103. Deputy Louise O’Reilly asked the Minister for Education and Skills the costs associated with undertaking a national audit of all learning centres in respect of healthy school environments and conformation with the national obesity plan, national physical activity plan and Healthy Ireland; his plans for an audit of equipment, infrastructure and facilities in schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20566/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - School Curriculum)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): My Department fully supports the promotion of healthy lifestyles in schools and has issued circulars to support and strengthen schools’ efforts in developing in young people the skills and attitudes needed to make informed decisions about their health. Through the curriculum students are taught the key skills and knowledge to enable them to make healthier life choices and to develop the resilience to reject negative options. This can be ...

172. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the controls his Department exercises in regard to outside groups that are invited by schools to help in delivering various aspects of the curriculum. (Question 20036/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - School Curriculum)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I propose to take Questions Nos. 172 and 173 together.
It is the responsibility of each individual school to select the materials and resources that it will use to support its implementation of any part of the curriculum including SPHE or PE. Where an outside organisation is engaged by a school, they should be engaged in the context of delivering a planned and comprehensive programme in the school. They must not be brought in to replace...

173. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his Department has a memorandum of understanding with national organisations including, but not limited to, national sporting organisations or other outside organisations governing their participation within schools in helping deliver parts of curricula. (Question 20037/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - School Curriculum)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I propose to take Questions Nos. 172 and 173 together.
It is the responsibility of each individual school to select the materials and resources that it will use to support its implementation of any part of the curriculum including SPHE or PE. Where an outside organisation is engaged by a school, they should be engaged in the context of delivering a planned and comprehensive programme in the school. They must not be brought in to replace...

92. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated full year cost of introducing a computing and coding curriculum for primary schools. (Question 19426/18 asked on 03 May 2018 - School Curriculum)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Exact expenditure figures regarding the teaching of Computing or Coding in primary schools are not available, as funding is not allocated by my Department on a subject-by-subject basis. However, work in this area is taking place at both primary and post-primary levels.
Shortly after being appointed, I asked the NCCA how coding and computational and creative thinking skills could be incorporated into the primary school curriculum.
The ne...

95. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Education and Skills the new subjects or subject areas being considered by his Department or the NCCA, National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, as potential subjects for State examination at post-primary level; and the timeframe planned for the introduction of such new examination subjects. (Question 19185/18 asked on 02 May 2018 - School Curriculum)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Junior Cycle 
Implementation of the new framework is proceeding. Implementation commenced in September 2014 with the introduction of English, for first year students. Subjects are being introduced on a phased basis up to 2019 and are being supported by a comprehensive CPD programme for teachers.
The new Junior Cycle gives schools greater flexibility to design programmes that are suited to the needs of their Junior Cycle students and to t...

99. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the provision for the teaching of financial literacy for school children and adults outside of the formal education system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19238/18 asked on 02 May 2018 - School Curriculum)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Primary Curriculum 
Financial literacy is mainly explored through mathematics though there are some elements of it in SESE. Examples of other resources available on Scoilnet include: http://www.moneyville.ie/
In Mathematics in primary level, students learn to calculate length, area, weight, capacity, time and money in the Measures strand of the curriculum. The Number strand includes computational skills such as addition, subtraction, mul...

181. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason for the decision to introduce a new mathematics curriculum just as teachers have become used to the old one (details supplied); if his attention has been drawn to the disquiet among experienced teachers in regard to the introduction of the new curriculum and the lack of consultation which preceded its introduction; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17463/18 asked on 24 Apr 2018 - School Curriculum)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): It has been nearly 20 years since the introduction of the current Primary School Mathematics Curriculum in 1999.  Much has changed and happened since then. In meeting the demands of unprecedented societal and educational change, it is important to review and update the curriculum to ensure children are afforded a high-quality, coherent, and more relevant mathematics education that will contribute towards their personal and academic lear...

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...