Parents invited to have their say as 22 year old curriculum in primary schools set for revamp

The National Council for Curriculum Assessment is asking the public for their views on the next primary school curriculum
Parents invited to have their say as 22 year old curriculum in primary schools set for revamp

The current Primary School Curriculum is 22 years old this year, and since it was launched in 1999, more than a million children have been through primary school. Picture: Stock

WHAT children learn and how children learn in primary school is changing, and the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) is asking the public for their views on the proposals published in the Draft Primary Curriculum Framework.

The current Primary School Curriculum is 22 years old this year, and since it was launched in 1999, more than a million children have been through primary school.

However, Ireland has changed since the 1990s and primary schools are more dynamic and busier than ever.

Teachers and principals respond to a greater diversity of children and families and in recent years, there have been calls for the Primary School Curriculum to do more to respond to the changes that have happened. 

We need to ensure that the Primary School Curriculum continues to do the best for children, especially when we think of how children born this year will begin primary school in 2025 or 2026, start their working lives in the 2040s and retire in the 2080s/2090s.

Most young children beginning primary school now have benefitted from at least one preschool year and with the introduction of the new Junior Cycle Curriculum in post- primary schools, this means that children’s learning experiences before and after primary school have changed. The additional preschool years also mean that children are a little older starting and finishing primary school. All of this creates an important opportunity to think about the purpose of a future primary curriculum when we think of the years ahead.

As well as using research information, NCCA has worked directly with schools and preschools to develop the Draft Primary Curriculum Framework. This has included working with a network of 62 schools, called the ‘Schools Forum’, consisting of different types of primary, post-primary and pre-schools from across the country. The forum includes Scoil Bhride, Crosshaven, Co. Cork and they are helping to develop the new Primary School Curriculum.

The public consultation on the Draft Primary Curriculum Framework is looking at the main changes proposed for the primary curriculum. These are:

  • Supporting transitions between primary school and home, preschool and post-primary school.
  • Using five broad curriculum areas for junior infants to second class that separate into subjects for third to sixth class: Language; Mathematics, Science and Technology Education; Wellbeing; Arts Education and Social and Environmental Education. The curriculum would also continue to include the Patron’s Programme of the school which can be Religious Education, Ethical and/or Multi-belief Education.
  • Having more focus on Physical Education (PE), Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) and digital learning, along with the introduction of Modern Foreign Languages (from third class), Technology, learning about religions and beliefs, and a broader Arts Education.
  • Giving schools more flexibility to decide, with some guidance, how their time is used across the school day and week. For example, a school might decide to allocate some time to a local project or initiative.
  • Promoting a range of ways for children to learn so they are always interested and feel their own experiences and interests are important in school.

Consultations on the redevelopment of the primary curriculum as a whole, don’t happen often.

The coming months are an opportunity for you to share your thoughts. You’ll find details of the consultation on the NCCA’s website at www.ncca.ie/primary including the Draft Primary Curriculum Framework and information videos. There are links to an online questionnaire, one for parents and one for teachers, and a written submission form for any person who wishes to take part in the consultation. So please have your say on the new Primary School Curriculum.

ABOUT THE NCCA

The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) is a statutory body of the Department of Education.

The twenty-five members of the Council are appointed by the Minister for Education. The members represent the partners in education, industry and trade union interests, parents’ organisations and other educational interests. The council also includes one nominee each of the Minister for Education and the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth.

The Minister for Education appoints the Chairperson.

The Council is supported in its work by three boards and a number of development groups.

Members of these represent similar stakeholders to Council.

The day-to-day work of the Council is led by the Chief Executive Officer, Arlene Forster, supported by a full-time executive staff.

The NCCA advises the Minister for Education on:

1. curriculum and assessment for early childhood education, primary and post-primary schools.

2. assessment procedures used in schools and examinations on subjects which are part of the curriculum. Advice is developed through Research, Deliberation, Consultation and Networks.

TOMORROW: Jennifer Horgan talks the principal at Scoil Bhride in Crosshaven, who are one of the 62 schools taking part in the School Forum, helping to develop the new Primary School Curriculum.

More in this section

Sponsored Content

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more