Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Questions (218)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

218. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason the new junior cycle science course is being allocated a total of 200 hours of class contact time over three years, having been reduced from the current junior cycle science syllabus which recommends 240-270 hours class contact time. [24268/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The new specifications for all subjects in the new Junior Cycle will state a minimum time for the delivery of the subject. This will be 200 hours for science and other subjects apart from English, Irish and Maths. This is not a maximum or target time and is intended to give schools flexibility to plan a junior cycle programme that will meet the educational needs of their students. Schools will decide what mix of subjects, short courses and other learning experiences will enable their students to meet the requirements of the 24 Statements of Learning, including those related to science education.

This approach provides an opportunity to enhance provision for Science Education at Junior Cycle. The specification for Science will give schools the freedom to provide more time for Science if they deem it appropriate, or to provide short courses or learning experiences such as involvement in the Young Scientist and Technology competition or SciFest. A greater focus in other subjects on key skills such as managing information and thinking will also support the development of science-related skills and aptitudes. All second year students will also take standardised tests in scientific literacy from spring 2018.