Most colleges participate in Dare and Hear schemes, but even the ones that don’t offer a range of supports, including disability support services. Photograph: Getty

Reduced points places and extra college support are available for some applicants

‘Some Catholic bodies have queried the extent of the issues surrounding the Baptism barrier, but said they were open to ideas to ensure local children have access to schools.’

Analysis: Richard Bruton’s proposals will not effect the majority of Catholic institutions

Senior infants practise mindfulness at the Heath National School in  Portlaoise. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Studies show stress-reducing techniques can be beneficial to students of all ages

“We need to be accommodating at a time when 96 per cent of schools are denominational,” Minister for Education Richard Bruton said. Photograph: Getty Images

Catholic primary school body insists problem was linked to shortages of school places

Michael Barron, director of campaign group Equate, with Minister for Education and Skills  Richard Bruton at the School Admissions seminar organised by Equate at the Alexander Hotel. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Minister says issue not being put on ‘long finger’ and Dáil has appetite to deal with it

The four broad options proposed by Mr Bruton – which focus on catchment areas, quota systems and an outright ban on using religion in admissions – all have potential pitfalls. Photograph: Eric Luke

Plans to remove ‘baptism barrier’ to publicly-funded schools likely to be controversial

Minister for Education Richard Bruton is to set out four possible approaches for dealing with the “baptism barrier” issue in schools. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Minister to set out four options to ensure children have access to local schools

The survey of 854 students around the country, organised by Griffith College, found that lack of career guidance and difficulties comparing courses and colleges were big obstacles. Photograph: Getty Images

Applicants say they can’t decide what to study and have to make big career decisions

Thousands of teachers will undergo  vetting checks by the Garda this year. Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Richard Bruton says move is an ‘important milestone’ to ensure safe school environments

Philip Nolan of Maynooth University says greater flexibility and support was  helping to boost student engagement and combat drop-out rates.

Figures show most Maynooth University students opting for broader range of subjects

Plans for an academic conference at University College Cork which will debate the legal legitimacy of Israel has sparked a major row. Photograph: iStock

Plans to hold similar conference at UK university were cancelled over ‘safety concerns’

Dr Graham Love, new chief executive of the Higher Education Authority: “These are challenging times for higher education, but there are also exciting opportunities.” Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Dr Graham Love says Ireland’s higher-education sector faces series of challenges

 Trinity College Dublin. University courses tend to have the lowest drop-out rates.  Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Drop-out rates highest among low-points courses at institutes of technology

Courses with non-progression rates of more than 70 per cent include computing with software development at IT Tralee; computing and games development at IT Sligo; industrial physics at DIT; and computer forensics and security at Waterford IT

Non-progression in some computer courses of particular concern due to skills shortages

The latest talks follow industrial action which led to the closure of hundreds of secondary schools last year. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Union to ballot this month on proposals to settle dispute over pay and curriculum reforms

Secondary school students taking part in group work as part of the new junior cycle.

Critics claim the State is about to take a wrong turn on secondary school education

Hundreds of primary schools do not have access to State psychologist services, new figures show. File photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Fianna Fáil education spokesman expresses concern over ‘alarming’ gaps in resources

Aicha Djeffal (5) from Scoil Bhríde (Cailíní) in Blanchardstown, Dublin, at the launch of research into the impact of the ReCreate social enterprise. Photograph: Mark Stedman

Study shows ‘creative reuse’ project is having positive effect on creativity in schools

New proposals suggest there should be a greater focus on creative play during the early years of primary school. File photograph: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

New NCCA proposals give schools more freedom to focus on other areas of study

Children in Ireland begin formal lessons – and up to 11 subjects – from the moment they start primary school at age four or five. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Greater emphasis is put on learning through play instead of traditional formal lessons

Students taking part in group work as part of the new Junior Cycle curriculum.

Students could lose 10% in English exams due to ongoing dispute over education reforms

Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin Denis Nulty says a very small minority of parents withdraw their children from the patron’s programme of religious education.  Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Submissions on NCCA plans for curriculum argue parents happy with faith-based model

While third-level institutions have been successful securing EU research funds, there are concerns over a decline in Irish investment in this sector. Photograph: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Rising student numbers and falling investment linked to larger classes and fewer supports

New school admissions legislation will do nothing to change the ‘Catholic first’ enrolment policies of the vast majority of schools, an Oireachtas committee has heard. File photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Admissions legislation will not address enrolment issues, Oireachtas committee hears

Irish universities such as Trinity College Dublin have slipped in international rankings. It is “unwise and undesirable to give the league tables so much weight”, said the Hepi report. Photograph: iStock

UK think-tank says concentration on research and not teaching skews the results

Brian Mooney, second from left, at the launch of the 2017 Education Matters yearbook, with Maurice Manning, chancellor of the National University of Ireland, Eucharia Meehan of the Irish Research Council and Prof Brian MacCraith, president of DCU. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Minister Bruton makes pledge in new edition of ‘Education Matters’ yearbook

Many preschools say they are under acute financial pressure and do not have the capacity to cope with the expanded  free preschool year. Photo: Dara Mac Donaill

Here are 12 issues you are likely to hear plenty about in Irish education next year, ranging from the baptism barrier to student l(...)

Natasha Lynch in Cork: the French-language teacher used social media to teach students online during the recent school strikes. Photograph: Daragh McSweeney/Provision

The social media app has become an unlikely ally in boosting teaching and learning

Ireland has the highest proportions of young people in Europe progressing on to higher education. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Students unsuited to higher education being shoehorned into universities by parents

 Ibec, however, told the committee that an income-contingent loan system was the only “equitable and sustainable” option. Photograph: Frank Miller

Graduates who emigrate may be ‘too afraid’ to return home, Oireachtas committee told

The OECD Pisa study results also show gender differences, with with girls performing better than boys in reading. Photograph: iStock

15-year-olds rank third in OECD study for reading, but science performance a concern

First-year students at NUI Galway: some schools did not send any students to high-points courses.  Photograph: Patrick Heneghan

Number of fee-paying schools dominating high-points courses is on the rise

Minister for Education Richard Bruton (left), with Fine Gael TD Jim Daly, who worked on development of an Education Ombudsman, which is being incorporated into the new Education (Parent and Student Charter) Bill. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Penalties in exams avoidable if teachers back proposals to avert industrial action - Minister

Students taking part in group work as part of the new junior cycle

Some children could be at risk of losing 10% in their English exam due to a union dispute

Kieran Christie and Ed Byrne (right), president of the ASTI central executive: Mr Byrne suggested at the weekend any industrial action would be likely to focus on minimising disruption to students. Photograph: Eric Luke

Thousands of junior cycle students would lose 10 per cent in the English summer exam

First-year students Abby O’Riordan and Noah Dasle, members of Cork Educate Together’s board of management, meeting principal Colm O’Connor, and teachers Pam O’Leary and Laura Nagle Kiwanuka. Photograph: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

Yes, says a Cork school where students are represented on the board of management

Consultation with younger students will be achieved  through engagement with the student council or other “age appropriate” means of hearing the voice of the child.  Photograph: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

Minister proposes charters to make schools child-centred and accountable to parents

NUI Galway is about the commence the recruitment process for a successor to its current president Dr Jim Browne.

Members of university’s governing authority say criteria was limiting pool of candidates

ASTI general secretary Kieran Christie and president Ed Byrne. Photograph: Eric Luke

Union urges members against deal and says disruptions will target department, not pupils

The ASTI is to hold a special meeting of its central executive committee on Saturday to consider a deal following mediation talks with the Department of Education. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

ASTI members face pay freezes and loss of posts of responsibility if proposals turned down

The scale of the union’s actions raised expectations in the ASTI that it would secure significant gains. Those hopes were quickly dashed when committee members combed through the eight-page deal. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Will union swallow its pride and take offer or resume industrial action?

The King’s Hospital’s child protection policy lists headmaster John Rafter as the school’s “designated liaison person”.

Secondary schools have clear obligations on how to protect the welfare of children

The ASTI is  to consider proposals to avert school closures at a special meeting of its central executive on Saturday. Photograph: Eric Luke

Potential agreement offers pay rise for new entrant teachers and opt out on supervision

ASTI members would be required to  work additional “Croke Park” hours  under proposals aimed at averting further school closures. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

But ASTI teachers must agree to work extra hours introduced under Croke Park deal

The ASTI’s standing committee is due to consider proposals aimed at resolving an industrial dispute which closed hundreds of secondary schools earlier this month. Photograph: Getty Images

Students at risk of losing 10% due to union’s opposition to classroom-based assessments

Minister for Education Richard Bruton is seeking an extra €136 million for his department this year, the bulk of which will go on progressing school buildings, along with minor works grants for primary schools. Photograph: Alan Betson

Additional staff retirements for schools adds to funding pressures

The findings are contained in the 2015 results of Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study. Photograph: Thinkstock

Concern over under-performance of high- achieving students

ASTI members outside Monkstown Park College in Dublin during recent industrial action. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Some members have warned action may resume if significant deal is not brokered

Traditional subjects may be removed from the initial years of primary schooling. Photograph: David Sleator

School boards may be allowed to decide how much time is spent teaching religion

Peter Cassells, right, chairman of the expert group on higher education. He called the funding model for the sector  broken. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

System would not deter students from disadvantaged areas, Oireachtas committee told

Minister for Education Richard Bruton with Prof Brian MacCraith

Minister plans to ensure Stem teaching is delivered by qualified specialist teachers

 Minister for Education Richard Bruton and  Peter Cassells, chairman of the expert group on future funding for higher education, speaking recently at DIT.   Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Peter Cassells says student loan scheme is one of a number of viable options

ASTI members outside Monkstown Park College in Dublin during recent industrial action. Photograph: Eric Luke

Schools are less likely to be closed indefinitely if union resumes industrial action

Ombudsman for Children Dr Niall Muldoon:  new Bill needs to “fully consider children’s rights and dignity” and to take account of Ireland’s obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Photograph: Eric Luke

Legislation fails to address ‘baptism barrier’ in certain schools, says Niall Muldoon

A  fostered boy could not secure a school place for two years despite applications to 28 schools. File photograph: Getty Images

Ombudsman for Children raises concern over vulnerable children missing education

The relatively small number of primary and secondary students performing at an “advanced level of proficiency” in maths is another concern cited in the report. Photograph: Thinkstock

Review advises greater support for teachers who lack formal science qualifications

Minister for Education Richard Bruton is due to publish the new Education (Parent and Student Charter) Bill over the coming weeks. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

New Bill could also see secondary pupils becoming members of boards of management

Dr Patrick Prendergast: TCD’s membership of the league will have a positive impact on  students. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

23-strong League of European Research Universities is major player at EU level

University presidents say a student loan scheme would be the fairest way of securing vital funding to tackle a “crisis” in higher education. File photograph: Getty Images

Graduates could repay €16,000-€20,000 in tuition fees over a 10- to 15-year period

 People Before Profit Alliance TD Gino Kenny and Cllr Madeleine Johansson, middle, with teachers at an ASTI picket  in recent days. Photograph: Facebook

Concerns raised over People Before Profit Alliance members joining ASTI picket lines

There is no solid evidence that specific selection mechanisms produce the “best” teachers, the report states. Photograph: Getty Images

Diversity still poses challenge with few men or disadvnataged people becoming teachers

ASTI is fighting battles on the issues of working additional hours, supervision and substitution duties, new-entrant pay levels and junior cycle reform. Photograph: Eric Luke

Union and Department of Education in third-party talks with arbitration body

ASTI picket at Monkstown Park College in South County Dublin. Photograph: Eric Luke

More than 500 of the State’s 736 secondary schools were closed on Tuesday

ASTI on the picket line outside Monkstown Park College in Dublin.  Photograph: Eric Luke.

Hundreds of secondary schools set to stay shut for the week in row over supervision duties

Minister for Education Richard Bruton: “It beggars belief that the ASTI will close schools over 33 hours a year.” Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Failure to end dispute over pay for new teachers could ‘derail’ State exams, FF warns

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan: said Garda pay proposals fell within the parameters of  Lansdowne Road agreement. Photograph: Alan Betson

Divisions emerge in Cabinet over how €40m Garda pay settlement will be funded

ASTI members on a picket in Dublin, Monday,  November 7th, 2016. Photograph: Colm O’Neil/PA Wire

Government and ASTI are at loggerheads over who is to blame for school closures

The scene Monday outside Colaiste Eoin, Stillorgan, Dublin, one of hundreds of schools shut down in the ASTI pay dispute.   Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

More than 200,000 students affected by pay dispute over ‘extra hour a week’

ASTI president Ed Byrne at a protest outside Dominican College in Dublin 9 earlier in October. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Disruption comes as tensions mount in Government over Garda pay increases

The ASTI delegation arriving at the Department of Education on Marlborough Street for talks. Photograph Nick Bradshaw

Leadership of ASTI seems caught in trap of its own making

Teachers on strike on Griffith Avenue in Dublin last week. File photograph: Nick Bradshaw

More than 400 schools to shut indefinitely as ASTI members plan industrial action

The GMIT  campus in Galway: it  is one of the institutes identified as  “vulnerable” and facing an immediate sustainability challenge. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Higher Education Authority review shows six face immediate sustainability challenges

CIT lecturer Susan Flannery says the sector is trying to balance reduced funding and growing demand.  Photograph:  Daragh Mc Sweeney

The scale of the impact of funding cuts and fewer resources highlighted in a new report

“Children spend such a huge amount of time in the school environment it is especially important that they are safe and protected. However, we have quite a way to go in regards to the protection of children in Ireland”

All teachers to face periodic checks under new rules

ASTI shop stewards have been asked to distribute this poster to staff members and to display it in “a prominent position in their classrooms”.

Union’s move to have teachers display anti-reform materials in school ‘inappropriate’

ASTI  shop stewards have been asked to distribute this poster to staff members and to display it in “a prominent position in their classrooms”.

Up to 40,000 students may lose 10% in English exams as a result of dispute

Student sitting the Leaving Cert exam: a new CAO points system aimed at easing the pressure is due to come into force next summer. Photograph: Eric Luke

Those who obtained D1 grade are to be eligible for entry to honours degree courses

Staff outside Loreto Secondary School, Bray, Co Wicklow, on Thursday. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Midterm is the last window of opportunity for talks to avert further school closures

ASTI president Ed Byrne at a protest outside Dominican College in Dublin 9 yesterday. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Talks aimed at averting large-scale disruption due to start early next week

Fiona Smyth, a teacher in  the Dominican College in Dublin: “Many young teachers are working for years without full hours.” Photograph: Carl O’Brien/The Irish Times

‘I earn up to €8,000 less a year than my colleagues because I qualified after 2011’

Staff at Loreto Secondary School, Bray, Co Wicklow stage industrial action. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Garda sergeants and inspectors to hold second day of action Friday

ASTI officias at the organisation’s headquarters prepare for the industrial dispute.

Government determined to hold firm line in row over pay rates for new staff

 ASTI delegates arrive at the Department of Education on Wednesday. From left: general secretary Kieran Christie,  president Ed Byrne,   Máire G Ní Chiarba and vice-president Ger Curtin. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Government prepares to remove teachers from payroll if dispute is not resolved

Minister for Education Richard Bruton said it would be very difficult for some schools to remain open if the ASTI industrial action goes ahead. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Union leaders met with Government officials in attempt to avoid strike

ASTI protesters outside Leinster House earlier this month. Photograph: Eric Luke

Thursday’s one-day strike action likely to close more than 500 secondary schools

People attending the ASTI protest outside Leinster House, Dublin, earlier this month. The ASTI is now left fighting battles on multiple fronts – Croke Park hours, junior cycle reform, new entrant pay – with little sign of placing any realistic solutions on the table. Photograph: Eric Luke

Union backed itself ever deeper into a cul-de-sac with little space to manoeuvre

A recent ASTI protest outside Leinster House: all ASTI members will forfeit a day’s pay while the strike takes place. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Teachers not planning to strike will be paid if declarations are signed

Members of the Association of Secondary Teachers of Ireland are due to hold the first of seven one-day strikes on Thursday. Photograph: Eric Luke

Special treatment for striking gardaí and teachers ‘unacceptable’, Impact cautions

O’Reilly Hall,  UCD: The Higher Education Authority’s interim chief executive Dr Anne Looney said more work was needed to signpost pathways into higher education beyond the CAO route.

Research shows lack of transparency over third level places for students in training courses

Teachers with the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland protest outside Leinster House. The first of the ASTI’s seven one-day strikes in the dispute is due to take place next Thursday, and is set to close up to 525 – or two out of three – secondary schools.   File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

TUI adamant members will not carry out any duties usually done by ASTI colleagues

Hundreds of secondary schools are unlikely to reopen following the mid-term break unless a teachers’ dispute is resolved, school managers have warned. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Secondary schools may close on health and safety grounds over teachers' dispute

State could become global hub for research but underfunding has hamstrung colleges

Notre Dame, a junior and secondary school which has been based in Churchtown in Dublin for more than 60 years, has told parents it will commence an ‘orderly wind-down’ over the coming three years. Image: Google Streetview.

Some 230 pupils affected by plan to close school by June 2019 due to financial difficulties

Teachers with the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland protest outside Leinster House. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Union concerns on pay up for discussion but separate talks to tackle junior cycle reform

Senior officials have cautioned Ministers that the public sector pay framework will collapse if pay claims are successful, the consequence of which would be an unwinding of the budget. Photographs: The Irish Times

Senior officials say if demands of gardaí and teachers are met budget will unravel

Teachers with the ASTI protest outside Leinster House. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

TUI’s executive committee due to meet on Friday to provide guidance for members

Contingency plans during looming industrial action by teachers will give priority supervisor cover to Leaving and Junior Cert classes. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Parents in schools affected by industrial action will get supervisor application forms

Teachers with the ASTI protest outside Leinster House on October 13th. Union president Ed Byrne has said the pay gap for new teachers would be €2,775 even if it signed the Lansdowne Road agreement. Photograph: Eric Luke

Two unions are willing to wait for pay parity, but the ASTI is demanding a timetable

St Oliver’s national school, Killarney, Co Kerry: third-class pupils Wikoria Sloniany, Killian Sugrue, Cleo O’Connell and Jocelyn Hickey clearing the school’s woodland to have their own forest playground.  Photograph: Valerie O’Sullivan

St Oliver’s national school in Killarney is part of a network of schools challenging teaching conventions

Asti has announced seven days of strikes which will close most secondary schools. Photograph: The Irish Times

Government plans to hire parents as supervisors to avert closure of hundreds of schools

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