New junior cycle proposals to be drawn up in bid to break impasse

Teacher unions agree to consider recommendations of talks chairman

 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

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

 

Secondary teacher unions have agreed to further talks aimed at breaking the impasse over junior cycle reforms.

The executive bodies of the ASTI and TUI, the two unions representing 27,000 second-level teachers, decided following separate meetings that they would engage with proposals to be drawn up next week by talks chairman Dr Pauric Travers.

This follows a marathon talks session last Monday which failed to achieve a breakthrough.

The unions said they had requested the terms of reference for Dr Travers be amended to allow him to bring forward “a range of possibilities which are non-binding which may form the basis for progress”.

They said: “Any such proposals must follow from further representations from TUI/ASTI with a view to clarifying our joint position.”

Dr Travers is expected to meet the unions and department of education officials next week to establish the grounds for a compromise plan, and to present these proposals within a matter of days.

Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan welcomed the unions’ decision to consider whatever proposals Dr Travers produces.

“I welcome this positive development. I have already indicated my willingness to consider proposals put forward by Dr Travers to resolve the current dispute and implement junior cycle reform. I look forward to receiving Dr Travers proposals.”

The teacher unions are threatening a third day of strike action in protest over the Minister’s plan to have teachers assess their own students for part of the new Junior Cycle Student Award.