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Maths lessons for teachers as 4,000 fail exam

SECOND level maths teachers are to get a major training boost after "disappointing" results in this year's Leaving Cert.

More than 4,000 students failed maths in the Leaving Cert this year, with nearly one in 10 failing the ordinary level maths paper.

The results came amid controversy about the large number of teachers of maths who are not fully qualified.

The Department of Education is to introduce a new training programme to provide unqualified maths teachers or those without full qualifications the chance to "upskill" their knowledge of maths, with the more user-friendly Project Maths course being rolled out in every school from 2014.

The training move was announced as figures showed that while 30pc of teachers studied maths for the at least a year in college, it was not the main focus of their degree.

Around 70pc were fully qualified, but 49 out of more than 2,000 surveyed had no qualifications whatever in maths, according to figures from the Teaching Council given to Education Minister Ruairi Quinn.


The Teaching Council, the professional body for Irish teachers, surveyed 2,045 teachers in 258 second level schools to find out the level of maths expertise.

The Department is developing a competitive process to select providers to run the new training programme, which will combine online learning with lectures.

The Government and Mr Quinn have been under pressure from business and employer groups to boost standards in maths, with just 16pc of Leaving Cert students -- around 8,000 in all --taking higher level maths in the Leaving this year.

"By not sitting the honours paper, most students have automatically excluded themselves from many science, engineering and technology third-level courses," said IBEC, the group that represents Irish business, last month after what it called a "disappointing set of maths and sciences results."

Minister of State for Research and Innovation Sean Sherock said: "I want to get to a situation where all teachers of maths have a maths qualification and the training programme will help achieve this."