Posted by SchoolDays Newshound, on 28/02/2023. Tags: Education And Politics Teachers Parenting
Plans for Leaving Certificate candidates to sit Paper 1 of their English and Irish exams at the end of fifth year have been reversed by the Minister for Education. It is expected that the Minister will advise the cabinet this morning that having listened to the concerns raised by students, teachers unions and advisory bodies she will defer the change. The new arrangements were supposed to be introduced in June 2024 for students entering their senion cycle in September. The students were then to do the rest of their exams in June 2025.
One reason given for the deferral is that the move would disadvantage pupils who did not do transition year – with about 25pc of senior cycle students more likely to be from lower socio-economic backgrounds. Concern was also expressed about the impact of the significant Covid-related disruption caused to incoming 5th years. It has also emerged that the State Examinations Commission (SEC) had pointed out to the Department of Education the potential disadvantage for boys in terms of maturity when examining composition at the end of fifth year.
The Irish Second-level Students Union (ISSU) raised questions around what might happen to students who wished to drop from Higher to Ordinary level when they enter sixth year, as well as the negative impact the change might have on boys.
While the changed has been deferred, it is understood that the Minister will continue to examine over the next few months how and when this change might be implemented. The Minister is expected to announce today the makeup of the senior cycle redevelopment programme delivery board, which will be responsible for overseeing the Leaving Cert reforms.
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Joint TUI/ASTI statement 28th February
Meaningful engagement required on Senior Cycle change
The TUI and the ASTI note media reports this morning suggesting that proposed plans for students to sit Leaving Certificate Paper 1 in both English and Irish at the end of fifth year will not proceed for the student cohort of 2024.
This is a welcome development, as we had stated at all times that this was an educationally regressive move that would have increased pressure on students, who would have faced a high stakes examination in both fifth and sixth year. To make matters worse, those who entered fifth year directly from third year – around 25% of the cohort – would have had three concurrent years of State examinations under the plan.
Teachers are always in favour of positive, coherently-devised change that enhances the education service. However, a clear educational basis for this proposal was never presented.
In this regard, it is clear that meaningful and continuing engagement and consultation that recognises and acknowledges the voice of the practitioners is required to ensure that future Senior Cycle change is educationally sound and, crucially, does not increase pressure on students.
ISSU Statement : ISSU Welcomes Delay in Paper 1 Exam Changes
The Irish Second-Level Students’ Union (ISSU) welcomes the recent statement by the Minister for Education, Norma Foley, to delay the plans bringing forward Paper 1 in English and Irish to the end of 5th year starting with 5th years of 2024. The ISSU could foresee issues with the reforms being implemented. The ISSU shared these concerns with with other education stakeholders and department officials’
The ISSU values the engagement with Minister Foley and the Department of Education on this matter. The ISSU from the first engagement with this plan, the ISSU voiced serious concerns regarding the severe impact such a major change could have on the student body with this major change. The ISSU has raised major concerns with the Department of Education warning of the potential for increased student anxiety and stress levels as a result of the plan and the turbulent period experienced by incoming leaving certificate students during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Caitlin Faye Maniti, ISSU Uachtarán on the matter said: There is a sense of relief amongst the cohort of students who were initially planning to sit these exams at the end of 5th year in 2024.
The ISSU has identified serious concerns for students in regards to this interim measure; the lack of clarity on the logistics, the impact of TY and the fundamental design of the curriculum to be examined at the end of two years. The ISSU are determined to continue to advocate for a solution that reduces the stress and anxiety for students during their Senior Cycle journey.
Jack McGinn, ISSU Education Officer: The ISSU proposed to delay the planned changes, to ensure adequate time to engage with statutory bodies and educational stakeholders. Senior Cycle Reform is a difficult issue that must be dealt with in a delicate manner. Students were at the forefront of engagements, ensuring those who would sit the exams are represented at the decision-making table. The ISSU recognises the engagement by Minister Foley and officials.
The ISSU is committed to continue to positively engage with the Department of Education and all other stakeholders on Senior Cycle Reform and is eager to seek long term reforms that are mutually agreeable and student centered. The ISSU fundamentally believes that there is no conversation about students, without students.