10 April, 2019 - Minister McHugh announces appointment of new National Council for Curriculum and Assessment

Minister announces appointment of Professor Mary O’Sullivan as Chairperson Designate

The Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh T.D. today announced the appointment of the new National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) for a three year term until 28th February 2022.

The NCCA advises the Minister for Education and Skills on curriculum and assessment from early childhood to the end of second level. It engages with learners, teachers, practitioners, parents and others to support innovation in schools and other educational settings. It undertakes, uses and shares research as a basis for advice and debate on education.

The process through which the NCCA generates its advice and proposals is collaborative, consultative and representative. It is required to consult with the partners in education, to engage in research, take account of international practice, and develop and review curricula, having regard to the promotion of high standards of quality, equity and inclusion, sound educational practice and relevance to national, social, cultural and economic objectives.

The Minister also announced the appointment of a new Chairperson Designate, Professor Mary O’Sullivan.

Minster McHugh said: “I am delighted to announce the appointment of the new National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA). The work of the NCCA is pivotal in the development, planning and reviewing of curriculum and assessment provision in schools.”

The Minister added: “Under the Chairmanship of Professor Mary O’Sullivan, teacher educator at the University of Limerick with a long and distinguished career in Education both nationally and internationally, I am confident that the work of the NCCA will continue to flourish.”

The Minister thanked the outgoing members of the NCCA including the Chairperson Brigid McManus for their dedication and work over the last 3 years.

Nominating Body


Minster for Education and Skills (PAS process)

Prof. Mary O’Sullivan, Chair Designate

Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO)

*Deirbhile Nic Craith, Vice Chairperson,

Joint Managerial Body (JMB)

*Michael Redmond, Vice Chairperson

Minster for Education and Skills (PAS process)

Teresa Hagan

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (PAS process)

Phil Lynch

State Examinations Commission (SEC)

*Tim Desmond

Education and Training Boards Ireland (ETBI)

Anne McHugh

Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI)

*David Duffy

Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI)

Liz Farrell


Joe McKeown


Carmel Browne

Association of Secondary Teachers of Ireland  (ASTI)

*Máire Ní Chiarba 

Association of Secondary Teachers of Ireland  (ASTI)


Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU)

Brian Tubbert


Patricia Gordon

National Parents Council (Post-primary)

Geoff Browne

National Parents Council (Primary)

*Áine Lynch

National Association of Boards of Management in Special Education (NABMSE)

Finn Ó Murchú


Claire McGee

Catholic Primary School Management Association  (CPSMA)

Fergal Kelly

Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT)

*Michael Delargey

Department of Education and Skills

*Suzanne Dillon

Foras na Gaeilge

Edel Ní Chorráin

Church of Ireland Board of Education (CIBE)

Joyce Perdue

Association of Community and Comprehensive Schools (ACCS)

*Áine O’Sullivan




Notes for Editors:

The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA)

The Council comprises 25 members with 9 re-appointments and 14 new members including the Chair.   The NCCA was established under the Education Act 1998 and the object of the Council shall be to advise the Minister on matters relating to –

(a) the curriculum for early childhood education, primary and post-primary schools, and

(b) the assessment procedures employed in schools and examinations on subjects which are part of the curriculum.

The Council also has two sub-committees – an Audit and Risk Committee and a Governance Committee. As part of NCCA structures there are three Boards that report to the Council on Early Childhood and Primary, Junior Cycle and Senior Cycle. These three Boards are chaired by the two Deputy Chairs and another Council member.

Functions of the Council:

The Council is responsible for directing the NCCA’s activities, providing strategic guidance to the executive team and monitoring the effectiveness of management.

Appointment of nominated members to State Boards

The Guidelines on Appointments to State Boards specifies that there are certain exemptions relating to the appointment of persons to state boards including -

“Where an agreement or arrangement is in place under which Ministers seek nominations for appointment to State Boards from key stakeholder organisations (such as trade unions, employer organisations, farming representatives or voluntary bodies).”  

The new Chairperson designate, Professor Mary O’Sullivan, teacher educator at University of Limerick, has previously served on the Executive of the Teaching Council and on their Education Committee, and currently serves on the Medical Council with a focus on Education and Training. A former Post-Primary teacher in Cork, Professor O’Sullivan has among her many roles, served as Inaugural Dean of Education and Health Sciences at UL and Associate Dean of Education at Ohio State University. 

The NCCA currently has a full time executive staff of 44 led by the Chief Executive.

In 2019, the NCCA is grant funded by the Department in the amount of circa. €5.975m.

The website of the NCCA is available at www.ncca.ie

There are no fees payable to members of the Council.