Parents, teachers publish proposals ‘crucial’ to second-level schools for next 15 years

Department welcomes joint initiative, calls for ‘rich conversation’ on future shape of education

Students Ciaran Horan, Travis Fitzgerald, Addul Hajji, Kristian Hudson and Paul Cross from St Pauls CBS Secondary School Brunswick Street Dublin take a look at the report. Photograph:  David Sleator

Students Ciaran Horan, Travis Fitzgerald, Addul Hajji, Kristian Hudson and Paul Cross from St Pauls CBS Secondary School Brunswick Street Dublin take a look at the report. Photograph: David Sleator

Tue, Apr 23, 2013, 16:00

Thirteen recommendations on the future of post-primary schooling have been proposed by a joint forum of educationalists, parent groups and teacher unions.

Seven organisations have combined to form the Post-Primary Education Forum which has published its proposals which it says are “crucial to enhancing the quality of teaching and learning in second-level schools over the next 15 years”.

Their initiative has been warmly welcomed by the Department of Education.

Key to the proposals is agreement on a “learners’ charter” which would “set out minimum rights for second-level students in relation to curriculum content, student voice, supports for student welfare, teacher professional development, class size and school resources,” said Jim Moore, chairman of the National Parents’ Council Post-Primary.

Launching the proposals in Dublin yesterday, he said the plan could not have been published at a worse time given the economic environment.

“But we cannot shirk or delay,” he said. “In education there are only issues of today and tomorrow.”

The 13 recommendations include proposals which address the rights of pupils, the requirements of teachers in the classroom and the duties faced by government. They stress the need for inclusion of all children, the growing importance of online resources and computer technology, the need to maintain high standards of teacher training and the requirement for the State to increase proportionally the resources spent on schools.


13 POST-PRIMARY EDUCATION FORUM RECOMMENDATIONS
1.
A “Learners’ Charter” which would set agreed minimum standards for class sizes and resources.
2. A comprehensive review of special needs and welfare supports.
3. Appropriate education for all, especially those outside the school “mainstream”.
4. Integrated approach to greater use of information technology.
5. Access to high quality and Irish digital teaching and learning materials.
6. State to ensure all schools are fully inclusive.
7. S strategy to attract brightest and best to teaching career.
8. Admission to teacher training to be based on suitability as well as academic ability.
9. Replication of Scottish model for internship of Newly Qualified Teachers.
10. School leadership to be supported by programmes for senior management team.
11. State to draw up green paper on education reforms over the next 10-15 years.
12. Resources to support curriculum changes to be guaranteed.
13. Proportion of GDP allocated to education be raised to 7.5 per cent.