Union says results reflect hard work of Irish primary teachers


Teachers’ union the INTO described the rankings on primary education as “a good news story for Irish education”.

General secretary Sheila Nunan said the test results reflected the hard work of Irish primary teachers, especially in the area of literacy and numeracy.

Ms Nunan said the results showed that, while there was no room for complacency, there were significant strengths in Irish primary education. In particular, Irish teachers could be proud of efforts to tackle educational disadvantage and improve literacy levels.

Ireland has not participated in any of the previous cycles of PIRLS, but did participate in the 1991 Reading Literacy Study, widely regarded as the precursor to PIRLS. The union has previously criticised Ireland’s limited participation in large international studies at primary level.

Seán Cottrell, director of the Irish Primary Principals Network, described the results as encouraging. “But they should be treated as a call to action rather than just a reason to rest on our laurels.”

He said Irish pupils, supported by quality leadership in our primary schools and capable teachers, were making the grade across literacy, maths and science. However, the fact that we still trailed other countries in these areas meant there was room for improvement.

“Sustained investment in our education system, particularly in curricular reform, continuous professional development and school leadership, will help us to keep improving outcomes and come out ahead of all our competitors in these studies.”