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Over 700 schools close as teachers go on strike again

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Jan O'Sullivan

Jan O'Sullivan

Jan O'Sullivan

MORE than 700 schools across the State are set to shut today as teachers prepared to stage another one-day strike action over Junior Cert reforms.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny yesterday appealed to teachers to reconsider the planned action.

Education Minister Jan O'Sullivan had also described the strike by members of the Association of Secondary Teachers' Ireland (ASTI) and the Teachers' Union of Ireland (TUI) as "unnecessary."

Around 27,000 second-level teachers will take to the picket lines today over the ongoing impasse.

It is the second one day-strike by the unions.

They have major concerns over plans which would see teachers assessing 40pc of marks in the new Junior Cycle Student Award.

Meanwhile, both unions have said that further industrial action will be considered.

It is understood that the ASTI's central executive committee is holding a routine meeting on Saturday at which its dispute strategy is likely to be discussed.

Some 333,000 students are affected by the strike action at schools nationwide today.

Second-level students have expressed concern at the class time that they are missing.

Joanna Siewierska (18), who lives in Coolock, said that the "mocks" have already started in some schools.

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Joanna is in sixth year in St Mary's in Killester, and is the Education Officer for the Irish second-level students' union.

"We are having our monthly meeting tomorrow.," she said.

"We support the Junior Cert reforms, and we want them to come in.

"They will allow schools to make better use of resources."

She said that the students were not happy that the strike was going ahead.

"But we respect the fact that the teachers have the right to take the action.

"With exams coming up, many students could do with the class time," she said.

Meanwhile, Ms O'Sullivan said that it was regrettable that unions have decided to ignore the compromise available to them.

"Progress needs both sides to be willing to move on previously held positions," she said.

However, announcing the strike action earlier this month, the two unions said that they remained resolute in their opposition to significant elements of the proposals.

"Regrettably, there remains a considerable difference between the two respective positions," they said in a joint statement.

fdillon@herald.ie


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