The Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) has congratulated students receiving their Junior Cycle results today, commending them for the resilience that they have displayed after the disruption to their studies due to the pandemic and the subsequent delay in receiving their results.
The Union has also warned that Senior Cycle reform must be educationally sound.
Speaking today, TUI President Liz Farrell said:
‘We congratulate all students receiving their Junior Cycle results today. This particular group endured considerable disruption not just to their studies but also to their entire experience of school life as a result of the pandemic. They should be commended for the resilience and commitment that they have displayed and continue to display. This fortitude will benefit them in the years to come.’
‘The consistent support and encouragement of parents and guardians provided a solid base for students over difficult times, while teachers also displayed great flexibility and innovation over what has been an extremely challenging few years.’
‘It should also be highlighted that this group are the first cohort to experience and be examined in every subject of the newly reformed Junior Cycle. They have worked very hard to reach this milestone. They should enjoy the celebrations, but they should do so responsibly and carefully.’
Department must engage with teachers on reform of Senior Cycle
‘The TUI welcomed many of the elements of the Minister’s announcement in relation to Senior Cycle in March of this year. The TUI has always advocated that second components can be a useful tool for assessment purposes. However, second components must have an educational rationale and replace or assess elements that cannot be undertaken in a terminal, written examination. Currently 27 of 41 examinations have second and even third components and where appropriate the TUI recognises that these components necessitate a minimum of 40% of the overall grade.’
‘However, State certification is key to all developments and must be retained. TUI members are fundamentally opposed to assessing their own students for State certification purposes and therefore external assessment as provided by the State Examinations Commission – which retains significant public trust – is essential for all written examinations and any and all additional components of assessment.’
‘Furthermore, given the unprecedented challenges faced by those receiving this year’s Junior Cycle results, it is hard to fathom that this is the first cohort chosen to sit terminal examination papers in English and Irish at the end of Fifth Year. Notwithstanding the difficulties that these students have had to endure throughout the pandemic, it is an educationally regressive measure that would place huge additional pressure on students and teachers. Students who do not have access to or choose not to undertake Transition Year would be seriously disadvantaged by this move and those currently in Transition Year would find that they are forced too early to decide whether to follow the higher or ordinary level specifications.’
‘Significant further engagement between the Department and the unions representing the practitioners – classroom teachers – is required to ensure that reform of the Senior Cycle is educationally sound, equitable, inclusive and benefits all learners.’