The department said there would be no changes to the variables required under the revised circular, and schools would not be required to resubmit any data.

Department of Education backtracks on plans to keep data until 30th birthday

Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan announced details of the revised plan on Thursday at a seminar with school management bodies and other stakeholders, despite the teacher unions’ continuing industrial action and campaign of non-cooperation. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Minister reveals details of implementation plan, saying she can’t ‘wait indefinitely’ for unions

NUI Galway has revealed a five-year strategy to become a top 200 university in global rankings by 2020, including progress on gender equality at the college. Photograph: Getty Images/ File photo

Prof Jim Browne presents five-year plan, including progress on gender equality

The first round of the Momentum programme cost €16 million, co-funded by the Government and EU, and yielded €9 million in initial savings in welfare payments.

More 50% of participants in Momentum programme were signed-off live register

Special Needs Assistants represented by Impact have voted for industrial action over what they say is the ‘fragmented’ nature of some posts. Photograph: Thinkstock

Impact members say some contracts reduced to 10 hours, leaving ‘fragmented’ posts

The Union of Students in Ireland has appointed NUI Galway graduate Kevin Donoghue as their new president. Mr Donoghue has promised to campaign for increased State investment in higher education. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

NUI Galway graduate Kevin Donoghue wants more funding for higher education

Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan announced interim measure “in recognition of the length of time it will take” to introduce the new resource teacher model. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Allocation of 2.5 resource hours per child good news but ‘doesn’t go far enough’, says association

“When the State pays, it doesn’t mean that the poor subsidise the wealthy”

Even non-students benefit from higher education, argues Prof Thomas Docherty

Harold Hislop, the chief inspector of Irish schools, at the Department of Education and Science in Dublin. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Department negotiator says school-based assessment needed for ‘21st century learning’

Sr Stanislaus Kennedy speaking at a student union event

Student leaders say that despite changing times some issues never go away

Lecturers at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action against a planned merger with IT Carlow under forthcoming legislation.

Union says college should be allowed to apply for university status on standalone basis

General Secretary of the Association of Community and Comprehensive Schools Eileen Salmon: “We are frustrated in not being able to bring in valuable improvements in teaching and learning with the key skills.”

Unions’ protests represent a ‘backward step’ for education, says community schools group

Pals: the story of four young recruits to the 7th Battalion of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers during the first World War

Plus: The race for technological university status is hotting up

‘Many “nice blokes” are simply naive, and don’t know the statistical data on the poor representation of women in philosophy’

Academics are urged to acknowledge their biases and avoid the ‘nice bloke’ trap

Tony McCoy returns after his last ride at Cheltenham. Photograph:  Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

McCoy in thankful mood as he exits Cheltenham with body bruised but intact

Fr Michael Drumm, chairperson  of the Catholic Schools Partnership (CSP). The CSP has just published new guidelines for religious teaching in Catholic schools. File photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Catholic Schools Partnership advises schools on how to be inclusive towards other beliefs

Second year students at Coláiste Mhuire, Askeaton, Co Limerick  took part in a Critical Thinking Module for Junior Cycle Students. Photo: Don Moloney/Press 22

A cornerstone of proposed school reform is to get pupils thinking critically and creatively. But how can that be done?

Athlone Institute of Technology: “The critical thing for all of us is we don’t end up with a three-tier structure instead of the two-tier structure we have at the moment,” said president of Athlone IT and chairman of the IT umbrella group Prof Ciarán Ó Catháin. File photograph: Joe St Leger

As technological universities emerge, new lobby group plans to look at wider issues

 CAO 2015  first preference statistics show that demand for construction and engineering courses continues to rise. Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Construction and engineering courses also see a significant rise in applicants

A new  survey conducted by Amárach Research has found that almost a third of parents  rarely or never monitor their children’s internet use at home. Photograph: iStockphoto

School principals’ group urges parents to remain vigilant about cyberbullying

Jimmy Kelly, TUI secondary school teacher at Newpark Comprehensive School in Blackrock, picketing in January against planned junior cycle reforms. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

Schools are being briefed on preposed reforms but the teachers’ unions haven’t given their consent. How will that work?

Pat King, general secretary of the ASTI. The secondary teachers union is to consider a motion at its annual congress on whether to open discussions on a merger with the TUI. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Secondary teachers group to face motion on opening talks on joining with broader union

The sudy found that students who play one-player video games between once a month and almost every day perform better in mathematics, reading, science and problem solving, on average, than students who play one-player games every day. Photograph: Getty Images

Gender analysis of test scores suggests girls suffer from ‘low confidence’ in maths

Whereas girls tend to embrace learning for its own sake, boys want to know what’s in it for them – be it access to the games console, or some other prize

Analysis: Parents of girls should fight their own gender biases, OECD report suggests

NUI Maynooth: Aims to give school-leavers more flexibility in their study options

Joint arts and science degree will be the first of its type in Ireland

Early Childhood Ireland, which represents service providers in the childcare sector, has said the  use of primary school buildings as a low-cost solution for childcare would amount to a “band aid approach” to a serious capacity problem. File photograph:  Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD had proposed schools be used for ‘low-cost’ after-school care

Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan: “They have to make this happen for themselves.”  Photograph: The Irish Times

Bill requiring merger of institutes seeking designation to be published after Easter

Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan: Welcomed the official launch of jct.ie, an online support service for teachers undertaking the new junior cycle framework. Photograph: The Irish Times

Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan objects to disruption as bargaining chip in talks

‘That religion is back on the political stage has much to do with its power to build communities and provide blueprints for action.’ Photograph: Thinkstock

Ideologies have a power to build communities; that’s why they endure, says philosopher Alexandra Grieser

Jan O’Sullivan: move to limit past-pupil quota

Angry middle-class parents have been bombarding the Minister for Education with letters

Jan O Sullivan: ‘We cannot continue to negotiate forever,’ she said at the Labour Party conference in Killarney. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill

Unions may consider further strike action after Minister rebuffs plea for more talks

A culture of “low expectations” and a limited supply of appropriate training courses have been identified as key barriers to people with intellectual disabilities entering further education. Photograph: Getty Images.

Structural barriers and ‘low expectations’ block those with intellectual disabilities

The Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan has already watered down the plan of her predecessor Ruairí Quinn, proposing just 40 per cent of the new junior cycle certificate would come from school-based assessment. Photograph: Eric Luke

Analysis: Cooperation with junior cycle plan may be used as a bargaining chip

Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan has declined to say whether teachers refusing to implement the junior cycle reforms will be disciplined. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Jan O’Sullivan declines to say if teachers will be disciplined for lack of cooperation

Children at play in St  John the Evangelist National School, Adamstown, Co Dublin. More than 90% of pupils in the school in the 2013- 14 school year were of immigrant origin. Photograph: The Irish Times

Policymakers have a responsibility to plan for all children. They could learn from Finland

Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan said the department would continue to roll out reform of the junior cycle curriculum regardless of the teachers’ decision. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Tensions escalate within unions as ASTI and TUI hold meeting on industrial action

Tralee Institute of Technology: “We will not require additional efficiencies in order to meet these costs,” a joint statement for the Kerry institute and the  Cork Institute of Technology says

Institutes move to reassure staff over university bid amid union balloting

 Abbot of Glenstal Abbey Mark Patrick Hederman: “In Ireland at any rate, the child is the very last item in the pecking order.” Photo: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Negativity from Government and teacher unions ‘numbing’, says Mark Patrick Hederman

Dr Pauric Travers, who drew up a compromise plan. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Unions taken aback at department’s refusal to hold further talks

Labour TD Joanna Tuffy, who chairs the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Education and Social Protection, has  called for a rethink of the “divestment” policy in education. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times.

Labour TD says having wider choice of patrons the ‘direct opposite of education being inclusive’

Richard Dawkins, who appeared at the Burke theatre, Trinity College on Tuesday at an event organized by the Origins Project Dialog in which they discuss Randomness and Uncertainty. Photograph: Fergal Phillips

‘You have to write off those people’ who put the Bible ahead of science, author says

Long-promised reform is materialising in the Education (Admission to Schools) Bill, which will require school admissions policies to be “inclusive” and will outlaw discrimination on racial, religious or disability grounds. File photograph: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

Education Act 1998 means schools can draw up their own admissions policies

Green giant: University College Cork

Criteria include the preservation of lawns and forests, use of energy-efficient appliances, waste recycling, environmental course (...)

Marine Le Pen spoke about freedom recently while calling for restrictions on religious freedom. Photograph: Jean-Philippe Ksiazek/AFP/Getty

Some of the most subtle forms of propaganda spring from the false idea that people can be neutral or objective, argues American ph(...)

Children at St John the Evangelist National School in Adamstown, Co Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Some 23 per cent of schools cater for four out of five immigrant children

Winners of this years ‘Irish Times’ Debate Final: team winner Ronan O’Connor and Hugh Guidera, from TCD , and Individual winner Eoin MacLachlan from UCD L&H. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

‘Sometimes if the public demand more Ross O’Carroll Kelly you have to give them more Morgan Kelly’

Team winners Ronan O’Connor and Hugh Guidera from TCD Phil (left and centre) and Individual winner Eoin MacLachlan from UCD L&H. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/The Irish Times

Editor Kevin O’Sullivan presented awards after lively debate at Maynooth University

Post-primary teachers on strike over proposed junior cycle reforms. The ASTI and TUI are to consider a revised set of proposals on the reforms at a joint meeting of their executive committees. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Department of Education puts forward amended plans to avoid further strike action

‘America NPR is unquestionably more intellectually evolved that CNN or Fox.’ Above, Bill O’Reilly on Fox News

‘The single greatest tragedy in Ireland today is the absence of a free press,’ says Marcus deBrun

Wonder by RJ Palacio

Plus, students up for ‘Oscars’; and a survey on small schools

Jan O’Sullivan: The presidents have written to the Minister saying any attempt to “resurrect” the Universities Amendment Bill could do serious damage to the higher education sector. Photograph: The Irish Times

Universities write to Minister complaining about initiative to ‘resurrect’ pay controls

Unite, which represents campus staff, says the recruitment vehicle is contributing to increased casualisation and an “opaqueness” surrounding workers’ rights. Photograph: The Irish Times

College was appointed to investigate precarious nature of work throughout the economy

Lynn Ruane (centre, with arms wide) with some of her campaign team.

Trinity College Dublin access student Lynn Ruane lands emotional victory

Protests at Newpark Comprehensive, Blackrock, Co Dublin.  Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

The question arises as to whether teachers should have a veto over educational policy

Proposals aimed at breaking the impasse over the junior cycle dispute have been rejected by officials from the two unions representing post-primary teachers. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

ASTI and TUI say ‘significant aspects’ of latest proposals unacceptable to teachers

The aim of the divestment process had been to transfer patronage from the Catholic Church to other patrons to create more diversity. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Despite divestment plan Catholic Church still controls more than 90% of primary schools

Decision to postpone introduction of more equitable system criticised by Down Syndrome Ireland

Since late last year the Department of Education has working to implement a new system of allocating resources that would allow pupils with special educational needs gain access to extra teaching resources without having to get a diagnosis of disability.

Reforms were aimed at combating ‘inequitable’ allocation of resources

The unending masks of love: Lady Gaga’s Poker Face

A philosophical tip for St Valentine’s Day: ‘You can very easily talk yourself out of love,’ says philosopher Noel Kavanagh

The Dublin bid of DIT, IT Blanchardstown and IT Tallaght for technological university status will cost €24 million to implement. Photograph: Dara MacDónaill

Under the Technological Universities Bill, the merged educational bodies will adopt an interim name

Future of education: Teachers at a session of Féilte, the Teaching Council’s annual teaching festival, last year. Photograph: Conor McCabe

The council wants to get teachers to buy in to continuing professional development and regulation. But how will it do that when it(...)

Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan: The Teachers’ Union of Ireland is to seek a meeting with the Minister to discuss its concerns. Photograph: Dara MacDonaill/The Irish Times

Union has ‘no confidence’ in €6.7m merger plan for Munster Technological University

Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan. A study has found that the majority of Leaving Certs students back the Minister’s plans for exam reforms. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Majority of final years want continuous assessment but Junior Certs less certain

NUI Galway and DCU have come out with top marks in a new European ranking measuring the international orientation of higher education institutions.

Two of five Irish insitutions get four As, putting them in same league as Oxford, says study

43 per cent of nine to 16-year-olds don’t know how to report abuse online, survey reveals

 Secondary school teachers at Newpark Comprehensive in Blackrock, Co Dublin picket outside the school last month over planned junior cycle reforms. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Teacher unions agree to consider recommendations of talks chairman

Two non-religious patrons selected for schools opening next September

Minister for Education and Skills Jan O’Sullivan. Her department said she “will continue her predecessor’s efforts to impress on congregations the need to increase their contributions to achieve that [50:50]target.” Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Congregations need to make up more than €500m to meet target

Correspondence between religious  congregations and the Department of Education, obtained by The Irish Times under the Freedom of Information Act, shows the  orders are taking a firm line against further contributions that would meet the Government’s target of an equal sharing of redress costs. File photograph: Reuters

Only €81m in cash from church bodies towards abuse compensation

Segment 1 of the “leaky pipeline”, produced by the UK Equality Challenge Unit, characterises the loss of women at consecutive academic career stages in Irish universities. Scoll right for segment 2

Colleges subject to robust rating in attempt to address claims of ‘systematic biases’

Third-level chief says creation of two technological universities to cost €30 million

Drop-out rates at secondary level have hit a new low with nine out of 10 students on average making it through to the Leaving Certificate.Photograph: Bryan O’Brien / The Irish Times

Completion rate in disadvantaged areas rise by 14 points in seven years to 82%

In the Census, conducted by the Central Statistics Office, there are four main headings for ethnic or cultural background. Photograph: The Irish Times

Optional document will be downloadable from department website, education.ie

Photograph: Thinkstock

An INTO survey found 44% of members had been bullied or harassed at work

Parents of children born outside of Ireland have complained that the only “Irish” category included on the questionnaire for a planned online database for primary schools is “White Irish”. File photograph: Getty Images

Only ‘Irish’ category included on the school questionnaire is ‘White Irish’

Stamp of genius: a Rwandan postage stamp in honour of the scientist

Evolution would not have become so contentious had Charles Darwin’s findings come later, argues Prof Peter J Bowler

Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan has indicated her willingness to consider any proposal from talks chairman Pauric Travers. Photograph: Eric Luke

Department of Education asks chairman to draw up compromise junior cycle plan

A total of 74,499 applications had been received by the CAO at its deadline on Sunday, up from 73,063 in 2014 and 71,151 the previous year

Higher birth rate will see second-level enrolment up from 338,000 in 2014 to 405,000 in 2025

Protests at Newpark Comprehensive, Newtownpark Ave, Blackrock, Co Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Talks aimed at averting a third day of strike action

President of St Patrick’s College Drumcondra Daire Keogh in the new library: ‘The beauty of the library is that it will engage with the city; the college was behind the wall for a long time.’  Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

New library opens next week under €50m development as college prepares for merger

Anyone working in teaching has to be registered with the council at an initial cost of at least €90.

Regulatory body warns UK graduates that shortfalls in qualifications ‘are likely to be significant’

Bishop Paul Colton of Cork, Cloyne and Ross: Recommended the establishment of a national forum. Photograph: Moya Nolan

Opting out of faith formation classes in schools ‘not practicable’ for myriad reasons

The next step: applicants who do not process their application in advance of the February 1st deadline can submit a late application at an increased fee. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Central Applications Office applications submitted on time avoid added fees

Minister for Education and Skills Jan O’Sullivan: “The current system has not been fulfilling our need for relevant and timely information to ensure the educational welfare of all of our children.” Photograph: Aidan Crawley/The Irish Times

Minister Jan O’Sullivan announces training of leaders and defends database of children

Philip Irwin (left), president of the ASTI and Gerry Quinn, president of the TUI, with members picketing in December. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Unions and Department of Education met for eight hours and may reach compromise

Over 800 principals and deputy principals have been  surveyed - three-quarters from primary level and a quarter from secondary - by Associate Professor Philip Riley, of Australian Catholic University. Those in leadership roles typically worked well above their core hours, his research found. File photograph: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

Study carried out for IPPN identifies ‘sheer quantity of work’ as biggest source of stress

Jan O’Sullivan: “The mental health and well-being of our children is critical to success in school and life.” Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

‘Listening to voice of the child’ considered essential for progressive development

Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan has signalled a willingness to make further concessions to teacher unions in talks today to avert a third strike date.  Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Minister hopes to ‘be able to find some space in which to reach agreement’ with unions

The Department of Education: There are no strict guidelines for managing external speakers in schools but best practice decrees parents would be informed in advance

Postponement of workshop on combating homophobic bullying drew much criticism

The principle of freedom of conscience is as important as majority decision-making. Photograph: Getty Images

Unthinkable: Children have a right not to be indoctrinated, argues professor of philosophy Desmond M Clarke, and schools that disc(...)

Fr Michael Drumm of the Catholic Schools Partnership was asked whether issues surrounding LGBT rights might surface in a job interview

A nun asking a candidate "what about the homos?" will take some beating

Cork Institute of Technology: an anonymous whistleblower wrote to the Public Accounts Committee last March questioning spending on consultancy fees and standards of corporate governance at the college.

Paintings of president and chairman commissioned for €22,000 in 2007

Fine Gael TD John Deasy: ‘Nobody seems to know what is going on in these institutions.’ Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Merging institutes in university bid need to show more ‘loyalty’, says expert group

Secondary school teachers at Newpark Comprehensive, Blackrock, Co Dublin, picket outside the school over planned junior cycle reforms. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Ireland ‘unique globally’ in having unions against internal assessment for junior cycle

“There is a new reality that has to be addressed. One third of couples are getting married in non-religious ceremonies. It’s reasonable to ask what sort of schools they want for their children.” File photograph:  Dave Thompson/PA Wire

Church control of schools causing children to have ‘pragmatic baptisms’, says group

Claire Grant of the ASTI and Jimmy Kelly of the TUI,  teachers at Newpark Comprehensive, Blackrock, picketing outside the school over planned junior cycle reforms. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Hawks in the teaching unions have the upper hand but compromise is possible

Secondary school teachers at St David’s CBS, Artane, Dublin, outside the school yesterday.   Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Unions say solution possible but only if school-based assessments scrapped

 Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan said it would be in everybody’s interest that the fitness-to-teach hearings were held in public. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times.

Jan O’Sullivan’s announcement marks her strong stance on key policy issues

Jim O’Neill of ASTI joined other secondary school picketing teachers at St David’s CBS Artane, Dublin, on Thursday morning. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Minister says parents and students should have ‘equal recognition’ in deciding policy

Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan  has decided that new ‘fitness to teach’ hearings will be held in public. Photograph: Eric Luke/THE IRISH TIMES

Minister overrules Teaching Council’s advice on new professional practice inquiries

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