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Written Answers - School Curriculum

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 752 No. 2

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 13.  Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher  asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  if he will consider proposals contained in the recent report by the National Competitiveness Council which recommended that the education system be overhauled with a much greater emphasis on maths in primary schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2923/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills (Deputy Sean Sherlock): Information on Sean Sherlock Zoom on Sean Sherlock I am pleased to note that the National Competitiveness Council endorses the approach outlined in Literacy and Numeracy for Learning and Life which I launched in July 2011. The Strategy [294]provides for a range of measures which will improve mathematics. These include curriculum reform, actions with parents to support their children’s learning, improved initial and continuing professional development for teachers, strengthened assessment, school leadership and planning, and support for children with identified needs.

In that context, a national programme of professional development is under way for primary and second level schools. Primary schools have been asked to increase the time spent on mathematics by 70 minutes per week from January 2012, to introduce a third point of standardised testing in literacy and maths, and to report the results to parents as part of an overall report on their children’s progress.

I recently launched a report on the first phase of evaluation of DEIS which shows significant improvements in literacy and numeracy scores since 2006/7, and a report of English reading and Mathematics achievement in Irish medium schools.

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