Minister: New junior cycle will go ahead, and I'll meet teachers later

The Education Minister said the new revised Junior Cert will go ahead in September and she intends to hold talks with teachers about it.

TUI and ASTI members have threatened further industrial action over the changes, which they say are educationally unsound, and they’re urging the Minister to hold meaningful negotiations with them.

Jan O’Sullivan said she plans to meet unions and parent groups in early September, and the revised Junior Cert English programme will go ahead.

"This is a reform that has been in the making for a long time - it [was] recommended many, many years ago," she said.

"It is a gradual process. I do acknowledge that there's a need for engagement, particularly with the teachers' unions, in terms of how we move forward from here.

"But I do think it's important to make that first step in September. I do intend to begin."

In April, a survey carried out by the ASTI union found just one in ten teachers believed schools were ready to teach a new Junior Cycle. 77% wanted the modifications to be delayed by a year to allow time for planning.

Since then, teachers' unions have been seeking a meeting with then-Education Minister Ruairi Quinn, who had said that unions cannot be allowed to block reforms.

Those talks never took place. After Deputy Quinn was replaced by O'Sullivan in the recent Cabinet reshuffle, teachers renewed their calls for a meeting with the Minister.

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