The new Primary Language Curriculum was a result of the very odd 2011 Literacy and Numeracy Strategy, which was hastily put together after a small blip in Ireland’s PISA results, where it scored a little less than it had in the past. Within weeks, a new language curriculum was on the cards and the NCCA got to work.
The problem was that the NCCA seemed to get into turmoil while writing the curriculum with allegations of bullying and resignations left, right and centre. The curriculum became bulky and badly researched and out came a confusing, unwieldy result. At first glance, it had lots of potential but because of its sheer verboseness, it was clear it wasn’t practical.
The main problem is that there are too many Learning Outcomes and, even though this wasn’t admitted, it was clear that the NCCA wanted teachers to plot all of their pupils individually under 14 criteria on an 8 point scale.
When training began, the trainers had been instructed to say that we would pick maybe 2-3 pupils in the class to plot on this rubicon. It was clear that it was going to take an unreasonable amount of time to do this for one pupil for the much smaller benefit of exactly pinpointing where they might be in 14 different and lengthy descriptors.
The government decided to push back the roll out of the senior end of the curriculum and try to somehow shoehorn the content of the curriculum into realistic practice.
However, they couldn’t. The new Primary Language Curriculum could be summed up in the well-known Simpsons meme below.
While the last English curriculum wasn’t very good at all, the NCCA have managed to make things worse. It’s time they just scrapped it and went back to the drawing board. A decent template of an English curriculum, I found was the UK’s own 1999 curriculum. I’m pretty sure if there were less cooks at the broth, this might have been the result of the Primary Language Curriculum.