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The Curriculum in National Schools

Under the Education Act, 1998, the Minister for Education and Science may set down the curriculum for recognised schools. The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment was established as a statutory body in July 2001 and its function is to advise the Minister of Education and Science in matters relating to the curriculum for early childhood education, primary and post-primary schools, and the assessment procedures employed in schools and examinations on subjects that are part of the curriculum. This includes the subjects to be offered, the syllabus for each subject and the guidance and counselling provision to be offered.

The 1999 Primary School Curriculum

A new curriculum was introduced in national schools in September 1999. This is known as the revised primary school curriculum or the 1999 curriculum.

Content of Curriculum

The primary school curriculum consists of 6 curriculum areas that are further divided into 11 subjects. These are

Language: Gaeilge & English
Mathematics:
Social, Environmental and Scientific Education: History, Geography , Science
Arts Education: Music, Visual Arts, Drama
Physical Education
Social Personal and Health Education

There are guidelines on the time to be allocated to each of the curriculum areas.

Aims of Curriculum

The aims of the curriculum are to ensure that all children are provided with learning opportunities that recognise and celebrate their uniqueness, develop their full potential and prepare them to meet the challenges of the 21st century. The focus is on the child as learner, and the use of a variety of teaching methodologies is an essential feature of the curriculum.

The curriculum aims to foster the development of key skills in communication, problem-solving, critical thinking, inquiry, investigation and analysis, and social and personal awareness and interaction. In particular, it places key emphasis on the acquisition of literacy and numeracy skills.

The Structure of the Curriculum

The curriculum is set out in 23 documents, consisting of:

A Primary Curriculum introduction
11 curriculum statements
11 teacher guidelines

Each curriculum statement contains the rationale, aims, objectives, structured content and assessment approaches for each of the 4 class levels: infants; first and second; third and fourth and fifth and sixth. The teacher guidelines are designed to provide resource material to support teaching and learning.

Every teacher has received a copy of the full set of documents. The full set or individual documents can be purchased from the Government Publications Sales Office or downloaded from the NCCA’s website.

The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment has prepared a guide for parents that provides an outline of the broad content and emphases in the curriculum, as well as advice on how parents can support teaching and learning at home and in school.

Source and copyright Irish Government Website, Oasis - http://www.citizensinformation.ie/categories/education/primary-and-post-primary-education
See also http://www.curriculumonline.ie/en/Primary_School_Curriculum/