Speaking following the events of the teacher conferences over the past few days, Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Jonathan O’Brien TD said it was clear that there is now a massive gulf between the Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn and the teachers expected to deliver the Minister’s reforms.
The Cork North Central TD said:
“Having attended the teacher conferences over the past few days, it is now very clear that there is a massive gulf between the Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn and the teachers expected to deliver the Minister’s reforms.
“Given the pressure teachers are under to deliver for students while facing increasing cutbacks to the education sector, it is not surprising that they would have a fairly strong reaction to the Minister’s contributions.
“I am very concerned that the Minister has floated the idea that Higher Level Maths should be made a requirement for teaching at primary level.
“The students who study for primary teaching degrees come from the top 15% of Leaving Cert students and the work that they put in should not be undermined or diminished by an ill-thought out notion that that their 460 or 550 points don’t have the same value because they didn’t take honours maths.
“The Minister hasn’t stated what this is based on and I would call on the Government to ensure that education policy is based on evidence and best practice and I am unconvinced that teachers taking honours maths at Leaving Cert is an antidote to the deficiencies in teacher training or the lack of additional learning support for maths that are intensive and individualised.
“Last year teachers were forced to accept Haddington Road and now between this proposal and the Minister continuing to push through Junior Cert reforms without the necessary resources and training, I am very concerned as to how this is going to play out.
“I am calling on the Minister to set aside his differences with the unions and sit down and talk with the teachers who he is expecting to deliver his reforms.”