Quinn unveils plan to transform maths and reading
PRIMARY pupils are to spend more time on reading and maths as part of a new strategy to raise literacy and numeracy standards.
Education Minister Ruairi Quinn yesterday unveiled plans designed to transform the "average" ranking of Irish 15-year-olds in basic skills.
Maths has been a weak point for years, while a plunge in the performance of Irish students in the international OECD PISA reading test, and recent Department of Education inspector reports highlighting poor teaching practice in some primary classrooms have also given causes for concern.
The new National Literacy and Numeracy Strategy includes a greater focus on teacher quality and more assessments of students to measure standards.
The reporting arrangements to parents and school boards of management about how children fare in those assessments will also be strengthened.
As well as giving more time for literacy, there will also be changes to how English is taught in primary schools, and, in the case of Irish-language schools, how Irish is taught.
The plan, which will cost about €19m -- most of it in teacher training -- sets targets to boost student performance by 2020.
It received a general welcome, but teacher unions warned its success would depend on resources.
Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO) general secretary Sheila Nunan said: "You cannot demand higher standards and then cut teacher numbers, reduce funding, decrease supports for special needs and disadvantaged children and increase class size."