The ASTI has accused the Department of Education and Skills of issuing a Circular to schools which is at variance with agreed arrangements for the scheduling of Junior Cycle Subject Learning and Assessment Review (SLAR) meetings.
Commenting on Department of Education and Skills Circular 0017/2020, ASTI President Deirdre Mac Donald said:
“In 2015 the Department was party to drawing up the Junior Cycle Reform Joint Statement on Principles and Implementation and an appendix to this document. It is clear that Circular 0017/ 2020 is not compliant with these documents. As such the Circular is unacceptable to the ASTI.”
Ms Mac Donald said that the Department of Education and Skills had previously agreed that the new Framework for Junior Cycle would not result in increased workload for teachers and that adequate additional teaching resources would be made available to schools to facilitate its implementation, including the implementation of SLAR meetings.
“The approach of the Circular 0017/2020 represents a perpetuation of the gross underfunding of Irish second-level education despite assurances to the contrary. The latest OECD report Education at a Glance 2019 shows Ireland in last place out of 35 countries in terms of the proportion of GDP invested in second-level education.
“The unfortunate consequence of today’s Circular will be a further loss of trust and goodwill amongst teachers. It is a fact that Ireland’s second-level schools perform well above average in international comparisons. It is also a fact that second-level teachers in Ireland spend more hours per annum teaching than the EU and OECD averages. Despite this, teachers, and ultimately their students, are once again being asked to make up for the funding shortfall in Irish education.”
The ASTI has confirmed that its directive to ASTI members to only attend SLAR meetings held in compliance with the Joint Statement on Principles and Implementation and appendix documents remains in place.
“ASTI members voted for this Directive by 93% to 7%. In upholding this Directive, ASTI members are standing up for students, the teaching profession and education in Ireland,” said Deirdre Mac Donald.