Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education and Skills Thomas Byrne TD has called on Minister Richard Bruton to launch an investigation into bullying concerns raised by current and former staff members of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA).
Deputy Byrne made the comments after it was revealed that a group of current and former staff members made a protected disclosure to Minister Bruton alleging systemic workplace bullying at the organisation.
Deputy Byrne said, “The recent media reports surrounding alleged bullying at the NCCA are explosive. It would seem that a large number of current and former staff members at the organisation feel under serious pressure and have alleged that there is a culture of bullying in their workplace.
“The NCCA performs an important role for our entire education system. It is responsible for devising the curriculum that is taught in primary and second level schools and essentially governs what teachers teach and what students learn. It is responsible for putting in place the supports necessary to ensure the curriculum is taught properly.
“The current and former staff members have alleged that the current culture in the organisation is toxic and that this has had a negative impact on what is being taught in schools. Those working in the NCCA do not feel empowered and find it difficult to complete the tasks that have been assigned to them. They have alleged that there is a skills mismatch which has come about as a result of management failures. The end result is that staff do not feel confident in standing over the work that the NCCA does.
“The evidence available suggests that all is not well in the NCCA. There are a high average number of sick days per employee per year, averaging at 12.7 days. There is also a high level of staff turnover in the organisation. Minister Bruton needs to ensure that this matter is investigated fully by an independent body.
“We have to get to the bottom of this. It’s important that people have faith in the work that the NCCA does considering the important role it plays in setting and maintaining the primary and second level syllabus. I feel that these issues also need an airing at the Oireachtas Education Committee considering the wider impact that they have, particularly on our children’s education.”