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Minister to teachers: 'Call off your strike' ... Teachers to minister: 'No'
The strike’s set to go ahead next Tuesday. And neither side is backing down.

Updated at 10.43pm

WITH JUST A week to go until next Tuesday’s planned strike by secondary teachers, it appears neither side is backing down.

Teaching unions, the ASTI and the TUI, insisted in a joint statement this evening that their action would go ahead as planned next week.

And they rejected suggestions from the Education Minister that they had been unwilling to compromise on their demands on Junior Cycle reform.

Earlier, Minister Jan O’Sullivan said there was “a fair and reasonable offer on the table in relation to Junior Cycle reform”.

“I have moved a significant distance to address the legitimate concerns of education partners while still maintaining the integrity of Junior Cycle reform,” O’Sullivan insisted. 

I have demonstrated the willingness to compromise to bring about an agreement, unfortunately to date the union side has steadfastly failed to move.

The two sides have been at an impasse since the unions rejected compromises put forward by O’Sullivan earlier this month, saying the ‘internal assessment’ model proposed would not be workable. 

Under the Minister’s revised plan, teachers would still have to assess 40 per cent of a student’s work in awarding a grade, but a third-year exam would still account for 60 per cent of a grade.

“It is misleading for the Minister to state that the unions have ‘steadfastly failed to move’,” ASTI President Philip Irwin said in the unions’ statement.

We have supported a move away from a single terminal exam and the inclusion of portfolios and project work etc.

“In addition, teachers have implemented a wide range of changes to the Junior Cycle curriculum over the last 10 years, and will continue to do so.”

Meanwhile, TUI President Gerry Quinn insisted:

Despite the Minister’s decision to change the original proposals, the introduction of 40 per cent school based assessment would compromise the credibility and transparency of the examinations process.

“A system of teachers assessing their own students for state exam purposes will significantly change the relationship between the teacher and student.”

The unions’ joint statement concluded:

Twenty-seven thousand teachers who are members of the ASTI and the TUI will engage in a one day strike on Tuesday, December 2. A further strike day will take place in January 2015, a date to be decided.

Additional reporting: Daragh Brophy.

Opinion: Changes to the Junior Cycle will produce a creative, proactive generation

Read: Secondary teachers are going on strike in December>


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