiterated their refusal to engage in any aspect of the school based assessment for the purpose of the Junior Cert profile of achievement – which is worth 10%.

“Effectively by standing over this policy, the Government and the State Examinations Commission is allowing children are being used as pawns in an industrial relations dispute between the Government and their teachers.

“I am calling for an immediate declaration from the Government and the SEC that children in this situation in ASTI schools will not suffer a ten percent deduction. This can be done by following the precedent of optional oral exams, where children are marked on work done and not penalised.

“This is a terrible situation for children who are already under enough pressure as it is.”