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

Schools are planning to hire hundreds of parents and other members of the public as supervisors for €19.18 an hour in a bid to keep schools open during the ASTI’s planned industrial action. Photograph: Eric Luke

Up to six weeks of funding for supervison to be available to schools hit by ASTI action

Announcement comes amid Brexit uncertainty among 10,000 Irish students in UK

Michael Horgan, the new chairman of the Higher Education Authority, has said Ireland’s top colleges should not place their strategic focus on trying to rise up international university league tables. File photograph: Getty Images

Higher Education Authority head says colleges should focus on their strengths

The ASTI’s vote in favour of industrial action means the union is set to cease providing supervision and substitution cover, which could close hundreds of secondary schools.

Timing of directive over withdrawal of supervision and substitution duties will be crucial

Members of the ASTI protesting outside the Dáil earlier in the year. Photograph: The Irish Times

Up to 525 schools may close as union prepares to withdraw supervision cover

Numbers entering primary school and secondary level are set to grow by an extra 12,000 next year alone. Photograph: iStock

Richard Bruton has ambitious plans but cuts and a growing population stand in his way

Minister for Education Richard Bruton said an additional €36.5 million will be invested in Education as part of Budget 2017.

Critics say extra €36.5 million falls well short of €100 million needed to boost sector

Health Education Authority said University of Limerick was suffering considerable reputational damage and would continue to do so while the allegations remained unresolved

Claims relate to staff concerns over alleged financial irregularities or HR practices

As public funds are involved and politicians are taking an interest, it seems likely the next step in this rolling controversy may play out before an Oireachtas committee. File photograph: Getty Images

Among allegations were that some staff got mileage for trips between homes and UL

Minister for Education Richard Bruton and Peter Cassells, lead author of report into funding: the Cassells report found the current  system was not fit for purpose.  Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

International expert says Irish authorities should avoid a UK-style student loan scheme

Richard Bruton, Minister for Education, will ask the ASTI that English teachers be given a derogation to “avoid disadvantaging current students any further”. Photograph: Alan Betson

Up to 40,000 students face losing 10% in their English exams due to union dispute

Support groups and teachers say a lack of special needs assistants means that some children have reduced access to education or, in more extreme cases, are forced to stay at home

Some 34,000 teachers recruited prior to 2006 also face Garda checks for the first time

Taoiseach Enda Kenny in a photo with young Tom Cox after the official opening of Temple Carrig School, Greystones. Also pictured is Alan Cox (L)  school principal. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Temple Carrig in Greystones says it caters for the educational needs of entire community

Niall FitzGerald chairs Leverhulme Trust, one of the largest funders of academic research in the UK. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

UK-based businessman Niall Fitzgerald says colleges in British face an existential crisis

Teachers on strike in 2014. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

ASTI ballot on supervision and substitution could affect more than 500 secondary schools

ASTI secondary school teachers are balloting for industrial action over a number of issues, including the pay of recently-recruited teachers and penalties imposed on them by the Government for “repudiating” the Lansdowne Road agreement. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Teachers’ withdrawal from supervision duties could lead to widespread disruption

A key part of the strategy will involve emphasising that Ireland will be the largest English-speaking member of the European Union following the UK’s Brexit vote.

International education strategy targets students in China, India, Brazil and Gulf region

Prof Fitzgerald, a clinical academic, has earned wide-spread recognition for his research into platelets and thrombosis in coronary artery disease.
Photograph: UL press office

Prof Des Fitzgerald’s appointment strong signal UL is seeking to move up in world rankings

Fourth-class boys at St Laurence O’Toole CBS during a class on the solar system. The school uses art as a way of teaching a range of subjects. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Teachers at most creative when using art and drama to instruct literacy and numeracy

Thomas Byrne, Fianna Fáil’s education spokesman: ‘No child should be punished nor their exam marks put on a negotiating table.’ Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Up to 40,000 students to lose 10% in English exam if they cannot take part in assessments

The ESRI and the Arts Council study notes that being read to, and having access to books, enhances vocabulary development, while watching television can be linked to greater socio-emotional difficulties. Photograph: Getty Images

Children from middle-class families spend less time watching TV than those from less well-off backgrounds

Junior Cert students stand to lose up to 10 per cent in their English exams because of  a union row over classroom assessments. Photograph: Peter Thursfield

Up to 40,000 to lose 10% in English exam if they cannot take part in assessments

Parents queue outside Clonturk Community College, in Whitehall, Dublin, in order to secure secondary school places for their children. Photograph: Clonturk Community College/Facebook

Clonturk Community College Educate Together facility oversubscribed within hours

Minister for Education Richard Bruton says there are no plans to amend the junior cycle to avoid students in ASTI schools losing 10 per cent of their marks. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Second level teacher union tells members it is doubtful authorities will allow English exam loss

A national assessment  has found that reading scores of pupils in  schools where 10 per cent or more of pupils do not have English as their first language perform  “significantly lower” than those where all children were native English speakers. Photograph: Getty Images

Poor reading skills linked to schools with higher number of non-native English speakers

The authors of the study of 8,000 children say long periods of unsupervised time using the internet, watching TV or playing computer games have a negative impact on students.

Parents have big impact with overuse of computer games linked to poorer performance

The findings are contained in a study of 8,000 primary school children in 150 primary schools across Ireland which assessed students’ reading and maths performance. File photograph: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

Report recommends greater emphasis on teaching children problem-solving

 Three fishermen were rescued from a sinking boat about 32km off the west Cork coast on Monday evening. File photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

Courtmacsherry RNLI lifeboat comes to the aid of men on board sinking vessel

Homeowners in the South Dublin County Council area will not face any increase in their property tax next year. File photograph: PA

Cork County Council votes to keep tax at national rate to ‘protect public services’

Research has found the main method of preparing for the Leaving Cert exam was to predict questions, prepare answers and learn them off. File photograph: Peter Thursfield/The Irish Times

TCD research: Key skills such as critical thinking and problem-solving ‘starkly absent’

Trinity College Dublin, which ranked 160th in the Times Higher Education university list last year, was omitted at short notice this year due to an error which saw it tumble down the rankings. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Trinity’s slip from the top 200 is blamed on a data error. Does that make it a dunce?

Prof Niall Moyna: “Schoolchildren should be taught about good lifestyle choices and not just biology that they learn from a book.” Photograph:  Morgan Treacy/ ©INPHO

New research reveals ‘frightening’ findings over health of sedentary schoolchildren

’Ireland top universities have been sliding down global rankings due largely to issues linked to long-term underfunding, worsening staff to student ratios and greatly diminished capacity for research.’ File photograph: Chris Ison/PA Wire

Almost a decade of spending cuts and falling staff numbers seem to be taking their toll

Trinity College Dublin was omitted from the rankings as it supplied incorrect data. Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

Trinity College Dublin omitted from scale due to blunder over incorrect data

Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes has said Ireland’s reputation will take a ‘hammer blow’ if Irish universities continue to fall in global rankings. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Fine Gael’s Brian Hayes issues warning ahead of new Times Higher Education list

Overall, the areas which saw the biggest increases in student application numbers - construction, nursing, engineering/technology, architecture, business, pharmacy - have seen the higher points increases for courses. File photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

More evidence of institutions inflating CAO points by putting on niche courses

Students celebrate getting their Leaving Certificate exam results at Muckross Park College, Donnybrook,  Dublin: The number of degree courses requiring 500 points or more has jumped to a record high in this year’s CAO listings. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Engineering, architecture, construction and business up as arts falls to new low

 Ian Bethel, Ian McCrae and Fionnuala Moran, former 6th year students of Mount Temple Comprehensive school, Clontarf, after receiving their Leaving Certificate results. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Maths one of just six subjects at higher level where boys perform better

Minister for Education Richard Bruton: “I would be concerned. I know the chief examiner has looked at this and there do seem to be difficulties in areas such as trigonometry and algebra.” Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

Minister concerned at ordinary level failure rate and says need for change will be assessed

Mia Colleran (left) and Shona Ní Aodhagáin, Blackrock, celebrate getting their Leaving Certificate results, at Coláiste Íosagáin, Stillorgan, Co. Dublin, last year. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Leaving Cert 2016 results will be closely analysed by students, politicians, teachers and industry figures

Ordinary-level maths failure rate likely to pose fresh questions over the quality of maths tuition and recent reforms. Photograph: Getty Images

Over 55,000 students will today receive their results

Those applying for third-level courses will not know for certain whether they have secured their first choices until next Monday, when offers through the Central Applications Office (CAO) are made. File photograph: Getty Images

Leaving Cert results: Points increases likely for construction, science, tech and business

A record 80,880 people have applied to the Central Applications Office for college places, with many flocking to courses linked to the economic recovery, such as architecture, engineering and technology. File photograph: Getty Images

Scale of demand clear as tens of thousands of Leaving Cert students set for exam results

Of almost 800 honours degree – or level-eight –  courses, 60 per cent had fewer than 30 places.

Some ‘niche’ courses offer just 10 places

Prof Philip Nolan, president of Maynooth University: “What we see when we talk to students – even among the highest achievers – is that they are on a learning journey.”

Maynooth University and UCD have benefitted by providing students with broader entry routes

The rise in popularity of higher-level maths at Leaving Cert is seen as a welcome development by policymakers. Photograph: Getty Images

Concern mounts that additional points for higher-level maths is distorting choice

There have been a number of proposals to set up a school that would teach children the international baccalaureate rather than the Leaving Cert. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

International baccalaureate would be taught to children of multinational executives

The Leaving Cert is considered “deficit-based” and forces students to take subjects which they may not be able for. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

How does the international baccalaureate compare to Ireland’s traditional State exam?

Elizabeth Bartholomew and her daughter Katherine (11), outside the Cross & Passion College, Kilcullen, Co Kildare. Photograph: Eric Luke

Elizabeth Bartholomew says a shortage of school places in Kildare is very worrying

The Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland said the union was prepared to hold two ballots for industrial action next month. Photographs: The Irish Times

ASTI chief warns closures loom in September in escalating dispute over pay and conditions

Numbers entering primary school are projected to peak in about 18 months time to almost 575,000 children

Demand for school places has shot up in recent years as the population surges

Preschools have warned that many of them may not be ready to provide the additional free childcare places required under Government plans due to capacity and recruitment challenges. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Childcare centres say they are not ready for the extension of the free preschool year

Students on the UCD campus in Dublin. Fiana Fáil’s Thomas Byrne said the previous Fine Gael-led government “did enormous damage to our education system”. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Lack of support preventing thousands of students from accessing further education

Fionn Rogan working at Java Republic on Molesworth Street. He sparked a debate this week when he wrote about how his generation was being increasingly infantilised, due to soaring rents and a loss of financial independence. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Young people are eschewing the traditional milestones of adulthood – in favour of relying on their parents

ASTI  members outside the Dáil. Over 1,000 teachers who do not belong to a trade union face losing allowances and salary increments  because they work in schools staffed mainly by ASTI members. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Over 1,000 unaffiliated educators to lose pay increments as they work in ASTI schools

Una McDermott who rents out rooms in her home to students at NUI Galway: “I’ve had 13 students come through the house and I have never had a bother with any of them.” Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

Universities say the return of digs is the fastest way to tackle accommodation crisis

Shauna Hurley,  structural engineer with Arup: “Everyone was saying there were no jobs available, but I was thinking long term.” Photograph: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision.

Shauna Hurley (24) was told there would be no jobs but now there is huge demand

Engineering Leaving Certificate students Emily Cullen, Luke Casey, Ted Daly, Liam Glavin, and William Kelly at St MacDara’s Community College, Dublin. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Republic is not producing enough graduates in the sector to meet projected demand

About 96 per cent of the State’s primary schools are under the control of religious denominations. Photograph: iStock

The State’s advisory body on the school curriculum is due to publish advice about time allocations for teaching a range of subjec(...)

The restoration of allowances for new teachers is being explored in talks between trade unions and Government officials as a way of tackling pay inequality in the teaching profession. File photograph: Barry Batchelor/PA Wire

Unions and Government discuss move as a way of tackling pay inequality in the industry

 Minister for Education Richard Bruton said high quality education and training was key to boosting the higher education sector. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / The Irish Times

Minister Richard Bruton names former head of Royal College of Surgeons as chairman

Trudie Mitchell, national rover representative, and Adam Chintedza, national venture representative, with unaccompanied minors who have travelled to Ireland seeking asylum or refugee status, at Larch Hill International Scout and Guide Centre. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

New programme is ‘showing the way’ by connecting Irish youth and refugees

Most primary schools typically spend up to 2½ hours teaching faith formation

Schools may have less time to teach religion in the classroom under radical proposals being considered by the State’s advisory body on the curriculum. File photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Maths, Irish and English to be prioritised under radical new curriculum proposals

An investigatory process will then take place to establish if the complaint should be the subject of a formal disciplinary inquiry. Photograph: Getty Images

Issues such as uniforms, voluntary contributions likely to be subject of parents charter

The move follows a series of developments aimed at improving accountability of schools and giving parents and students greater access to information. Photograph: Getty Images

Bruton says measures would help the profession to become more open and accountable

Parents and students now have a formal method of complaining about teachers

Scotland’s experience suggests both public and profession trust self-regulating system

Fine Gael TD Jim Daly is proposing a Bill to establish an ombudsman for education. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Fine Gael TD Jim Daly’s legislation would create body students could appeal to

 A record number of applicants are seeking college places this year, which is putting pressure on the higher education sector. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

College applications are mostly linked to architecture, engineering and business

If a parent or student has a difficulty with the decision, there is no avenue of independent appeal besides the expensive and often daunting prospect of a court action. File photograph: Eric Luke

Most agree independent appeals system required but no consensus on form it should take

The Education (Amendment Bill)  is strongly opposed by the Ombudsman for Children. Photograph: Getty Images

Jim Daly’s Bill would create Ombudsman for Education with legally-binding powers

Atheist Ireland has launched a report in which it says the State’s religious education course is breaching human and Constitutional rights. Pictured at the publication were Michael Nugent, chair of Atheist Ireland, and Jane Donnelly. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Atheist Ireland says secondary schools have made the subject compulsory despite rules

Richard Bruton, Minister for Education and Skills, who believes an early start in coding will help children fulfil their potential. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES

Minister wants primary curriculum to include coding as it teaches creative problem-solving

A busy street in Dublin. The census results  point to a continued shift in population growth towards the greater Dublin area since the last census results in 2011, with decreases in the Border and western areas. File photograph: Matt Kavanagh .

Census results: Birth rate helps push numbers towards highest since 1871 census

The Cassells report states the grants system only considers income and takes no account of capital, assets or accumulated wealth.

Move would include farm land and other assets when considering grant approval

The Dublin Institute of Technology’s annual cost-of-living guide shows that rent is now the single biggest cost for students living away from home. File photograph: Getty Images

Students who live at home face cost of about €6,800, according to annual DIT survey

Richard Bruton, Minister for Education and Skills speaking with Peter Cassells, chairman of the Expert Group on Future funding for Higher Education at DIT. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Cassells report finds current funding system for higher education not sustainable

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