Bridge21 welcomes radical reform of the Junior Cycle

NCCA Junior Cycle logoWe are delighted with the exciting announcement from the Minister for Education and Skills, Ruarí Quinn, of radical change at Junior Cycle. Over the past 18 months, we have followed (and participated in) the NCCA’s consultation with great interest and it is encouraging that the Minister has now backed the Council’s proposals for the existing Junior Certificate examination to be abolished. As it says in the NCCA’s latest publication, Towards a Framework for Junior Cycle, (you can read/download the full document here)  “unless the examination changes, nothing else will…” (p.6)

We at Bridge21 feel that the framework provides a great opportunity for all education partners to rise to the challenge of building a new approach to Junior Cycle – one that tackles the problems of rote-learning and teaching to the test and, instead, embodies the principles of 21st century learning and allows students to gain vital key skills that will set them up for life. No doubt the reform will bring its fair share of challenges and concerns. Again, to quote the NCCA, “it’s easier to do change on paper than in real classrooms” (p.3). Here at Bridge21, we have witnessed first-hand that real change is possible and it can happen in real classrooms. We are greatly encouraged by the teachers, students, principals and parents in our partner schools who have already taken the first steps in the journey towards change and innovation and we look forward to continuing to support them in the coming years.We also look forward to beginning new partnerships with those who are willing to embrace this opportunity for real change and play a lead role in the development of alternative approaches to the Junior Cycle.

We believe that the Bridge21 model is ideally suited to promoting a new and more flexible approach to learning in the classroom and beyond. Learning can, and will, be more interesting, more relevant, more effective and, dare we suggest, fun for both students and teachers.



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