Clarification: Primary Education Change Agenda within Building Momentum

Members will today receive their electronic votes on the proposed new public service agreement, ‘Building Momentum, 2021-22’. Polling closes next Tuesday, 9 February.

The Central Executive Committee (CEC) of the INTO has scrutinised the agenda for change within the primary education sector and has concluded that the expectations on members within the coming two years are very similar to those our members have been facing in the last 12 months.

The CEC has taken this change agenda fully into account when strongly recommending a YES vote to members to accept the terms of the draft public-sector agreement, including the very significant salary increases for post-2010 entrants, principals, deputy principals and all of our members.

Within the lifetime of Building Momentum, just like in all previous public service agreements, INTO members will be expected to co-operate with on-going change in our sector. In the next two years the main initiative primary teachers will be involved with is the roll out of the Primary Languages Curriculum with sustained school support and planning sessions expected to resume from April 2021. Otherwise, from a curriculum point of view, no other ‘reviewed’ subjects will be introduced this year or next year.

Schools will also be expected to continue engaging with current initiatives including the National Strategy to Improve Literacy and Numeracy, Digital Strategy; Gaeltacht Education Strategy; Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education Policy Statement and Strategy on Education for Sustainable Development.

The Department of Education’s Strategy 2021-2023 will include annual Action Plans for Education. The aspects of these action plans pertaining to primary education will have to be agreed with the INTO and are likely to refer to the initiatives listed above.

Since 2018 the INTO and other key primary stakeholders have successfully influenced the timing and pace of initiatives at the Primary Education Forum and they will continue to do so.

The draft agreement also expects that our members will continue to respond in an agile manner to supporting the continuity of learning during periods of school closure throughout the pandemic and to address challenges in learning that may have arisen for children during the crisis.

The CEC urges members to read the draft agreement – Building Momentum – A New Public Service Agreement 2021-2022 – and to beware of misinformation circulating on social media.

Members should also visit the INTO information page, which contains: information on the key changes in the proposed agreement; an informational Eolas; a video explaining the agreement and responding to members’ questions; and an audio-visual presentation on benchmarking awards (‘What does the proposed agreement mean for principals and deputy principals?’).