Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education Thomas Byrne TD has expressed his shock at Minister Richard Bruton’s attitude to the possible deduction of 10% marks for Junior Cert English students in ASTI schools.

Deputy Byrne said, “Currently ASTI students are not teaching the revised Junior Certificate Curriculum, specifically classroom based assessment. This module will be worth 10% of marks in next June’s English exam. The new system has also started this year for Science and Business Studies which will be examined in June 2019.

“Today at the Oireachtas Education Committee I asked the Minister if he would give a guarantee that students in ASTI schools will not be penalised as a result of any industrial action. Specifically, I asked the Minister to confirm that students would not be deducted the 10% marks associated with classroom based assessment.

“Instead, the Minister stated that children in ASTI schools would lose 10% of their marks in the Junior Cert English exams where the classroom based assessment was not completed. Unfortunately children in ASTI schools are now facing punishment in their state examinations due to matters outside of their control.

“It is appalling and just plain wrong that students are being punished depending on whether their teacher is in a particular union. The Government should not be using student’s grades as a bargaining chip with unions. We cannot allow a situation to develop where children are peanlised as a result of this industrial dispute. The Minister needs to change his attitude on this immediately,” concluded Deputy Byrne.