I propose to take Questions Nos. 213, 215 and 230 together.
My Department made a decision in 2017, based on advice received from the Teaching Council, to set higher Minimum Entry Requirement Standards (MERS) to primary teaching for Leaving Certificate Mathematics, English and Irish with effect from September 2019 as follows:
Entry 2018 - Irish: H5, English: H7/O5, Maths: H7/O6
Entry 2019 and onwards- Irish: H4, English: H7/O4, Maths: H7/O4
The new MERS were approved following detailed consultation and are designed to maintain the integrity of Initial Teacher Education and to support quality teaching and learning in primary schools. I am of the view that the new higher MERS, are the appropriate standards and will apply for entry to the Professional Masters of Education (PME) programme in September 2021.
As the original timing of the higher MERS may have caused difficulties for some students planning on undertaking a PME as an entry route to primary teaching, my Department made a decision in 2019 to defer the increased MERS for entry to the primary postgraduate route for an additional two years until September 2021. This deferral was to allow students the opportunity to make arrangements to ensure they have the necessary entry requirements for entry to the programme. I wish to note that the new higher MERS announced in October 2017, continued to apply from September 2019 for students planning on entering the undergraduate Bachelor of Education (Primary) programme.
In the case of a student who does not meet the minimum entry requirement in Irish, English or Mathematics, it is open to the person to repeat the Leaving Certificate Examination or pursue a course of study leading to one of the alternative qualifications in the subject(s) concerned as outlined in the published Entry Requirements and Procedures for 2020.