Two Limerick schools chosen to lead the way on Junior Cert reform

Mike Dwane

Reporter:

Mike Dwane

limerick’s newest secondary school has been selected as one of 46 to trial the new-look Junior Cert, starting with students enrolling in 2013.

limerick’s newest secondary school has been selected as one of 46 to trial the new-look Junior Cert, starting with students enrolling in 2013.

Gaelcholáiste Luimnigh principal Donncha Ó Treasaigh said the school was “thrilled” to have been one of only four all-Irish schools in the country chosen to pilot the Framework for Junior Cycle Change.

Croom’s Coláiste Chiaráin is the only other Limerick school in this scheme, which will chart what Education Minister Ruairi Quinn says will be a shift in the emphasis from an all-or-nothing exam towards the continuous assessment model that prevails at third level. The overhaul of the curriculum will be introduced in the selected schools four years in advance of the rest.

Mr Ó Treasaigh said the new model will require students to take a maximum of eight subjects where students at Gaelcholaiste Luimnigh now take 10 and in other schools as many as 12.

“We welcome the fact that there will be more continuous assessment and believe that it will remove much of the pressure associated with terminal exams packed closely together at the end of the cycle,” he said.

Students of the new-look cycle can also earn credits for non-academic work such as in school musicals, business or science projects. These would be assessed by school staff although Mr Ó Treasaigh said the Department had already indicated such grades would be “evaluated and validated by the State Examination Commission”.

There was significant demand from schools to join this pilot and Mr Ó Treasaigh said Gaelcholáiste Luimnigh regarded it as “an excellent opportunity to work with the Department to address the challenges and future requirements of our learners and society in furthering a modern and successful Ireland”. The prinicpal thanked Minister Jan O’Sullivan and Cllr Joe Leddin for visiting the school at Harry’s Mall for the announcement.