Schools left frustrated by ban on new Junior Cert
Teachers' refusal to cooperate with changes to the Junior Certificate is a "backward step" for schools and students, according to managers of second-level schools.
Eileen Salmon, general secretary of the Association of Community and Comprehensive Schools (ACCS), said the Junior Cert reforms would improve teaching and learning, and schools were frustrated at not being able to bring them in.
Education Minister Jan O'Sullivan has said she is going to make the changes despite union opposition, but it remains to be seen what progress is made in the face of the non-co-operation policy.
The minister's decision followed union leaders' rejection of settlement proposals by mediator Dr Pauric Travers earlier this month.
The Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) and the Teachers' Union of Ireland (TUI) object to a key element of the reform package - that teachers take on some responsibility for assessing their own students.
Ms Salmon - speaking ahead of the annual conference of the ACCS, which represents members of boards of management and principals in 95 schools - said it was still no clearer as to when, how or if the problem would be resolved.
"We are at a crossroads in relation to Junior Cycle reform. We either engage with the Travers' proposals and put the necessary safeguards and resources in place or we risk unrest and untold damage to students and the education system.
"ACCS urges that the first option be taken, with immediate engagement between the department and the education partners," she said.