DES: Minister of Education and Skills Joe McHugh T.D. today announced an additional €1 million is being/has been allocated to the Student Assistance Fund (SAF) for Professional Master of Education (PME) students who are experiencing financial difficulty. This additional funding is ring-fenced to provide support for students on PME programmes and it is part of the Department’s wider responses to teacher supply issues, as set out in the Teacher Supply Action Plan. Read press release

DES: The Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh T.D. has reminded parents to express their preference in relation to the patronage of 12 primary schools to be established in 2019. Parents of children in these areas who will be starting school in the next five years are invited to express their patronage preferences using the Department’s new Online Patronage Process System (OPPS) website. Read press release

Iona Institute: Parents are being urged to give their opinion of the Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) programme via an official consultation. The consultation is being hosted online by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment in preparation for a major overhaul of RSE.  Kate Liffey, National Director for Catechetics of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, has called on parents to participate in the simple online survey. Speaking to Spirit Radio on Tuesday, she rejected the notion of a secular, value-neutral approach to RSE and said parents should make clear the important values they want to see incorporated into the programme. Read article

Circular 0001/2019: Special Leave for teachers who are members of Voluntary Search and Rescue Organisations and are called-out on a Search and Rescue Operation

The Journal: On the 19th December, the Association of Secondary School Teachers in Ireland issued advice to its members informing them that they should no longer participate in formulating or implementing Individual Education Plans or Student Support Files as they are not legally required. This followed a similar call from the Teachers’ Union of Ireland in its most recent members’ magazine. Read article

The Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference: Catholic Schools Week 2019 will run from 27 January to 3 February on the theme ‘Catholic Schools: Celebrating the Work of Our Local Catholic Schools’. During Catholic Schools Week 2019 we invite each of our Catholic school families to participate in a week of celebration and reflection.  The Catholic Schools Week Steering Committee has made a series of resources available, each with its own unique daily theme. Read article

The Irish Times: The latest report into the Deis programme, which was introduced to primary and post-primary schools in Ireland in 2006, showed that achievement levels among Junior Cert students in Deis schools has “improved significantly” while the gap between Deis and non-Deis schools continues to narrow. However, it warned there is still a significant difference in educational achievements between students in Deis and non-Deis schools. Read article

DES: Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh T.D has today welcomed the publication of the latest in the Educational Research Centre’s reports on the evaluation of the DEIS programme. The report entitled “The Evaluation of DEIS at post-primary level: Closing the achievement and attainment gaps” involves the examination of trends in student attainment in terms of Junior and Senior cycle retention rates and student achievement in terms of performance in the Junior Certification Examination. Read press release

The Irish Times: Just one in 25 Leaving Cert students believe the exam is a fair and accurate assessment of their knowledge and skills, according to a new survey. The study also found a vast majority of students (76 per cent) support a move towards continuous assessment to help ease the pressure and stress linked to summer exams. Read article

The Irish Times: Minister for Education Joe McHugh has insisted that Irish will remain a compulsory part of the school curriculum for students. His comments come at a time of record levels of public interest in a review of rules for exemptions for the study of Irish, which an official report has found are “not fit for purpose”. Read article

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