29 November 2016

Labour Spokesperson on Education, Joan Burton, has welcomed the publication of the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS 2015), which shows some improvement to the international ranking of Irish students, particularly in maths.

Deputy Burton said:

“Today’s figures confirm positive results for parents and their children, who want a good foundation in maths and literacy, which sets them up to do well in school. This is what the Labour Party in Government promised- and this is what we delivered.

“In 2011, Ruairi Quinn published our national strategy for literacy and numeracy in schools ‘Literacy and Numeracy for Learning and Life’.

“That strategy increased the amount of time spent on literacy and numeracy in primary schools, saw an overhauling of initial teacher education, increased the training provided to teachers on these matters, and set targets for improvements to student outcomes in these areas.

“It led, at least in part, to the first improvements in reading and maths in a generation, as revealed in the National Assessments of English Reading and Mathematics (NAERM), published in January 2015, which found the first significant improvements to reading and maths scores since 1980.

“The literacy and numeracy strategy build on previous initiatives such as project maths and the introduction of a science curriculum at primary level. The results published today show that the combination of those initiatives have had an impact. Enormous credit is due to teachers, parents and students who have embraced these changes.

“The recently published statement of strategy for the education sector commits to publishing the interim review of the Literacy and Numeracy Strategy, which was nearly completed when Jan O’Sullivan left office.  To continue the progress we have made in this area, it is important that the Minister publish this review before Christmas, including new targets for how the performance gap can be further narrowed.”

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