14 July, 2015 - Minister Jan O'Sullivan, TD Minister for Education and Skills announces agreement concluded on all aspects of Junior Cycle Reform

Minister Announces Agreement Concluded on all Aspects of Junior Cycle Reform

The Minister for Education, Jan O’Sullivan, TD, today announced that she has briefed Cabinet colleagues that agreement on all aspects of Junior Cycle reform has been concluded with the Teachers’ Union of Ireland and the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland.  Her Department will publish an updated Framework for Junior Cycle (2015) shortly which will incorporate all the agreed provisions for Junior Cycle.

The teacher unions will put the agreed proposals to a ballot of their members in September.

According to Minister O’Sullivan, “Following intensive discussions over recent weeks an agreement on time and resources for the implementation of the reformed Junior Cycle was reached last Wednesday, 8th July. 

“This agreement, together with the Joint Statement on Principles and Implementation which was agreed in May will now be balloted on by the teacher unions in September.”

Minister O’Sullivan said that the reformed Junior Cycle will deliver a modernised curriculum across all subjects; and both classroom-based assessment and examinations will help to ensure a learner experience appropriate to the needs of the 21st century.

“Through the new Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement students, parents and guardians will receive a much broader picture of the young person’s learning achievements throughout the Junior Cycle.

“The embedding of classroom-based assessment and formative assessment for learning represents a major culture change for teachers and schools.

“Therefore, implementing Junior Cycle will require significant capacity building through a high-quality CPD programme for teachers and dedicated professional time to support implementation.

“I am committed to ensuring that teachers will have the necessary professional time and resources to implement the new Junior Cycle successfully and the agreement with the teacher unions consolidates that commitment.

“I am also confident that the new Junior Cycle will build on the many excellent practices in curriculum and assessment that are implemented by our teachers every day in schools throughout the country.

The phasing of Junior Cycle has already commenced with English; and the subjects Science and Business are being introduced from September 2016.

“The work of school leadership is a vital element of the implementation plan for Junior Cycle. The culture change needed to implement the new curriculum programmes successfully and to embed formative classroom-based assessment is significant.

“The high-quality leadership that we have in our schools will be vital in making this reform happen and ensuring better outcomes for learners.

“I am committed to ensuring that the Junior Cycle is well supported and resourced and that the CPD for school leaders and teachers will be of very high quality.

“In addition, I will be engaging with the management bodies for schools and with representatives of school leaders immediately, to ensure that, as implementation rolls out and by September 2017, school managements have the supports necessary to coordinate the Junior Cycle at whole-school level, to promote the development of new approaches to learning and teaching and to embed classroom-based assessment successfully.

I look forward to progressing Junior Cycle reform successfully in collaboration with teachers and school management – and, of course, with parents and students.”

Note for Editors:

Appendix to Joint Statement on Principles and Implementation, Professional Time to Support Implementation.

An extensive CPD programme for teachers, which will provide up to 16 in-service days for the typical teacher during the course of implementation of the new programme is in place.  Teachers will be released from school to complete this in-service training and substitute teachers will be employed to replace them.

In addition the new agreement on resources will see full-time teachers spending 22 hours of professional time a year on aspects of Junior Cycle implementation.

These time allocations will commence fully in the 2017/18 school year.

In the meantime English teachers will be provided with 10 hours professional time in the 2015/16 school year and 14 hours in the 2016/17 school year.

Science and Business teachers will be provided with eight hours in 2016/17.