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Strikes off as teacher unions reach deal on Junior Cert

The teachers' unions and the Department of Education have reached agreement over the reform of the Junior Cert.

Education Minister Jan O'Sullivan (inset) and the leadership of the two second-level unions have agreed on a plan to resolve the row.

It means no more strikes and the uninterrupted roll-out of the junior cycle changes, on a phased basis, from September.

The breakthrough came following two top-level meetings with union leaders in the past week - one attended by the minister yesterday and another, involving her senior officials, last Friday.

A document that involves compromise on both sides will be presented to meetings of the executive bodies of the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) and the Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI) at the end of this week.

Full details are not being officially released until after the executive meetings on Friday.

However, it does include a commitment to classroom-based assessment in English of second-year junior-cycle students going ahead as planned next year, representing the first big step on the road to reform.