483. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Education and Skills if schools can offer core curriculum subjects as alternatives for students that opt out of religious instruction (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16798/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - School Curriculum)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Under the Constitution and in accordance with section 30 of the Education Act, 1998 parents have the right to have their children opt out of religion classes if they so wish.
In relation to religious instruction in certain second level schools my Department recently published Circular letter 0013/2018 “Religious instruction and worship in certain second level schools in the context of Article 44.2.4 of the Constitution of Ireland and sec...

3. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the initiatives being taken to enable greater choice for each gender regarding the school curriculum; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14682/18 asked on 29 Mar 2018 - School Curriculum)

Deputy Thomas Byrne: My question probably should have been worded slightly more clearly. I am asking about shared facilities in schools. I recently met a delegation of transition year students from St. Joseph’s girls’ school in Lucan. They would love to be able to study technical graphics and building construction. They do not have the facilities in their school and they would like to share with a boys’ school, and vice versa the boys would like to study home economics in the girls’ school.
...

36. Deputy Alan Farrell asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of the commitment to implement coding into the primary school curriculum; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14279/18 asked on 29 Mar 2018 - School Curriculum)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): My Department is committed to providing a primary curriculum that will enable our children to develop the computational skills that are relevant in an ever changing digital environment, of which coding is at the forefront.
Currently my Department’s the PDST Technology in Education service provides training for both primary and post primary teachers in ICT which includes ‘Scratch’ coding.  5,800 teachers received ICT training in 2017.
Fol...

52. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Education and Skills the steps he will take to increase the uptake of STEM, science, technology, engineering and mathematics; if schools will be supported to modernise their science labs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14365/18 asked on 29 Mar 2018 - School Curriculum)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The promotion of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) within our education system is a key priority for my Department and is reflected in the Action Plan for Education, which has the overall aim to make the Irish Education and training system the best in Europe.
Most recently, in November 2017 I launched the STEM Education Policy Statement and Implementation Plan, whose aim is that Ireland will be internationally recog...

152. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the extent to which the school curriculum at primary and second level continues to be adequate to meet the challenges of the workplace in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14650/18 asked on 29 Mar 2018 - School Curriculum)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The curriculum has to evolve if our schools are to successfully equip young people with the capacity to meet the requirements of a modern, competitive economy.
The Action Plan for Education details clear curriculum change and other commitments that will secure the step-change needed to equip learners with the skills necessary to participate in the modern economy. It includes:
- actions to promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering an...

255. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of hardcopies of primary language curriculum handbooks for English-medium schools still available from his Department; if same will be reprinted for schools to provide a copy for each teacher; if there will be a charge for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 13755/18 asked on 27 Mar 2018 - School Curriculum)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The Primary Language Curriculum for Junior Infants to 2nd Class was introduced in September 2016. All schools were provided with hard copies of the curriculum, one for each teacher, in the spring of 2016. Copies were also made available to Teacher Training Colleges to provide trainee teachers with copies. My Department currently has less than 100 copies remaining and currently there are no plans to reprint it. The curriculum along wi...

172. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason schools in counties Sligo and Leitrim were not included in his Department’s pilot scheme for physical education for the leaving certificate programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 11793/18 asked on 20 Mar 2018 - School Curriculum)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): A very significant number of schools, approximately 360, applied to participate in the Phase 1 rollout of Leaving Certificate Physical Education (LCPE) and/or the Senior Cycle Physical Education (SCPE) Framework, with many applications being of high quality. Given that a limited number of 80 schools was selected for participation in phase 1 it was inevitable that a large number of schools that submitted quality applications would unfort...

268. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of the review of the social, personal and health education courses at senior cycle; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 12767/18 asked on 20 Mar 2018 - School Curriculum)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): A review of senior cycle programmes and vocational pathways in senior cycle has been commenced by the NCCA with a view to recommending areas for development. As a first step, to inform this review, the NCCA commissioned research to scope international developments in upper secondary education. This research will feed into a public consultation process in spring 2018, which commenced with a conference on senior cycle review on Tuesday 2...

269. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Education and Skills the timeframe for the review of junior cycle social, personal and health education courses to take place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 12768/18 asked on 20 Mar 2018 - School Curriculum)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The Social, Personal and Health Education, SPHE, curriculum is mandatory at primary level and up to junior cycle at post-primary level.  A Framework for SPHE at Senior Cycle is also available to schools. The SPHE curriculum aims to provide a range of diverse and inclusive skills such as communicating, making decisions, knowing where to find reliable data, belonging and integrating, handling conflict constructively, dealing with bullying...

897. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the cross-departmental work she undertakes with the Department of Education and Skills regarding work experience placements of secondary school students during transition year; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 12496/18 asked on 20 Mar 2018 - School Curriculum)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): My Department does not undertake any cross-Departmental work with the Department of Education and Skills to place secondary school students on work experience during transition year.
My Department is fully committed to safeguarding the well-being of all the children and young people with whom we work and, in accordance with section 11 of the Children First Act 2015,  it has prepared and issued the Department’s Child Safeguarding...

26. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the way in which creative schools will put the arts and creativity at the heart of children’s and young person’s lives. (Question 9871/18 asked on 28 Feb 2018 - School Curriculum)

Deputy Tom Neville: I want to ask the Minister about the way in which creative schools will put the arts and creativity at the centre of the lives of children and young people.
 ...

222. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to improve the manner in which the Irish language is being taught at primary school level (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7364/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - School Curriculum)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): A new primary language curriculum for junior infants to second class has been developed.  Implementation of the new curriculum commenced on a phased basis in 2016 starting with the oral strand.  This was prioritised to allow teachers to emphasise the importance of speaking Irish as a living language.
There are two curriculums; one for Irish-medium schools where Irish is the language of instruction and one for English-medium schools where...

123. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Education and Skills if dance will be included in physical education as part of the curriculum in secondary schools. (Question 6199/18 asked on 07 Feb 2018 - School Curriculum)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): It is the Department’s intention that all our pupils receive a quality Physical Education, as part of a curriculum aimed at supporting their holistic development. This involves appropriate instruction in a variety of movement forms that are designed to enhance the physical, cognitive, social and emotional development of all pupils. Dance is one such movement form. The Department encourages schools to make every effort to deliver the D...

11. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to implement the recommendation of the Joint Committee on the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution regarding the provision of factual sex education independent of school ethos; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 4899/18 asked on 01 Feb 2018 - School Curriculum)

Deputy Ruth Coppinger: I want to ask the Minister about his plans to implement the Joint Committee on the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution’s recommendation that sex education should be provided in “a factual manner that is independent of school ethos”. Is the sex education programme in schools being reviewed? Does the Minister have any idea of how many schools are teaching sex education and how many are not?
 ...

223. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the selection process for schools that were selected to teach the new leaving certificate computer science subject; the number of schools that were offered the programme in County Laois; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 4083/18 asked on 30 Jan 2018 - School Curriculum)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The introduction of Computer Science as a Leaving Certificate subject is part of this Government’s overall commitment to embed digital technology in teaching and learning.  I asked my Department to accelerate the introduction of this exciting new subject into the first phase of schools to September 2018. 
As part of the process of identifying schools to participate in Phase 1 of the implementation of the new subject, my Department issued...

224. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the selection process for schools that were selected to teach the new leaving certificate computer science subject; the number of schools that were offered the programme in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 4084/18 asked on 30 Jan 2018 - School Curriculum)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The introduction of Computer Science as a Leaving Certificate subject is part of this Government’s overall commitment to embed digital technology in teaching and learning.  I asked my Department to accelerate the introduction of this exciting new subject into the first phase of schools to September 2018. 
As part of the process of identifying schools to participate in Phase 1 of the implementation of the new subject, my Department issued...

223. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will report on the progress to date of his Department’s steering group that was set up to develop and oversee an implementation plan for leaving certificate computer science with a view to commence introduction in schools from September 2018; the group’s findings in terms of cost of infrastructure and equipment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3269/18 asked on 23 Jan 2018 - School Curriculum)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I am delighted to be able to introduce Computer Science as a new optional Leaving Certificate subject. A Computer Science Steering Group, chaired by my Department, has met on six occasions to date and is overseeing an implementation plan for the new specification. 40 schools have been selected for Phase 1 implementation of the new subject from September of this year. My Department’s Teacher Education support services will be working clos...

224. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Education and Skills to outline his plans to introduce computer coding at primary level; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3270/18 asked on 23 Jan 2018 - School Curriculum)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) is currently developing a new primary mathematics curriculum which will include elements of creative and computational thinking, which underpin coding and computer science. The NCCA will also be working with a network of schools during this school year to explore different approaches to integrating coding in the primary curriculum.
The Deputy may also be aware of developments rega...

227. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Education and Skills to outline his views on whether the science curriculum is sufficient at primary school level; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3273/18 asked on 23 Jan 2018 - School Curriculum)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): At primary school level, the Social, Environmental and Scientific Education area of the curriculum which includes the Science Curriculum enables the child to learn and practice a wide range of skills and to acquire open, critical and responsible attitudes. The content of the Science curriculum is broken into four main strands /areas of learning: Living Things, Energy and Forces, Materials and Environmental Awareness and Care. The Science...

104. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Education and Skills his views on whether the delivery of relationships and sexuality education, RSE, by an organisation (details supplied) of one particular faith in Kildare and Wicklow ETB schools satisfies the requirement under circular 0037/2010 to have an objective RSE programme; his further views on whether ETB schools should avail of RSE services from one particular faith background; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 2576/18 asked on 18 Jan 2018 - School Curriculum)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Circular 37/2010 requires that schools’ RSE policies are developed in consultation with teachers, parents/guardians, members of Boards of Management and students. The RSE policy should reflect the core values and ethos of the school as outlined in the school’s mission statement. Where spiritual, moral or ethical issues arise when teaching RSE, the school’s RSE policy should guide teachers in the treatment of such issues, in accordance wi...

404. Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Education and Skills the selection process for schools that were selected to teach the new leaving certificate computer science subject; the number of schools that were offered the programme in County Louth; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 1063/18 asked on 16 Jan 2018 - School Curriculum)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The introduction of Computer Science as a Leaving Certificate subject is part of this Government’s overall commitment to embed digital technology in teaching and learning.  I asked my Department to accelerate the introduction of this exciting new subject into the first phase of schools to September 2018. 
As part of the process of identifying schools to participate in Phase 1 of the implementation of Leaving Certificate Computer Science,...

165. Deputy Noel Rock asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to review the English curriculum in the primary level education cycle; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52767/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - School Curriculum)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): A new integrated Primary Language Curriculum for junior infants to second class, incorporating both Irish and English, was introduced from September 2016. This curriculum supports children’s language learning in our two languages, Irish and English, through high-quality experiences. The curriculum aims to ensure that children acquire transferrable language skills which will assist them in learning both Irish and English during their pr...

42. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will consider a continuous assessment element of all leaving certificate exam subjects as part of the leaving certificate reform; and his plans to consider introducing a life-skills class alongside the new syllabus subjects; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 51803/17 asked on 06 Dec 2017 - School Curriculum)

Deputy Kathleen Funchion: My question relates to the current reform of the leaving certificate syllabus and if the Minister will consider a continuous assessment element for all leaving certificate exam subjects, and look at the possibility of introducing a life skills class alongside the new syllabus subjects.
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71. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to introduce a module on animal welfare and responsible pet ownership to the primary school curriculum; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 51917/17 asked on 06 Dec 2017 - School Curriculum)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): At primary school level, social, environmental and scientific education enables the child to learn and practice a wide range of skills; and to acquire open, critical and responsible attitudes, including caring for animals. 
Engagement with the Living Things strand unit in the science curriculum gives children the opportunity to study animals and their life processes in the context of their interrelationships with plants and people.  For ...

204. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Education and Skills the details of the public consultation on the SPHE curriculum; if it will be informed by equality based civic society groups, such as LGBT or disability based NGOs or advocacy groups; if the curriculum will be equality proofed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 51833/17 asked on 05 Dec 2017 - School Curriculum)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) consulted on proposals for structure and time allocation in a redeveloped primary curriculum between January and June this year. This consultation was the first time, in almost twenty years, when teachers, principals, parents and the wider public had an opportunity to consider how the primary curriculum is structured and how time is allocated within it. The findings from the consu...