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Dublin: 13 °C Tuesday 2 September, 2014

4.5 days: The amount of training English teachers will get for junior cycle reform

Education Minister Ruairí Quinn said he “would’ve loved” if the working group on junior certificate reform could have met last year but ASTI made that impossible.

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ENGLISH TEACHERS WILL get four and a half days of training as part of changes to the English syllabus in new the Junior Cycle Student Award.

Education Minister Ruairí Quinn told the Dáil this afternoon that three days had initially been allocated for the training but that this had been increased by a day and a half.

Quinn said that the first meeting of the working group on junior certificate reform took place last Friday and it is expected that the group will meet every three to four weeks during to preparation for the introduction of the new JCSA.

Quinn said that he “would’ve loved if the the first meeting (of the working group) could have taken place last June” but that this was not possible because “one of the unions found themselves on the other side of the Haddington Road agreement”.

The ASTI had at first rejected the agreement but reversed that decision in December.

But on the new JCSA proposals both the ASTI and the TUI are to ballot their members on non-cooperation.

Fianna Fáil TD Charlie McConalogue told the Minister that the reforms had to be done “in partnership not conflict” and accused him of telling teachers about plans without consultation.

“You described that as a personal political project, that’s not what reform is supposed to be about,” he alleged.

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Education Minister Ruairí Quinn answering questions today. (Pic: Oireachtas / Screengrab)

8-9 months

The minister said that the the working group also will also have number of sub-groups to allow for discussion of proposals

I am prepared to continue to talk to teachers, we will continue to talk. It’s is 8-9 months when English students will begin the new cycle. In June 2017 they will sit down and do a paper from the state examinations commission that will account for 60 per cent of the mark.

Quinn described the process as “measured steady progress in a radical direction”.

The minister compared the changes to the junior cycle and the proposed removal of a state exam to the removal of the state exams for primary school students in the 1960s.

“I took the decision that it this day and age we don’t need a state examination at the age of 15 because we don’t want students to leave school at 15.”

“The decision to change the state exam to an in-house exam was absolutely central to delivering reforms,” he added.

Read: Quinn urged to enter mediation talks with teachers over junior cycle reform >

Read: ASTI and TUI to ballot members on non-cooperation with new Junior Cert >

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