Education, physical and mental health

Didn’t want to hijack the Covid 19 thread with this anymore buy good to hear common sense has prevailed and the Junior Cert won’t take place in September. Unfortunately the last few weeks have shown that the decision makers at the top are really out of touch with the students and teachers on the ground.


They always have been. Expedience trumps all other concerns. Career civil servants just don’t want shit sticking to their fur. Normally they hide poor or harsh decisions behind waffle and PR. The odd time, we see through the veil.

Pure stupid. McHugh is an appalling minister.

Many government departments have performed miracles over the last two months. Education has been the outlier. A disaster.

The Leaving may well be next. And all this time wasted.


There really is no excuse. How could they not think the logistics of the junior cert out? There’s literally an entire department dedicated to education. They have nothing else to focus on. Hopefully they’ll cancel the leaving too, for the students mental health if nothing else.

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Is there any meaningful engagement with teachers and even parents. It always strikes me that when the Minister does the Union conferences at Easter it’s not exactly constructive - rather it’s often confrontational.

I am aware there is some advisory body which I think I recall you wouldn’t have huge time for? It’s always handy for politicians to have Such groups to hide behind and sometimes blame.

Is there any other meaningful forum that connects with teachers on the ground and parents.

Seems to me most of what’s been going on has been reaction to opinion polls.

There’s a huge communications deficit in education.

A good example would be the new Junior. The default position is teachers are always opposed to everything. Yet if you’re of a certain age you probably wouldn’t recognise an of the courses/papers you did nowadays for the Leaving. And mostly teachers were fine with that. We 've implemented enormous change. But it’s badly communicated. So along comes a shockingly ill thought out reform of the Junior and it’s “oh those teachers. Always protesting”

The unions are shit. The SEC is shit. The NCCA (Curriculum development) is shit. And don’t get me started on the Teaching Council. The single most useless QANGO we have. And there’s a lot of competition.

Anything these days that doesn’t involve being in a classroom teaching I find extremely irritating.


Yep. In a nutshell.

Yeah it strikes me that the prevalence of this us and them thing doesn’t help - it seems there’s always an edge and no air of working together.

There’s a lot of it about. Even within schools. Communication is just not good enough. And that’s unforgivable in this day and age.

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Fair @alanoc as parent of kids in exam mode its nice to have opinion of someone who has the experience to know what your talking about.

Junior Cert is important as much as its not, its the experience of a state exam kids get and an indicator of what they should be doing senior cycle. If most now go on to transition year they may not be too badly effected as some extra academic work could be shoe horned in that year.

Leaving certs are going to sit a exam that they will all be compassionately marked in, points will inevitably go up.

Fifth years are the ones really caught badly, leaving is a two year programme where most of the heavy academic work is completed in 5th year and 6th year is finishing the course, revision and exam prep.

I doubt very strongly a this stage if any post primary student will be in a class room again until the next school year. Emails, zoom and all of these things are a great effort but nothing beats being in school mode and doing course work day in day out, Covid 19 is going to had a detrimental effect on all of these kids and not just leaving cert 2020.

I genuinely fear for kids of the worry age 14-16, many it is well documented drop out of organised sports, like GAA, without the structure of club matches/training and schools I think there will be a bigger drop off.

I know the health and welfare of all citizens is the most important but a plan to return to education is vital, the department should be engaging school management, teachers and their rep bodies as well as parents groups. Id be sure 99% of teachers would be will to get creative with how schools come back and how the lost time could be made up. As has been pointed out a lot of quangos and mandrins are flying kites and communicating through the media and not giving a clear message to those who need it most.


Well said. Agree with all of that. Especially about fifth years.

The state should be throwing huge resources into making sure we can go back in September.

There are massive issues around education. Once upon a time it was a vocation … less so now. Not helped by Government policy over many years. Up to the 50s/60s our schools (and hospitals) were run with religious fervour. We have subsequently found out about the horrendous sex scandals but the institutions were, in the main, well run. The last 30+ years has seen a total and understandable eradication of respect for the ‘old order’ and, because of cover ups etc, huge damage to the body politic - rightly.

I left school in the early 80s. My experience is caught between the two. An end to corporal punishment during my school years but suffering same (savagely sometimes) even at primary level.

I believe @alanoc has a vocation. We have many rows and I think he is too old school - but his heart is in educating our young. The issues in our education system are many - trust, confidence, co-operation - collegiality. But increasingly Govt policy (sometimes formed through very difficult economic times, sometimes not) has been at variance with the thinking of those at the coal face of our education system. This chasm is caused by one thing only though … money. Young teachers have been treated badly - in pay terms, in delivery of curriculums, in terms of their self worth and importance in the critical service they deliver. Why go the extra mile?

Education - like many other societal matters - cannot be guided and decided on finance alone. Unfortunately this is and has been, increasingly the case …


Liamo, Completely agree. I have a 5th year and he is or has lost the will to live regarding on-line education. I am myself delivering on-line across the globe and have found it challenging to say the least. My worry is that next year they will be expected to just continue on as this break never happened. Nothing beats classroom interaction. That and the fact he wont get his 2nd year at minor in!!! Think that’s playing on his mind more.

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Mine have said the same. Back in September as if nothing has happened. At the very least they should be given an extra month in 6th Year. I’d do it happily. Most teachers would

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As long as they decide that early. To stop students and teachers possibly booking holidays and students getting stressed thinking they’ve less time.

Yep. Won’t hold my breath.

No nothing they’ve done so far would make you think they’re capable of making a well thought out decision quickly.

I think the question must be asked, what kind of system do we have if a kid can go to school for 14 years, but missing 3 months has a devasting impact. I am not talking about Ireland alone, in general the sytems around Europe are pretty similar, all built up to a grand finale, it makes one feel that learning is not that important it is just about getting over an exam.

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My knowledge of other countries education systems is limited but here in Ireland 90% of your last two years of school is focused on one set of exams. A lot of what is taught is irrelevant information for young people to have in this day and age. Not enough life skills are taught unfortunately and honestly the whole system is a big rat race for points. It’s an unhealthy outdated system that doesn’t coincide with prioritising the students wellbeing.

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Here school is 50% end of school project 10 and the equivelant of the leaving 40% but in general it is as you say all built towards vomitting pretty useless info in oder to filther people through the system, I mean what value has all your years in school got if 3 months can f it all up.