Education Minister meets teachers to discuss Junior Cycle reforms

Education Minister Jan O'Sullivan

Education Minister Jan O'Sullivan has held a "constructive" meeting with secondary teachers' unions to hear their concerns about Junior Cycle reforms.

During the discussions, which were her first engagement with the ASTI and the TUI since she became minister, the unions outlined their concerns in relation to aspects of the proposed reforms, while underlining teacher support for reforms that will lead to better outcomes for students.

Members of the ASTI will vote this month on escalating their action against the reforms, among which is the requirement for teachers to mark their own students' Junior Cert exam papers.

Minister O'Sullivan said she has heard their concerns, and the meeting concluded with agreement to reconvene in mid-October.

“I want to welcome the positive engagement I had with both ASTI and TUI this morning," the Minister said.

"All sides recognised that reform has begun with the introduction of a revised English specification in all schools last week, but that further work is required to reach agreement on the overall reforms.”

"I will use the coming weeks to reflect on the concerns which were raised by teacher representatives, and to consider what different forms of engagement might be considered to facilitate an overall agreement between the two sides.”

John MacGabhann, General Secretary of the TUI, explained what concerns teachers outlined during today's talks.

""We want the the maintenance of standards," Mr MacGabhann said.

"We want the transparency of the public examination system to continue; we want to ensure that quality and equity is ensured.

"And to that end, it's our view that the Junior Cycle must include national certification based on external assessment."

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