Tuesday 12 December 2017

Teachers set date to decide on Junior Cert reforms

Dr Travers
Dr Travers

Sam Griffin

Teachers' unions will decide next Friday whether they will accept or reject a series of compromises drawn up to end the ongoing dispute around reform of the Junior Certificate.

It means the threat of industrial action, which would affect around 350,000 secondary school students, remains in place following talks between the ASTI and TUI and the Department of Education.

The parties met for six hours yesterday after the two unions sought clarifications on new terms which were proposed by mediator Dr Pauric Travers last week. The proposals support the minister's plan for teachers to take on some responsibility for assessing their students.

However, in a bid to break the impasse, Dr Travers suggested that the results of in-school assessments be treated separately from the results of traditional State exams.

A department spokesperson said some clarifications had been provided by the mediator and further clarifications will be provided in writing to both the TUI and ASTI in the coming days.

The unions requested further time for the proposals to be considered at executive level, which was agreed. The unions now have until Friday to accept or reject the measures.

An ASTI spokeswoman said clarifications had been received "on a number of issues arising from a draft document issued last week. Some issues have yet to be clarified by the Department."

The ASTI and TUI Executive will hold a joint meeting on Friday, February 27 to consider the current situation."

Dr Travers previously stated that while his proposals were not an "ideal solution", he believed they would allow for an "honourable settlement" and that the alternative was "untold damage" to pupils.

Two school days have already been lost after teachers took to pickets in December and January. The ASTI spokeswoman said the threat of a third day of industrial action remained in place.

Irish Independent

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