School management body accuses teachers of blocking reforms

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

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.”

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.”

 

Secondary teacher unions are effectively blocking “valuable improvements in teaching and learning”, one of the country’s main school management bodies has said.

In a strongly worded criticism of the unions’ policy of non-cooperation with junior cycle reforms, the Association of Community and Comprehensive Schools warned that subject teachers are now “operating in a vacuum” without proper training.

Eileen Salmon, general secretary of the association, which represents principals and boards of management at 95 post-primary schools, said: “Our greatest sense of frustration this year is around junior cycle reform.

“The directives from the two teacher unions prohibiting participation in in-service training and new learning programmes have been a backward step for our schools.”

Speaking ahead of of the association’s annual meeting in Galway this weekend, she said: “We are frustrated in not being able to bring in valuable improvements in teaching and learning with the key skills. However, the biggest frustration and greatest worry is with the industrial action that has taken place in our schools.”

Rejected compromise plan

Dr Pauric Travers

However, Ms Salmon said: “Our English teachers who are working with a new syllabus in first year are essentially operating in a vacuum, and with no in-service on the new Science syllabus, due to start in September 2015 for first year, it is hard to see how this can proceed with any hope of successful implementation.

“Teachers are key to the successful introduction of the new type of teaching and learning envisaged in the junior cycle framework and without their co-operation it won’t happen.”

“We are now at a crossroads in relation to Junior Cycle reform. We either engage with the Travers’ proposals and put the necessary safeguards and resources in place or we risk unrest and untold damage to students and the education system,” Ms Salmon said.