Unions still unhappy at planned Junior Cert reform

Meeting focused on concerns over credibility and integrity of school-based assessments

Pat King, general secretary of the ASTI:  ‘We are most concerned that almost 50 per cent of school principals surveyed have told us that their school has little to no capacity to implement Junior Cycle reform.’ Photograph:  Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

Pat King, general secretary of the ASTI: ‘We are most concerned that almost 50 per cent of school principals surveyed have told us that their school has little to no capacity to implement Junior Cycle reform.’ Photograph: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

 


Union dissatisfaction remains over the planned reform of the Junior Cert following a fresh round of meetings between union representatives and officials from the Department of Education and Skills.

The Teachers Union of Ireland and the Association of Secondary Teachers, Ireland held separate meetings yesterday, with both emerging afterwards to express their dissatisfaction.

This was the TUI’s third bilateral meeting on the issues involved in Junior Cycle reform. It focused on its concerns over the credibility and integrity of school-based assessments. These would be a requirement under proposals put by the department.

Its general secretary John MacGabhann challenged what it called “the false assumption that such significant and far-reaching reform can be implemented in circumstances where schools are denied the teaching and time resources that would be absolutely necessary”.


Deadline
He also raised doubts about being able to prepare for the changes in time to deliver the reforms by September 2014.

The ASTI met departmental officials yesterday afternoon and also emerged to express “serious concerns” about the reform.

“While the reform plans contain some positive initiatives, teachers have deep reservations about key aspects of the proposals, which they say will lead to a lowering of education standards and increased inequity between schools,” said ASTI general secretary Pat King.

The ASTI meeting was the first to arise following negotiations between the union and the department on the Haddington Road agreement, which was originally rejected by the union membership, the only public service union to do so.

The fresh negotiations earlier this month prompted a new ballot in exchange for concessions, including the decision to establish a working group on Junior Cycle reform .

“We are most concerned that almost 50 per cent of school principals surveyed have told us that their school has little to no capacity to implement Junior Cycle reform,” said Mr King.