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School Admissions changes delayed but Rule 68 on religion to go

Posted by SchoolDays Newshound, on 09/12/2015. School Admissions changes delayed but Rule 68 on religion to goTags: Education And Politics Parenting Teachers

The Minister for Education, Jan O’Sullivan has confirmed that she is to repeal ‘Rule 68’ which states that “that religious instruction is “by far the most important” part of the school curriculum. More fully it states:

"Of all the parts of the school curriculum religious instruction is by far the most important, as its subject-matter, God’s honour and service, includes the proper use of all man’s faculties, and affords the most powerful inducements to their proper use.....”.

The Minister has said that rule 69 “may have survived for 50 years, but in January it will be removed, along with any other rules that don’t speak to the diverse and welcoming nature of our modern school system.”

On radio this morning, the Minister said that the removal of the rule will likely lead to a necessary discussion on how much time should be spent on religious education in our schools . At the moment, 30 minutes of each primary school day is allotted to religious education which is double the amount of time devoted to other subjects like science or PE.

The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment is currently reviewing the national curriculum, with its recommendations set to be published next year. The Minister stated that “the development of a new curriculum for all of our primary schools, which will provide education about religion, beliefs and ethics, will be more important in many ways.”

The Minister also confirmed when speaking on Newstalk this morning that she believes there won’t be enough time to enact the long-awaited school Admissions Bill before the Government’s term of office ends.

The legislation proposed to bring in more transparency and fairness to school enrolment procedures by changing the rules around how a school can prioritise admissions. It was also to look to capping the number of children of past pupils who could enrol in a school and would likely have included a ban on charging parents to apply for places.

Progress on these issues will now depend on what Party holds the education portfolio in the next government.


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