General Teaching Council Northern Ireland

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Revised Curriculum will raise school standards - Ruane


Revised Curriculum will raise school standards - Ruane

The revised curriculum being introduced on a phased basis from September 2007 will improve children's future prospects and raise standards in our schools.

This was the key message from Education Minister Caitríona Ruane to over 500 primary school heads who had gathered at Armagh City Hotel to discuss the implementation of the revised curriculum.

During the conference the Minister also announced an additional £3million to enhance classroom resources for the Foundation Stage of the revised curriculum and an extra 20,000 laptop computers across primary and post-primary schools.

Caitríona Ruane said: "Our education system should be about creating confident and articulate young people who can go out in the global arena and avail of the best employment prospects.

"We need to ensure that what our children are taught is fit for purpose, not just for today, but for the world as it will be when they leave education.

"Teachers and school leaders have a profound impact on the lives of young people, and especially in their early and formative years in primary school.

"Every child has a fundamental right to be given every opportunity to reach their full potential. Whether we are involved as minister, teacher, policy maker or parent, we all have a duty to make those opportunities happen.

"Of course, resources are necessary to deliver this and I can announce an additional £3million for the coming year for the Foundation Stage. In addition, we will supply an extra 20,000 laptop computers to primary and post-primary schools to support curriculum and assessment and further ICT skills."

The conference was organised to update primary school heads on the curriculum implementation. Speaking about some of the changes planned, Caitríona Ruane said; "The revised curriculum is about handing back to teachers the flexibility to tailor what you teach in the way you see fit. It is about being less prescriptive so that it can be more adaptable to the needs of your pupils.

"Implementation of the revised curriculum is being phased in over a three year period to give schools time to adapt and the first year will be one of transition, not just for the curriculum itself, but also for the assessment and reporting procedures.

"The important thing about the revised curriculum is the stronger emphasis on the fundamental skills - literacy, numeracy and ICT. These are the core to a sound education and to future prospects of the children.

"In addition to these core elements, I believe we need to make education more attractive to our children by giving greater emphasis to the creative and expressive areas, like art and music, providing support that will enable schools to enhance provision in sport and language learning. I am meeting representatives from both IFA and the GAA to see how we can bring this programme forward.

"I believe that we start learning languages too late, and we need to start introducing our children to a second language from an early age. Some primary schools already do this, and with the arrival of children from many countries in our schools this is an appropriate time to start. I am keen that all schools can avail of a wide range of language lessons, including Irish.

The Minister concluded; "This is a period of great change in the education sector. Over the past two weeks I have already stated publicly how highly I value the work teachers do. I believe that by working together, we can have very positive impacts on the lives of our young people."


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