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Majority of teachers say schools won't be able to cope with new Junior Cycle

Schools don’t have the capacity to deal with the changes due to be brought in this September, teachers said in a new survey.

Image: Classroom via Shutterstock

TEACHERS BELIEVE THAT schools across Ireland do not have the capacity for changes due to the Junior Cycle this September.

In a new Millward Brown survey, 89 per cent of teachers said this, with only 11 per cent of second-level teachers believing their school has good capacity to implement the new Framework for Junior Cycle.

The framework is being introduced by Education Minister Ruairí Quinn and is due to kick in this September.

In March, second-level teachers voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action in protest against the new Junior Cycle Student Award.

Survey

A total of 89 per cent of the teachers surveyed believe their school has limited, little or no capacity to implement the Junior Cycle changes proposed by Minister Quinn.

In addition, the majority of teachers surveyed (77 per cent) believe the framework should be deferred for one year to give schools time to plan.

ASTI General Secretary Pat King said that schools and teachers “are doing much more with much less”.

At a time of greatly diminished resources they are responding to the changing social and economic landscape and its manifestation in schools. For example, teachers are reporting an increase in the number of students experiencing mental health issues. Schools and teachers are also adapting to additional work demands in the form of approximately 20 new Department of Education and Skills’ initiatives and reforms.

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Morale

The survey also found that teacher morale has suffered a decline since the onset of the education cutbacks five years ago.

  • Only 44 per cent of teachers reported good to high levels of job satisfaction compared to 77 per cent five years ago
  • 81 per cent of teachers believe their work demands have increased significantly since the cutbacks began
  • Administration work, and taking part in inspections and evaluations, are the areas where teachers say demands have risen the most.
  • Teachers also report an increase in correcting and marking work due to larger class sizes
  • The key driver of teacher job satisfaction is “making a difference to students’ lives”
  • Key sources of dissatisfaction are demands which take away from direct contact with students, eg administrative duties and increased marking and preparation.

ASTI President Sally Maguire noted that a recent OECD PISA report found that Irish second-level students are amongst the world’s top performers in reading literacy, and are also performing significantly above the average in maths and science.

“What students need is Junior Cycle reform which builds on these strengths,” she said. “Teachers have no faith that the Minister’s Framework for Junior Cycle – in its current form and in the context of diminished resources in schools – can do this.”

Read: Teachers have voted for strike action against changes to the Junior Cert>

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