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Second level strike on 2nd December

Posted by SchoolDays Newshound on 14/11/2014. Second level strike on 2nd DecemberTags: Education And Politics Teachers Parents

Statement from ASTI & TUI
The ASTI Standing Committee and TUI Executive Committee today voted to take a day’s strike action on Tuesday December 2nd and a further day of strike action in January 2015, the date to be decided, over the Junior Cycle impasse.
Both unions – which represent 27,000 second level teachers – already have a strong mandate for industrial action following ballots of membership. 
The unions welcomed the shift in position by the Department of Education and Skills on some issues in recent negotiations, but issues of critical importance were not resolved. The threat posed to educational standards by the introduction of internal assessment remains and the issue of the capacity of schools to cope with the magnitude of such change was not addressed by the Department.
On Tuesday, the unions called for direct Ministerial intervention that would allow resumption of the discussions, particularly in relation to matters such as capacity of schools. Regrettably, this has not taken place, and the executive bodies of both unions decided to represent the overwhelming views of teachers and use their mandate to take strike action.
Teachers favour positive, appropriately planned and fully resourced improvement and consistently campaign for this. They have reiterated their support for improvements to the Junior Cycle, but serious objections and concerns about aspects of the new programme remain. Notwithstanding the progress made in the recent negotiations, this is unacceptable. 
The OECD’s Government At  A Glance 2013 report shows that out of 34 countries, public satisfaction with the education system and schools was highest in Ireland. The unions believe that such public trust will be put at serious risk if misguided changes are made in relation to school based assessment and if the very critical issue of capacity is not fully and appropriately addressed.

Statement Ends.



(19-11-2014 14:57)

Statement issued today 19th November by TUI & ASTI

Second-level teacher unions attend Junior Cycle talks with Minister

Talks today between the teacher unions the ASTI and the TUI and the Minister for Education and Skills Jan OSullivan have not resolved the current impasse over the Framework for Junior Cycle.

Following the talks ASTI and TUI representatives said the Ministers insistence that 40 per cent of the marks for State certification be awarded by students own teachers has created an impasse. Other issues of concern to the teacher unions also remain, such as the failure to clarify how the proposals will be resourced in schools.

Last week the ASTI Standing Committee and TUI Executive Committee voted to take a days strike action on Tuesday, December 2nd and a further day of strike action in January 2015, the date to be decided. The decision to take strike action is a result of the impasse reached in the talks process involving the unions and the Department of Education and Skills.

Today the unions reiterated their support for changes to the Junior Cycle including new forms of assessment such as portfolio and practical work. The union representatives said they attended todays talks because they believe a solution is possible which protects education standards, is student centred, and which does not undermine the integrity of Irelands State exams system.

The representatives added that strike action is a last resort but all other avenues have been exhausted to date.



(19-11-2014 17:14)

19 November, 2014 - Statement by Minister for Education and Skills on meeting with second-level teaching unions

The Minister for Education and Skills, Jan OSullivan TD, today restated her firm conviction that the package offered to the second-level teaching unions last week has the capacity to resolve the long-running dispute regarding junior cycle reform. The Minister made her comments after a meeting with both the ASTI and the TUI today.
I want to maintain a dialogue with second-level teaching unions in relation to junior cycle reform. While I am disappointed at both unions decision to take strike action on the 2nd December I will keep my door open for talks in the coming weeks.
There is a significant offer available to both teaching unions that retains State certification, introduces reform and gives a better learning experience to students. I sincerely believe that this offer will in the end of the day form the basis of an agreement and the sooner we engage around that compromise the better.
However, it is clear that while I have moved significantly both teacher unions remain resistant to any classroom-based assessment by the teacher contributing to junior cycle marks. Unfortunately, the unions are not prepared to move on this point to date.
Classroom assessment is an important element of junior cycle reform. It provides students with the route to measure important skills such as teamwork, problem solving and communication. I believe that teachers should be involved in that assessment.
I have asked both unions to reconsider their decision to disrupt schools on the 2nd December and again in January. My door is open for meaningful talks and the decision to proceed with strikes is disproportionate.

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