Revision of Leaving Cert syllabuses - phase 2


NEW Leaving Certificate syllabuses in business studies and music will be introduced into schools in 1997. The target for 1996 is to train 2,000 business studies teachers and 300 music teachers.

In service training for seven new Leaving Certificate syllabuses caused extensive disruption in schools last year, but a new model of in service delivery may help avert similar problems this year.

A small group of practising teachers, chosen on the basis of "geographical location as well as of professional excellence", will be released from their schools for the two coming school years to provide school based training. Meanwhile, an information package will be delivered to all schools by autumn this year. This will comprise an audio tape informing schools of the change in syllabus; copies of the revised syllabus; teachers' guidelines produced as self instructional texts and videos of good practice in the teaching of business and music.

Paul Doyle, principal officer with the Department of Education's in career development unit, explains that this is an attempt to separate the information giving from the real training. A phone or fax service will be available to answer teachers and principals' queries.

Trainers will then visit the school for a half day or a full day's school based training. It is envisaged that there will be "marginal disruption of the work of a school on the days on which the trainers are working with teachers in a specific curricular area. Networking of teachers in a town or geographical area will be organised by the regional trainers, possibly in the teachers' own time. The programme will be administered by Waterford Education Centre.

Introduction of new programmes

THE approach to the introduction new programmes, as opposed to the revision of existing ones, is to continue to provide face to face training rather than distance delivery.

Relationships and sexuality education is to be introduced at all levels of primary school so training will be provided for every member of staff in each school. The target for 1996 is to train 20,000 teachers.

A circular has been sent to national schools advising them that a training day will be organised for each primary teacher and that training will take place between April 15th and the end of the school year. The circular states that it will be necessary for schools to close to facilitate this training day and that further training will be provided at a later stage.

At post primary level there will be an information day on RSE for principals and vice principals during the summer term. It is anticipated that 800 second level teachers will receive two days' RSE training this year. Training and support for the RSE programmes operates from the Drumcondra Teachers' Centre, Dublin, and the national co ordinator for the programme is based there. The network of education centres will be involved in local delivery arrangements.

The new civic, social and political education programme will be phased in to the junior cycle of second level schools over the next two years.

Three hundred schools will introduce the programme in September this year. This will also involve two days' training for teachers with attendance by principals for a half day.

A national co ordinator will be appointed and the proposed delivery will be similar to the Transition Year model involving school based in career development, training and support. The programme will be administered by the West Dublin Teachers' Centre.