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New Junior Cycle plans under threat

TEACHERS will not co-operate with the proposed new Junior Cert programme if they are not happy with it.

A transformation of the Junior Certificate will begin in the next school term and it will be renamed the Junior Cycle Student Award, which will have continuous assessment rather than a one-off series of exams.

Teachers will grade their own pupils and a new English syllabus for first years is to be introduced this September.


Reform will mean new ways of teaching and learning, with an emphasis on encouraging students to think rather than learn "off by heart".

While the reforms will be phased in up to 2020, there is concern about the scale of change and whether schools are adequately equipped for it.

Even with promised training, many teachers are worried about grading their own students, while schools say they're already stretched to the limit by education cuts.

A Junior Cycle Working Group has been set up to deal with the concerns and its first meeting takes place tomorrow. The group has representatives from teacher unions, school management bodies, parents, the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment and the Department of Education.

Teachers' Union of Ireland (TUI) president Gerard Craughwell said adequate preparation had not been made for change.

Mr Craughwell said they had significant concerns and, with only nine months to go, the department had failed to provide the concrete, practical details that they had repeatedly sought.

If their concerns were not addressed, the TUI would ballot members to secure agreement not to co-operate with the implementation, he said.

The ASTI standing committee meets today and tomorrow and its central executive committee will meet on Saturday.