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Quinn 'regrets' teachers' decision to ballot for industrial action

27,000 ASTI and TUI members are to be balloted on non-co-operation with the new Junior Cycle.

Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn
Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

MINISTER FOR EDUCATION Ruairí Quinn has this evening expressed his “regret” that teachers are to ballot for industrial action over changes to the Junior Certificate curriculum.

Members of the Association of Secondary Teachers, Ireland (ASTI) and Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI), numbering some 27,000, are to be balloted over outstanding concerns relating to the new Junior Cycle Student Award.

The potential industrial action will consist of non-co-operation with aspects of the JCSA.

“I have listened to the concerns expressed by unions and others in relation to the new JCSA and I have made significant changes in terms of the main areas like pace of change, training for teachers, resources and moderation,” the Minister said,  calling for this work to be continued as part of the Working Group.

I hope they will not vote to disrupt students and schools through industrial action.

The Working Group last met earlier this month.

Outlining the changes already made following concerns from teachers over the curriculum change, he said that the changeover has been pushed back two years, and that only English will adopt the new curriculum in September.

He stressed that teachers will receive the necessary training.

The General Secretary of the ASTI Pat King said that teachers have “no confidence” in the reforms.

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“Educationally unsound”

He is citing a lack of consultation with teachers ahead of the changes, as well as fears that the JCSA will be ” educationally unsound”, as the reasons behind the ballot.

The TUI say that the lack of preparation for teachers will cause lasting damage to the education system.

“We believe that student achievement in the new Junior Cycle must be externally assessed and nationally certified by the State Examinations Commission,” he added.

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Nicky Ryan

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