Press Releases

TUI calls for further changes to 2022 State Examinations to take account of disruption to learning

By piofficer 25 Jan 2022 | 0 comments
The Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) is calling for further changes to this year’s State Examinations to take account of the disruption to learning experienced by the class of 2022. The Union has already made clear its strong position that all State Examinations must take place this year. A new survey of members shows that 75% believe that the modifications to course content announced in August 2021 are not sufficient given the effects of the pandemic and that further changes to the papers are required.  

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TUI supports full return to all State Examinations this year

By piofficer 10 Jan 2022 | 0 comments
It is the strong position of the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) that the traditional State Examinations must take place this year. The current circumstances are radically different from previous years and there is no justification for offering additional options to students. On that basis, the TUI will not support any other options.  Recent contributions from some political parties around this issue are unhelpful and will inevitably lead to more uncertainty in school communities that are already struggling with the varied consequences of the pandemic. We are already receiving reports of students disengaging because of an expectation that they will not have to sit examinations. This is very damaging to the education system and to the prospects of those students. Schools have remained open throughout this academic year and despite obvious challenges at present due to infections and isolation requirements, the consistent messaging from those with expertise in the area is that current high numbers of COVID-19 cases will fall in the near future. The scheduling of Orals and Music Practicals in the traditional Easter break has created additional tuition time that would not previously have been available, balancing somewhat the losses in time that students have experienced.  In 2020 and 2021, teachers demonstrated flexibility and commitment by engaging with emergency assessment processes on a ‘without precedent’ basis so that final year students could progress to the next stage of their lives. Our co-operation with these processes was only on the basis of absolute necessity and this remains the case.  The standardisation process was vitally important in the last two years, but cannot be replicated this year because more than half of students in some schools have no Junior Cycle data. In other schools, where there is no Transition Year programme, no student will have Junior Cycle data for the standardisation process.   Advocates for a repeat of the emergency methods are therefore advocating for something that is either impossible or else will be radically changed and involve historical school data that would be hugely unfair for many students. We will continue to engage with the other stakeholders. We believe that further consideration could be given to extending the breadth of topics covered in papers or adjusting marking schemes, and any other reasonable measures that might take account of this year’s circumstances as we see how the situation evolves.  But the TUI’s clear position is that the Junior and Leaving Certificate examinations across all Leaving Certificate programmes must return this year, with all additional and second components of assessment such as Orals, Practicals and project work etc. in place for the benefit of all students.   

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All necessary steps must be taken to ensure safe re-opening of third level education – TUI

By piofficer 07 Jan 2022 | 0 comments
The Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) has said it is vitally important that the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research Innovation and Science (DFHERIS) takes all necessary steps to ensure the safe re-opening of third level education at a time when the country is affected by the highest COVID-19 case numbers since the onset of the pandemic.

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‘One-size-fits-all’ approach on re-opening of schools will not work and urgent action required on HEPA filters and masks

By piofficer 04 Jan 2022 | 0 comments
Ahead of a meeting with the Department of Education today on the re-opening of schools, the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) has said it is essential that individual schools be allowed to choose how they re-open based on their particular circumstances, as no two schools will be the same in terms of staff availability due to the effects of the pandemic.  In some cases, there will inevitably be restrictions on the number of students who will be able to attend school due to teacher shortages. Clearly, any situation where groups of students in attendance cannot be supervised is unacceptable on health and safety grounds. It is TUI’s strong position that in situations where priority needs to be provided, it should be given to students in special needs classes, students with special and additional needs and students in examination years.  There is grave concern among teachers at how transmissible the Omicron strain of COVID is. Once again, we are demanding the provision of appropriate quantities of FFP2 masks to all schools.  At today’s meeting, the Union will once again demand that HEPA filters be provided to all schools that require them. Funding was made available for such devices before Christmas but the cap on this must immediately be lifted for schools that require additional resourcing. Beyond this, mechanical ventilation systems need to be provided as a long-term solution for individual classrooms or areas where poor ventilation has been identified by CO2 monitors.  We are entering unchartered territory and all matters must be kept under review based on the very latest public health advice.  TUI has repeatedly made the point that that as a result of historic underinvestment by international standards, Irish schools have been forced to tackle the huge challenges of COVID-19 with large class sizes, over-stretched pastoral support systems for students and education facilities often unsuited to modern teaching and learning. There was already a teacher recruitment and retention crisis before schools ever had to deal with the additional challenges of COVID-19. The genesis of this crisis can be traced back to imposition by Government of the two-tier system of pay discrimination against those employed from 2011 onwards. Teacher supply, recruitment and retention problems will continue at second level until this is resolved.  

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Health and safety must be paramount in further and higher education return – TUI 

By piofficer 15 Jun 2021 | 0 comments
Noting the publication of A Safe Return to on-site further and higher education and research today, the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI), which represents over 19,000 members at second level, further and higher education, has said that the plans must be fully consistent with the most up-to-date public health advice and that the health and safety of all students and staff must be paramount at all times in the process. The union stated that any changes in general public health advice must also be immediately reflected in the plan. Clear and consistent policy and communication on the public health requirements across further and higher education providers will be essential to establishing the necessary degree of confidence and keeping everyone safe.  TUI President Martin Marjoram said that academic staff had displayed great flexibility in the provision of remote learning during the pandemic, notwithstanding the additional work involved.   

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