Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education Thomas Byrne TD says a new motion tabled by his party will help protect Junior Cert students in ASTI schools from the fallout associated with ongoing industrial action.

The motion will be tabled by Deputy Byrne at the Oireachtas Committee on Education and Skills and is due to be discussed next week. It seeks to overturn Minister Richard Bruton’s decision to allow Junior Cert English students in ASTI schools to face an automatic 10% deduction of marks.

Deputy Byrne said, “I have serious concerns at the way Junior Cert curriculum reform is being handled by the Department of Education. Last week I called on Minister Bruton to ensure that Junior Cert English students are not automatically deducted 10% of their marks due to industrial action. Unfortunately the Minister refused to do so.

“This situation arises as ASTI teachers are currently not teaching the full revised Junior Certificate Curriculum, specifically presentation of a classroom based assessment. This module will be worth 10% of marks in next June’s exams. Minister Bruton has stated that students will lose 10% of their marks should the classroom based assessment not be completed. This is absurd as the situation is completely outside the control of these students.

“It is distasteful that the Department is seeking to use students as a bargaining chip in this industrial dispute. I firmly believe that no student should face an automatic deduction of marks just because they happen to be to be in an ASTI school.

“I have tabled a motion to the Oireachtas Education Committee calling on the Minister to overturn this daft decision. I remain hopeful that the motion will receive cross-party support. This ongoing situation is causing stress for both students and their parents, and the situation must be resolved immediately. Students exam marks must not be put on the negotiation table in this dispute.

“At the same time, there is an onus on ASTI to continue to engage in the talks process. The TUI have already implemented this change and there is no issue in their schools,” concluded Deputy Byrne.