Guidance on Preparation for Teaching and Learning

To support teachers in primary and special schools with their preparation for teaching and learning across both the 1999 Primary Curriculum and the new Primary Language Curriculum, guidance has been developed through a collaboration led by the Department of Education and involving schools/teachers, the NCCA, the NCSE, and the PDST.

The Guidance aims to support all teachers and school leaders by providing a renewed understanding of how planning and preparation for teaching and learning is demonstrated in the classroom.

Download Preparation for Teaching and Learning - Guidance for All Primary and Special Schools here.

Videos to support the guidance can be found on the NCCA website here:

Update on Sustained Support for Primary Language Curriculum / Curaclam Teanga na Bunscoile – Letter to Schools 12/04/2021

Letter to schools 12/04/2021 – Sustained Support for PLC/CTB and Guidelines on Preparation for Teaching and Learning

The Primary School Curriculum was launched in 1999 by the NCCA (National Council for Curriculum and Assessment).

The curriculum is presented in six curriculum areas which are further broken down into eleven subjects :

The curriculum includes the child-centred principles of its predecessor, Curaclam na Bunscoile (1971).  It identifies three key aims of primary education:

  • to enable the child to live a full life as a child and to realise his or her potential as a unique individual
  • to enable the child to develop as a social being through living and co-operating with others and so contribute to the good of society
  • to prepare the child for further education and lifelong learning.

Draft Primary Curriculum Framework

The NCCA published the Draft Primary Curriculum Framework for consultation in February 2020. Drawing on work with the Schools Forum, research, and work with education partners and wider stakeholders, the draft framework sets out proposals for the redevelopment of the primary curriculum. The impact of COVID-19 required changes to the consultation timeline with a revised two-phased approach agreed upon and put in place. Phase one closed at the end of January 2021 with the intention that phase two will run from September – December 2021, concentrating on re-engagement with teachers, school leaders, parents and children.                                                                                                

During phase two, schools will have opportunities to contribute through:

  • focus groups
  • an online questionnaire
  • written submissions
  • consultation materials for school-based workshops.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­In addition, the NCCA has commissioned a consultation with children which will take place in the next school year and ensure that children’s voices are central to the finalisation of the draft framework. You can access the framework and details of the consultation at

Feedback from teachers, school leaders, parents and children during the consultation in autumn 2021 will play an important role in finalising the details within the Primary Curriculum Framework. Upon completion in 2022, this framework will then guide the NCCA’s work in developing a specification for each curriculum area. A timeline for the introduction of the redeveloped curriculum will be set out by the Department of Education.

The NCCA will disseminate updates on the consultation through e-bulletins and You can sign up for these here:

 The Primary Language Curriculum/Curaclam Teanga na Bunscoile

The Primary Language Curriculum/Curaclam Teanga na Bunscoile for stages 1–4 (junior infants to sixth class) was published in September 2019.

The curriculum is supported by an online Primary Language Toolkit/Uirlisí Úsáide Teanga na Bunscoile. The toolkit has recently been updated and now includes additional Support Information, related to the Examples of Children’s Learning/Samplaí d’Fhoghlaim Teanga na bPáistí, and which include detail on the classroom context presented in the Examples, as well as the choices made by the teacher in preparing, teaching and assessing children’s learning. These might be particularly useful as teachers engage with the curriculum at a whole-school level. The toolkit also presents newly developed Support Materials for teachers/Ábhar Tacaíochta do Mhúinteoirí supporting Irish in English-medium school, Digital Literacy, and Linguistic Diversity through the curriculum. The design of the Progression Continua/Contanaim Dul chun Cinn has also been updated to support teachers as they work with the learning outcomes of the curriculum. You can access the online curriculum and toolkit by visiting

New Primary Mathematics Curriculum

The new Primary Mathematics Curriculum for stages 1–4 (junior infants to sixth class) is being developed by the NCCA. This work draws on consultation findings (NCCA, 2018), work with schools, and research. Recently, a series of five short research papers focusing on mathematical teaching and learning in the senior classes of primary school have been published. Covering the five key mathematical areas of Algebra, Data and Chance, Number, Measures, and Shape and Space, these papers add to the research base that supports the development of the new primary maths curriculum. They can be accessed on NCCA’s website at:

Like the Primary Language Curriculum/Curaclam Teanga na Bunscoile, the new mathematics curriculum will use learning outcomes to describe children’s mathematical learning at the end of a period of time. Support materials are being developed to aid teachers in working with the new Primary Mathematics Curriculum when it is published. Further work on the draft will take account of findings from the consultation on the Draft Primary Curriculum Framework.


Department's Curriculum & Assessment Policy Unit