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Warning that Junior Cert shake-up will fail if resources not put in place

PLANS for a radical shake-up of the Junior Certificate will fail unless schools get the time and resources to implement it successfully, according to second-level school managers.

The body representing management in over half of second-level schools has given a broad welcome to the proposals but, as things stand, say the education system is under too much pressure to do it properly.

A particularly controversial feature of the reform is a phasing out of the traditional June exams, with plans instead for teachers to assess their own students on a continuous basis.

The new regime will also see students having the option of studying a number of short courses, in place of some traditional subjects, such as history and geography. Schools may select from a menu of short courses, which will include Chinese and computer programming, or create their own, and students may do a maximum of four.

Changes will start in September 2014, with a new-style English syllabus.

Ferdia Kelly, general secretary of the Joint Managerial Body (JMB), representing management in 380 secondary schools, said schools needed time for planning, for teacher training and for adapting to a system of teachers assessing their own pupils.

"School leaders want to be leaders of such reforms. Our plea to the Education Minister is give us the essential tools and we'll deliver the desired outcomes," he added.

Irish Independent