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Main Elements of New Junior Cycle Reform Announced

Posted by SchoolDays Newshound, on 22/05/2015. Main Elements of New Junior Cycle Reform AnnouncedTags: Education And Politics Teachers Parenting

The Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan TD, has welcomed the breakthrough in negotiations on junior cycle reform, following the publication today of proposals agreed between the Minister and the leadership of the two second-level teacher unions.

Underlying these proposals are Minister O’Sullivan’s five main principles which she stated must be the basis of any change:

1. The need to recognise a wide range of learning
2. A requirement to considerably reduce the focus on one terminal exam as a means of assessing our students
3. The necessity to give prominence and importance to classroom based assessment
4. Greater professional collaboration between teachers to be a feature of our schools
5. Both parents and students to get a broader picture of each student's learning throughout the whole of junior cycle

Both the Minister and the unions’ executives have agreed on these principles as the basis for agreement.
The main elements of the proposals for a reformed Junior Cycle are:

**A revised final exam will be marked by the State Examinations Commission (SEC)

**Subject teachers will assess students’ progress through Classroom-Based Assessments (CBAs), with one assessment event per subject in both second and third years.

**A written Assessment Task, based on the second CBA, will be completed in each subject in third year, marked by SEC and form part of the overall exam result.

**Students will study a maximum of ten subjects for State certification.

**A new subject, “Well-being”, will be studied by all students. This will encompass Physical Education, SPHE and CSPE. New courses will be available for each of these subject areas, and overall learning time will be 400 hours.

**Students can take short courses, which will be based on programmes developed by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) or schools themselves, require 100 hours of learning, and be assessed through Classroom-Based Assessment.

Following the completion of the three year Junior Cycle students will receive from their school a Profile of Achievement document which will record their progress in all areas, including the written exam, the Classroom-Based Assessments and other extra curricular activities.
An updated Junior Cycle Framework will be published by the end of June this year, providing full details of the possible combination of subjects and short courses.

Announcing her support for the changes, Minister O’Sullivan said: “I wholeheartedly recommend these revised proposals, and believe they merit the support of all involved in education in Ireland. They place the student at the centre of the learning process, and allow for new ways of learning to be properly assessed.

“Expanding the type of assessment and the skills to be assessed is central to junior cycle reform, and, through negotiation, we have been able to deliver the best of both worlds. Students will sit a valued written exam, and have much more of their development and progress measured through classroom assessment.

“All of these changes have been a long time coming, and I hope that with today’s announcement, we can move to implementing the measures that are needed to best serve our young people

Source: Press Release



(22-05-2015 16:44)

Joint ASTI / TUI Statement - May 22nd 2015

Teacher unions to ballot on new Junior Cycle proposals

The second-level teacher unions the ASTI and the TUI are to ballot their members on the new Junior Cycle proposals.

At separate meetings today, the ASTI and TUI executives decided that the new proposals form the basis of a ballot of ASTI and TUI members.

Speaking today ASTI President Philip Irwin and TUI President Gerry Quinn welcomed the new proposals but said that a number of outstanding issues have to be settled before second-level teachers can be balloted.

TUI and ASTI will now begin further negotiations with the Department of Education and Skills on the key issues of time and resources. The Executive Committees will then meet at an appropriate time to decide on issuing a recommendation on the proposals.

The new proposals, entitled Junior Cycle Reform: Joint Statement on Principles and Implementation, were concluded earlier this week, following a series of engagements between the Department and the leadership of the second-level teaching unions.

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