Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education Charlie McConalogue TD has called on the Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan to listen to concerns of teachers and principals and rethink her decision to press ahead with the Junior Cycle reforms without the agreement of teachers.
Deputy McConalogue commented, “Minister O’Sullivan has botched the implementation of these important measures by attempting to railroad through reforms without listening to concerns of teachers, parents and students themselves. She has also significantly underestimated the resources that are needed for these curriculum and assessment changes.
“Instead of postponing the new English curriculum for a year while negotiations continue, the Minister pushed ahead with the new Junior Cycle in the absence of agreement.
“Fianna Fáil has always been consistent in promoting the need for junior cycle reform and indeed initiated the process while in Government. The aim is to improve the learning experience for secondary school students and it is vital now that all sides agree on how best to proceed with these changes in best interests of students.
“Minister O’Sullivan needs to delay the implementation of the English framework, as schools are currently lacking in capacity and resources to properly introduce the new curriculum and assessment. She also needs to enhance the resources, training as well as teacher and principal supports available to schools to implement the new Science and Literacy and Numeracy Frameworks.
“A new teachers’ survey undertaken by the ASTI found that most teachers support the greater emphasis on continuous assessment in the Junior Cycle, however they claim that increased class have impacted on their ability to cover the syllabus and have made it more difficult for them to give pupils the individual attention that is required for the new practical and continuous assessment.
“The Minister is attempting to put the cart before the horse. She needs to ensure that adequate resources in place before any major curriculum reforms are implemented. Attempting to introduce reform on a shoe-string is a recipe for failure.”