Schools to increase focus on literacy, maths

Issues relating to promoting a secular state education and raising children in a non-religious home
tony
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Schools to increase focus on literacy, maths

Post by tony » Fri Jul 08, 2011 11:43 am

http://www.rte.ie/news/2011/0708/literacy.html
Schools to increase focus on literacy, maths
The Department of Education has published a plan to improve the numeracy and literacy of Irish schoolchildren.
The Department of Education is to instruct primary schools to substantially increase the time teachers give to instruction in maths and literacy in the classroom. It says it will be issuing a circular shortly increasing the time spent on maths from the current 36 minutes a day to 50 minutes from September. Pupils will also be required to spend 90 minutes each day focussing on literacy skills. Increasing time spent on these core areas is a key recommendation in a new National Literacy and Numeracy Strategy, which has been published today. The plan acknowledges that this will mean reduced time available for subjects other than maths, English and Irish. It recommends that schools make greater use of standardised testing in both literacy and numeracy. Under the plan, children will be tested in second and in sixth class and, for the first time, in second year at secondary level. The number of subjects to be studied for the Junior Certificate will be limited to eight to allow for more in-depth learning. The new plan sets targets, which include raising current measured standards by 5% across both primary and secondary. It also maps out broad reforms in teacher training, in teacher professional development, and in curriculum content. The estimated cost of implementing the new strategy is €6m next year, rising to €19m a year by 2017.

In a statement Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn said this money would have to be found through the 'reprioritising' of existing spending.
Very interesting development. This should have happened a long time ago. It looks like there will have to be a reduction in time spent on religion. Interesting the way there is going to be a test in 2nd class,the communion year and 6th class,the confirmation year. This will certainly pose a dilemma for teachers.
Tulip1
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Re: Schools to increase focus on literacy, maths

Post by Tulip1 » Fri Jul 08, 2011 1:29 pm

maybe they could cut down on the RE?
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Re: Schools to increase focus on literacy, maths

Post by Bik » Fri Jul 08, 2011 2:18 pm

Tulip1 wrote:maybe they could cut down on the RE?
That seems to be the most likely area to save time.
Maybe it's changed but when I was in primary school all we really did was English, Irish, Math and Religion. There was very little study of history, geography etc until secondary school.

In fact in communion and confirmation years I'd guess at least a third of the day was spent on religious studies, cleverly these are the years targeted for school testing.
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tony
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Re: Schools to increase focus on literacy, maths

Post by tony » Fri Jul 08, 2011 3:56 pm

Bik wrote:
Tulip1 wrote:maybe they could cut down on the RE?
That seems to be the most likely area to save time.
Maybe it's changed but when I was in primary school all we really did was English, Irish, Math and Religion. There was very little study of history, geography etc until secondary school.
Religion will be the last thing to be neglected,particularly in rural areas in my opinion. Schools are subject to diocesan inspections and its the priest who does the inspections and ultimately they,as head of the board of management, are the ones that hire and fire the teachers.

When I was in primary it was English,Irish,Maths and Religion until 3rd class. Then history and geography were added. There was no PE. If there is pressure on time then music, PE etc will be hit first.
Last edited by tony on Sun Jul 10, 2011 10:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Schools to increase focus on literacy, maths

Post by Beebub » Fri Jul 08, 2011 4:12 pm

Jany. Don't get me started on PE. With the current stats on child obesity and the increased use of computer games and the lack of excersise our kids are getting these days, the fact that more emphasis is not put on PE mystifies me. You can take Art for the leaving cert. but if you're hopeless at art, there's not much point. Some kids have an aptitude for PE/ sport and some don't, just like some kids have an aptitude for art and some don't. PE should be a leaving cert subject. A similar portion of the subject could be given over to theory as happens in art with the History of Art section on the course.
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Re: Schools to increase focus on literacy, maths

Post by Tulip1 » Fri Jul 08, 2011 5:01 pm

Beebub wrote:Jany. Don't get me started on PE. With the current stats on child obesity and the increased use of computer games and the lack of excersise our kids are getting these days, the fact that more emphasis is not put on PE mystifies me. You can take Art for the leaving cert. but if you're hopeless at art, there's not much point. Some kids have an aptitude for PE/ sport and some don't, just like some kids have an aptitude for art and some don't. PE should be a leaving cert subject. A similar portion of the subject could be given over to theory as happens in art with the History of Art section on the course.
+1
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Re: Schools to increase focus on literacy, maths

Post by aZerogodist » Sat Jul 09, 2011 2:03 am

Sounds like someone came up with the odd-idea of teaching educational knowledge in schools, if they could only now take the next step and stop teaching non-education aka BS also known as religion? in schools. Apart from learning to read and counting to ten, national school might as well of been, having a baby sitter mind you for a few hours a day, if it wasn't for watching some of the amazing science docs on RTE on Saturday mornings and reading books, I wouldn’t of got any pre-secondary school, education/knowledge.

-Aside: Kind of a funny story on the topic of PE, on our sports day, I came in last basically in everything, at the end there were medals for 1st,2nd,3rd and then one for everyone just for participating, I was the only one in the whole school not to get a medal, not even one for participation :( I found it ironically funny, would of been better sitting on the grass and reading a book on the Universe instead of expending wasted energy in a futile pursuit, but then no medals for that.
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Re: Schools to increase focus on literacy, maths

Post by sueH » Fri Jul 22, 2011 10:27 pm

I'd be very concerned at the changes to the JC to be honest. They have to chose 8 subjects to be examined in. The most likely core topics will be English, Irish, Maths, Science, CSPE, RE, plus 2 others. Schools under religious patronage (or with Principals and BOMs in favour of RE) could set RE as a local core subject taking up curriculum space from other subjects such as geography, music, Home Ec, history and other practical subjects. You may find your local JC curriculum will be more limited than ever.
The NCCA proposals also allow for local setting of the syllabus content, so there will be no similarity of content between schools in different areas.
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Re: Schools to increase focus on literacy, maths

Post by Marks » Sun Jul 24, 2011 9:08 pm

This is already happening at second level. All schools are obliged to teach Religious Instruction at Second Level. What they are doing is combining the Religious Education Course under the Curriculum with the Guidelines for the Faith Formation and development of Catholic Students. They present this course to parents as a core subject and suitable for all.

The recent Report and Recommendations from the Irish Human Rights Commission state that:-

“While the State syllabus does not appear to deal with faith formation, there are agreed guidelines between the Department of Education and the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference in relation to the delivery of the syllabus in schools where there is Catholic patronage.”

This does not only apply to schools under Catholic patronage but all schools at second level with a religious ethos. It is difficult to know exactly what is going on as every school has the legal power to implement its own ethos. The Report also states:-

“The guidelines have the stated objective of assisting in the faith formation of Catholic students in the junior cycle. It is noted, however, that the Junior Certificate Religious Education syllabus is an optional subject for the Junior Certificate examination. At individual school level it may be possible to make the subject compulsory but this does not override the right of students to be exempted from such instruction in accordance with the Education Act. Schools may in addition have separate RE classes in addition to the Religious Education Syllabus, and it appears this happens most often at Senior Cycle level where far fewer students undertake the Religious Education Syllabus for the leaving certificate.”

From the complaints that Atheist Ireland gets it is clear that students are being forced into this course. It would seem that because the majority of schools at second level have a Catholic ethos we now have a course under the curriculum for Catholics.

Atheist Ireland has complained about this course to the NCCA and the Minister for Education. We have recently asked the Minister for Education to send a Circular Letter to all schools informing them that this course is not compulsory. He has yet to respond.
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Re: Schools to increase focus on literacy, maths

Post by robreynolds2 » Mon Jul 25, 2011 4:21 am

Git rid of Religion class? But how will we teach about Intelligent Falling and such without this? Physics education will be under such enormous pressure to explain gravity and will understandably turn to Mathematics to help explain. Since Mathematics alone cannot explain gravity/intelligent falling conclusively this will lead to the total collapse of the entire syllabus!

Is that what you want? Is it? Think of the children!

Better I think to put your faith back into religion, take the pressure of science and the RC church at the same time. Fact based education is overrated, everyone knows if you want to do well in exams that prayer is the most important thing.

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