Pupils seek meeting to discuss strike fallout

Pupils seek meeting to discuss strike fallout

Second level teachers with the ASTI and the TUI outside Mayfield Community School in 2015 during a strike over junior cycle reform. Picture: Denis Minihane

SECONDARY school pupils have expressed fears that students will be negatively impacted by the ongoing dispute between the ASTI and Department of Education.

Members of the teacher's union last week voted to reject recent proposals regarding pay and Junior Certificate reform. 

In a ballot of the union’s 18,300 members, members voted by 52.5% to 47.5% to reject the proposals from the Department of Education and Skills, a result which may see them return to the picket line before the summer.

Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton has said that "the proposals represented the final outcome of the process and there will be no further offer made to ASTI". 

Jane Hayes Nally, a sixth year students at St Mary's High School Midleton and President of the Irish Second-Level Students' Union called for a meeting with both sides with a view to reduce any potential fallout for exam students.

"We are growing increasingly concerned that a deal will not be formed despite compromises being made," Ms Nally Hayes said.

"The ISSU is hoping to meet with all stakeholders with a view to reduce any possible impact this may have on students."

The ISSU is awaiting detail of an ASTI standing committee meeting this week, after which more will be known about what the exact course of industrial action to be taken will be. 

Speaking about hte meeting, ASTI president Ed Byrne said;

"Our students’ education is a key reason why the proposals were rejected and we will, as always, have due cognisance of the impact of any industrial action on students and their families. 

"However, we believe we have a duty to protect the education of the students sitting in our classrooms today and those students who will be sitting in our classrooms in five years and beyond.”

In the meantime, members of the union remain instructed to not engage in Classroom Based Assessments (CBAs) for the purposes of the Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement. 10% of the English grade is drawn from these assessments.

Ms Nally Hayes welcomed a statement by Minister Bruton that the second calendar window in 2016/17 school year will allow for the completion and submission of the Junior Cycle English Assessment Task by students who were prevented from meeting the initial deadline.

"The ISSU is in support of the JC reforms as its members believe that it is in the best interest of students," she added. 

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