Jan O’Sullivan and teachers’ unions to discuss compromise

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

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.

Secondary schools were closed last Thursday in what was the second one-day strike action by teachers over planned junior cycle reforms.

Ms O’Sullivan has already watered down the plan by her predecessor, Ruairí Quinn, to have teachers assess students for 100 per cent of marks for the new Junior Cycle Student Award.

Under her revised plan, their assessments would go towards 40 per cent of marks with the remaining 60 per cent coming from exams.


Speaking to The Irish Times, the Minister said “the last time we met at least there were some at least germs of ideas that might help us to reach agreement”. Asked whether she would still be insisting on the 40 per cent figure, she replied: “I need the concept of school-based assessment with teacher involvement to be part of what’s agreed, and I’ve made that clear from a long time now . . . I think probably that’s the starting point and I hope that we will be able to find some space in which to reach agreement.”

Joe Humphreys

Joe Humphreys

Joe Humphreys is an Assistant News Editor at The Irish Times and writer of the Unthinkable philosophy column