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Hundreds of teachers won't be trained for the new English curriculum by September

It has prompted renewed calls from the opposition for changes to the Junior Cycle to be delayed.

Image: student via Shutterstock

ONE-IN-TEN TEACHERS WILL not have completed a training course in the new Junior Cycle English course by the time schools reopen in September.

They will instead have to rely on online supports, resource packs, and video materials for guidance on implementing the programme.

This has prompted renewed calls from the opposition to delay the implementation of the new curriculum.

Responding to questions from Fianna Fáil’s education spokesperson Charlie McConalogue, Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan told the Dáil that “up to 4,814 English teachers attended continuing professional development during 2013 and 2014,” referring to the Junior Cycle for Teachers (JCT) training programme.

This equates to “90% of English teachers registered with the junior cycle for teachers support service”.

Minister O’Sullivan was not prepared to give any commitments in advance of talks with stakeholders, but said she is “eager that all voices in education are heard on the matter of junior cycle reform and I am anxious to have a meaningful dialogue with teacher unions on this vital issue.

It is clear a significant number of our schools, their teachers and their leaders, are interested in implementing the new framework.

“In addition, new members are being added to the junior cycle for teachers support service team this autumn.”

In a statement last night, McConalgoue branded it as “unacceptable” that 10% had not completed the course.

He recommended that O’Sullivan “delay the introduction of the new English syllabus by twelve months and instead bring it in alongside the planned introduction of the new science curriculum in September 2015″.

This would see no delay in the completion time for reforms but would give the necessary space to ensure all teachers complete the required training.

He added that the recent appointment of O’Sullivan to the position was a “fresh start for the Department” after Ruairí Quinn’s “dictatorial approach”.

Responding to queries from this website, the Department of Education confirmed that the remaining 10% of teachers will not have completed the training course by September.

A spokesperson said:

“They may avail of the online supports provided by the Junior Cycle for Teachers support service, including material from the first workshop, a Resource Pack for teachers of English, Planning and Assessment material and videos demonstrating teaching strategies, as well as attending in- school CPD, whole- school CPD and the second workshop during the next academic year.”

Only English will be adopt a reformed curriculum in September for students sitting the Junior Cycle Student Award in 2017.

New specifications for these remaining subjects will be introduced on a phased basis between now and September 2019.

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Nicky Ryan

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