Thursday, 20 June 2019

Questions (100)

Pearse Doherty


100. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he has considered the appropriateness of junior certificate mathematics classes being provided five days per week instead of four; if he has received concerns about the number of students availing of grinds in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25858/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Under the Framework for Junior Cycle, the new specification in Mathematics sets a minimum time allocation for the subject of 240 hours over the three years of Junior Cycle. Schools who provide 4 periods a week for each of the three years will meet the minimum requirement of the specification.

The earlier Junior Certificate mathematics syllabus (2016) which the new specification replaced was also designed as a 240 hour course of study.

The decision as to whether to provide mathematics over 5 days or 4 days is a school decision but my Department's position is that the course can be completed in a 4 period per week timeframe.

The Junior Cycle programme is designed to be delivered over a full three years with a considerable degree of flexibility available to schools in how and when the full range of specification material is covered. Where loss of class time occurs for any exceptional reason, schools and teachers will seek to ensure that their students are supported in covering all of the necessary course material in to order prepare adequately for examinations. The commitment of our teachers and schools to their students is acknowledged and appreciated in this respect.

While I respect the right of parents to make choices for their children's education, I do not believe that it should be necessary that students undertake grinds. I recognise that in certain circumstances, such as a prolonged illness, additional tuition may be useful for a child. I also recognise that revision courses, whether organised within schools or outside, can help children with their study, if they build upon previous work.

The institutions which give grinds are private commercial enterprises and they do not come under the jurisdiction of my Department. In addition, the right of parents to make choices for their children in relation to their education must be respected.