Clare Teaching Council Member Fears Students Being Left Behind By Reformed Junior Cycle

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A Clare Teaching Council member has expressed concern that certain students are being left behind as a result of the reformed Junior Cycle.

A new study examining the impact of education reforms at Junior Cycle has found fears exist among teachers and principals regarding students’ preparedness for the Leaving Cert.

Based on interviews with 37 principals, as well as data collected from teachers across 100 schools, a study from the University of Limerick has sought to assess to level of satisfaction with the reformed Junior Cycle curriculum.



Beginning on a phased basis in September 2014, the reforms were aimed at giving students a greater level of involvement in their learning, encouraging collaboration between teachers and moving away from a focus on written exams.

A key finding of the study is that educators feel students aren’t as prepared for the Leaving Cert as they were in previous years.

Concerns have also been raised in relation to the Junior Cert exams themselves – both in terms of the grading bands and the lack of choice on exam papers.

Professor Oliver McGarr, who works at the Faculty of Education and Health Sciences in School of Education at UL, claims the research shows that students aren’t being adequately prepared for exams.

71,494 students in Clare received their Junior Cert results last October, the first time the figure went above 70,000.

Researchers have also found that the full and successful implementation of the reforms has been inhibited by demands such as the perceived importance of the written exams in June.

Teacher at St. Patrick’s Comprehensive School in Shannon, Clodagh O’Hara, believes because everyone has been put into common-level classes, students’ confidence has been damaged.

You can listen to the full interview here: