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Parliamentary Question re: English & Junior Cycle Student Award

To ask the Minister for Education and Skills with regard to the new Junior
Cycle Student Award, the way she will address concerns expressed by teachers of
English that they have received incomplete and inadequate continuing
professional development training and support material, that there are
practical issues still to be addressed regarding the introduction of the oral
component of the course and that there is no forum for feedback from teachers
to improve the course, where necessary; in view of these concerns and issues
which need to be addressed, if she will delay the implementation of the English
specifications for the 2014/2015 class, similar to the recommendation in the
Traver’s report to delay the science specifications; and if she will make a
statement on the matter.
– Anthony Lawlor.

* For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 10th March, 2015.
Reference Number: 10305/15, 10313/15

Freagra

Minister Jan O’Sullivan

I propose to take questions 477 and 478 together.

I intend to proceed with the implementation of the Junior Cycle reform
including the implementation of the new specification for English which
commenced last September. The implementation will now be based on the Travers’
proposal which I agreed to late last month.

All teachers of English who registered with the Junior Cycle for Teachers CPD
received day 1 of the core 4.5 days of CPD available to them in early 2014.
Over 90% of English teachers attended this day of CPD last year. The programme
included:

• Providing an overview of the Framework for Junior Cycle
• Exploring the Specification for English
• Illustrating ways of working with learning outcomes and aligning them with
assessment
• Looking at formative assessment in the English classroom
• Suggesting ways of planning using learning outcomes

I recently launched a new Junior Cycle for Teachers website (www.jct.ie). Under
the English section of this website, there is supporting material to assist
teachers to implement the Specification for English. All the resources from
JCTs first CPD workshop, delivered during 2013/2014, are available at www.jct.ie

There are 3.5 days of CPD still planned for English teachers. Teachers will
soon receive their invitation to day 2 of their CPD which will be provided in
local education centres. The content of this Day 2 CPD is currently also being
uploaded onto www.jct.ie. This second day will concentrate on:

• Revisiting the Specification for English
• Planning for effective teaching, learning and assessment of oral
communication and writing
• Exploring the oral communication task, collection of student texts and final
assessment

Day 3, to be rolled out in 2015/2016, will focus on:

• Effective teaching, learning and assessment
• Designing valid and reliable assessment tasks
• Looking at the subject learning and assessment review meeting

After day three, JCT will provide school visits and will continue to provide
programmes of elective CPD. They will facilitate in-school teacher-led CPD and
the JCT team will continue to provide online support.

The NCCA is currently putting together updated ‘Guidelines for Practical
Arrangements for the school based components of assessment’ in light of the
Travers document – A Way Forward.

Last year the JCT team of English advisors relayed any teacher’s concerns and
suggestions to the relevant parties; this system of reporting back teachers’
opinions will continue and it influences programme provision.

JCT will soon be inviting teachers to participate in online CPD sessions where
teachers will have an opportunity to ask questions and air their views on the
Specification.

ENDS