Education Minister must consult before announcing any further sweeping changes

28 February 2023
  • Calls for Minister to appear before Education Committee 

Labour education spokesperson Aodhán Ó Ríordáin said Minister Foley was right to reverse her decision on changes to the Leaving Cert.

Deputy Ó Ríordáin said:

“I welcome the Minister’s acknowledgement that it was wrong to make huge changes to the Leaving Cert curriculum without any consultation with students, teachers, school communities and stakeholders. This decision will be met with huge relief by many students, particularly those who were set to face into the unknown in September.

“One thing is certain, the Leaving Cert as an examination format is in desperate need of reform. People desperately want change to the current way of doing things, but this change must be brought in over a phased basis, with students and school communities having a fair chance to adapt to changes in the curriculum or exam format.

“Last year, the Labour Party held a consultation on leaving cert reform to better understand young people’s thoughts and concerns. From our conversations, it’s clear that a key focus of this reform must be to eliminate the huge levels of anxiety associated with the Leaving Cert year.

“Many people will be in favour of some type of assessment in fifth year, but it must be properly considered after a consultation period with stakeholders and rolled out fairly.

“Continuous assessment must also be considered in an effort to avoid the enormous pressure that comes with be all or end all exams. It doesn’t have to be this way, and we shouldn’t accept it just because it’s what we’ve always done. We must be brave enough to reflect on our education system and see if we are preparing our children and young people fairly for life.

“Following this decision, I will be pushing government to deliver on its commitment set out in the Programme for Government for a Citizens’ Assembly on the Future of Education. Covid has changed everything and there are a range of deep, institutional issues that must be addressed including the dominant role of the Catholic Church as a school patron. It’s time that we reflect debate and discuss how we can provide our students with a better, fairer standard of education.”

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