Monday, March 06, 2023

Michael Bolton

The new primary school curriculum will be taught from 2026, with a greater focus on languages.

Details of the new curriculum are due to be announced by the Minister for Education on Thursday, which will represent the first major shift in the syllabus in 25 years.

Foreign languages will be introduced at primary level, as well as and science and technology subjects.

Labour’s education spokesperson, Aodhán O’Ríordáin, who is also a former primary school principal, said it will take time for the new syllabus to make its way into classrooms.

“I think they are broadly positive, they have been well flagged over the last couple of months”, said Mr O’Ríordáin.

“We are talking about extra time for foreign languages, more flexible time within schools so they have autonomy to focus on things they feel need to be prioritised.

“A greater focus on well-being, and a reduced focus on religion, which I think is a positive, because I think we need to balance some of the time spent in Primary school hours.”

However, though it seems homework is likely to remain part of the new curriculum, there are set to be some slight changes.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he is not following the President’s calls to bring an end to homework, but admitted it needs to be scaled back.

“I do think there is a role for homework to play. Maybe in the past kids got too much homework. I remember going home at half three or four o’clock with hours of homework to do, it was too much.

“If you are doing sums, or learning a foreign language, or you are trying to learn the Irish language, it does make sense that you do a bit of practice at home in your own time too.

“I think there is room for homework, but maybe not the level of homework we have seen in the past.”

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