13 November, 2015 - New language curriculum for youngest primary school children announced

Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan has approved a new language curriculum for primary schools.

The new curriculum will see the same structure applied to both English and Irish for the first time. It will focus on the development of oral language, reading and writing skills.  The new curriculum is specifically designed for young children in junior infants through to 2nd class.    

According to Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan, “This is a very significant and welcome reform of how our youngest pupils learn their language skills. For the first time, there will be no distinction in how the teaching and learning in English and Irish are approached as languages.  The new curriculum establishes very clear learning outcomes and development milestones for our young children through both languages.”

From September 2016, the focus will be on the implementation of the oral language strand, with the following year seeing the focus on the new reading and writing strands as they are brought on stream.  By September 2018 all strands of the new curriculum will be taught to our young children in junior infants to 2nd classes.

A new curriculum for children in 3rd through to 6th class is currently in preparation, and this will be introduced in September 2019.

“This is significant reform and it is vital that school leaders and teachers are given the necessary Continuous Professional Development (CPD) to allow them to implement the new curriculum and ensure that our young learners benefit to the maximum extent.  To facilitate this important professional development schools will close for one additional day in each of the next three school years.  While this may prove inconvenient for some parents the long-term benefits of bedding down the new language curriculum are immense.  The success of any curriculum change relies on dedicated, engaged teachers. It is important that they receive the CPD necessary to deliver this new language curriculum to our young children.”


Note for Editors:

A circular detailing the main points of the new primary language curriculum will issue to schools today and is available: Primary Language Curriculum - Infants to second class.The new primary language curriculum will be available online in mid-December at www.curriculumonline.ie