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Leaving cert reform proposals generally welcomed

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Brendan Daly (Deputy Principal), Sr. Madeleine Hayes, fcJ & Ms. Frances Threadgold, Principal - Sr. Madeleine performed the official opening.

Brendan Daly (Deputy Principal), Sr. Madeleine Hayes, fcJ & Ms. Frances Threadgold, Principal - Sr. Madeleine performed the official opening.

Brendan Daly (Deputy Principal), Sr. Madeleine Hayes, fcJ & Ms. Frances Threadgold, Principal - Sr. Madeleine performed the official opening.

enniscorthyguardian

A Principal in one of the county Wexford’s most well-known secondary level schools has “generally welcomed” the proposals for reform of the Leaving Certificate as recommended in a report by the Joint Committee on Education, Further & Higher Education, Research, Innovation & Science.

The committee, which is chaired by Deputy Paul Kehoe, has submitted its report to the Department of Education and speaking to the Enniscorthy Guardian about the matter the Principal in FCJ Bunclody, Brendan Daly, said that while broadly speaking the proposals for reform are to be welcomed there is also a need for caution.

"I think most of the biggest controversy at the moment is around the teachers’ correcting of the students’ work  so I would say there will have to be dialogue with the unions over that,” said Mr Daly.

“What they’ve set out are the main principles of what they’re going for and overall I would agree with the main principles of it,” he added.

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“It’s going to bring the senior cycle in line with the junior cycle and I think anything that removes the emphasis from ‘the end exam’ has to be a good thing.”

He said the current situation is a “do or bust” situation for students when it comes to their final exams and anything that takes that element out of the secondary school experience for students is a good thing.

“I think that is a good thing and they’re going to go with more of the work being done prior to the actual sitting of the Leaving Cert exam and reduce the percentage of the exam itself and I think that’s a good thing,” said Mr Daly.

He said that for students who might excel in school but not perform well in an exam environment the proposed changes would be beneficial because they would have a good percentage of the Leaving Certificate requirement completed before they sit the actual final exam.

“I think that can only be a good thing,” he said. "It eases stress and pressure.”

However, Mr Daly said there is still a need for caution and a lot of negotiation with teachers.

“The only reservation I would have about it is that teachers are already feeling stretched with the changes that the junior cycle has brought and they’re just coming to terms with the different demands of that and now here there are going to be a whole load more raft of changes with regard to the senior cycle so there is going to have to be negotiations with teacher representative bodies,” he said.

“However, overall I would be positive about the proposed changes and I would welcome them,” he added.

He said there has already been a shift away in terms of practical components of certain subjects such as geography and history in addition to the traditional practical subjects.

“It’s just bringing the rest of the subjects in line and also bringing the senior cycle in line with the changes made in the junior cycle,” he said.

“Overall, it’s a good thing but I would say there is still a bit of negotiating to be done with teachers’ unions and things like that because teachers do feel there has been an awful lot of changes to manage over the last couple of years and here’s more coming down the tracks but that’s where it is,” he added.


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