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Jan O'Sullivan is 'absolutely determined' to continue Junior Cert reform despite union opposition

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the classroom…
Sep 24th 2015, 9:25 PM 18,147 100

Updated 9.25pm

THE COUNTRY’S LARGEST second-level teaching union, the ASTI, has voted to reject the latest Junior Cycle proposals, but it looks unlikely to detail the reforms.

Members of the Teachers’ Union of Ireland have decided to accept them.

Plans by former education minister Ruairí Quinn to bring in a level of in-school assessment for Junior Cycle students kicked off a major row with teachers.

A proposed compromise was eventually reached after a long, public battle between unions and the Department that included strike action.

The ASTI confirmed today that the proposals had been rejected by 55% to 45%.

‘Disappointing’

Speaking to RTE’s Six One this evening, Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan said the result was “very disappointing”, given that the TUI had supported it by such a wide margin with many members voting in the ballot, while the ASTI was the direct opposite.

“I certainly hope the unions will reflect on this,” she added, stressing the impact it will have on parents and students.

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The Minister said all that money and training is available to ensure schools are ready for the reform, and retained her strong support for the changes regardless of the opposition:

I’m absolutely determined that we will go ahead with this reform that has long been needed in the Irish education system.

In a statement, union president Máire Ní Chiarba said ASTI members were concerned about the lack of clarity in the latest plans.

“Teachers needed far more clarity and detail about how the process will operate in reality,” she said, adding:

ASTI members are committed to educationally sound reform of the Junior Cycle.

“We have participated in a robust campaign including two days of strike action which led to significant advances in negotiations.

“The ASTI will now engage with its members in order to consider how best to pursue the outstanding concerns of teachers.”

The ASTI represents 18,000 second-level teachers.

The TUI, which has around 15,000 members, confirmed in a tweet that members had voted to accept the proposals.

Originally published 12.07pm. Additional reporting by Nicky Ryan.

Opinion: Can we really trust that Junior Cycle reform isn’t linked to the austerity agenda? >

Read: Schools will have to cap the number of past pupils’ children they admit >

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Daragh Brophy

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