Our 1999 Curriculum is now one of the oldest in Europe. I welcome the fact that the revisions will be introduced over a long period with the curriculum not expected to be fully implemented in senior classes until 2020.
But I also have quite a number of concerns about the new language curriculum – not least of which are:
(i) the prevalence of super-sized classes in many schools.
(ii) The additional workload expected at a time when school middle management teams are decimated.
(iii) The failure of the Dept. of Education and Skills to provide a second day of whole-school inservice training during the current school year.
(iv) The absence of a comprehensive programme to support the teaching of Gaeilge.
(v) The potential for work related to the tracking of ability groups and the assessment of individual pupils to become overbearing.
If elected, I will regularly visit schools in order to discuss among other things with members, how the roll-out of the new language curriculum is succeeding and I will advocate for teachers regarding workload on a daily basis. I will also demand that a full review of the workload impact of the revised language curriculum to be completed by June 2018.
The revised Curriculum seems to offer few enough new ideas, but certainly increases paperwork demands on teachers. I am concerned that individual pupil tracking appears to be at the core of this Curriculum (much like what is current in the UK). I know the DES inspectorate currently deny that they will be looking for individual tracking – but how it will be ‘rolled out’ in 5-10 years time should worry us.
Many colleagues who have previously worked in the UK system fear that it repeats some of the worst paperwork mountains inherent in it. Again it is something that needs a vigilant union and serious monitoring.
As with all new initiatives, why are we co-operating with any change while pay inequality and pay cuts remain in place?