• The final plans for this year's Leaving Cert are expected to be agreed this afternoon.

    The cabinet sub-committee on education is due to be updated by Education Minister Norma Foley on the process, in order to give clarity to the 60,000 or so students due to sit the exams.

    Talks with unions were continuing late last night in a bid to reach an agreement that could be put before the cabinet sub-committee on education this afternoon.

    It's expected an incorporeal, or over the phone, meeting of the full cabinet would then give sign off.

    The favoured model is one that has an element of written exams along with some predictive grades.

    However, it's yet to be confirmed what choice individual students will have between the two for their own exams.

    It comes as the Teachers Union of Ireland has called for the cancellation of the Junior Cert.

    It said based on public health advice it won't be possible to run the junior and leaving cert at the same time, and so the exam should be replaced with an appropriate alternative.

  • Two teachers unions have backed a motion that could lead to industrial action.

    They are protesting a change to the vaccine rollout list, which will now prioritise someone's age instead of their job.

    The votes from the INTO and the TUI means the two unions now have support for industrial action up to strikes.

    The third major teachers union, the ASTI, is due to vote on a similar motion shortly.

    The three have been angered by changes to the vaccine rollout, which will now be based solely on age.

    Education Minister Norma Foley yesterday ruled out a change to rollout plan.

    But the government now faces possible strikes unless a compromise can be found.

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    The Government announced yesterday a bumper €375m package to help schools get back up and running next month.

    However, concerns have been raised about a backlog in Garda vetting for new staff after Education Minister Norma Foley revealed that teachers from abroad and retired teachers will make up new additional teacher numbers.

    But the Education Minister has said there's no shortage of available primary school teachers to utilise as part of the plan to re-open schools.

    The plan includes money for increased substitution in case a teacher gets sick or can't work because they're in a vulnerable category.

    There's also money to recruit more than 1,000 extra secondary school teachers to help reduce class sizes.

    Minister Norma Foley believes they can find that amount of teachers within the country to work.

    The Teachers Union of Ireland claims it may not be possible to find the extra 1,000 extra teaching staff that the government has promised. President Martin Marjoram says the department already had trouble in finding enough teachers, before the pandemic.

    While John Boyle the General Secretary of the INTO is concerned the number of additional teachers won't be enough in urban areas.

    Some students may be taught in parish halls or GAA facilities when they return to school next month.

    Children from junior infants to second class won't have to observe social distancing but all others will have to be spaced a metre from their classmates.

    75 million euro is being allocated to allow schools adapt their classrooms.

    General secretary at the Dept of Education Kieran Christie says they will also be looking to the community to find space


    Teaching unions disgruntled over changes to the vaccine rollout are seeking an urgent meeting with the government and health officials.

    Members of the ASTI, INTO and TUI supported taking industrial action over the switch which means no profession will be prioritised.

    In a statement today, the unions say they are keen to explore a constructive approach to the current deadlock with government.

    They want to outline their concerns and explore creative solutions to ensure schools remain open.




  • There are calls for the government to confirm the Leaving Cert will go ahead in its traditional format next year.

    The Teachers Union of Ireland says Education Minister Norma Foley hasn't provided clarity so far.

    The TUI says with seven months to next June, confirmation is now needed for students.

    Calculated grades were used for this year's Leaving Cert because of the Covid-19 pandemic.