INTO publishes submission on draft maths curriculum

As part of the consultation process on the Primary Maths curriculum, the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) has today published our submission to the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) in respect of the draft primary mathematics curriculum.

Considering the significance of the teacher’s voice in policy, the INTO supports the partnership approach to curriculum development. Teachers appreciate the opportunity to engage in consultation to ensure their views and concerns regarding the draft curriculum are captured.

In order to inform our position, the union organised a number of consultation focus groups with members. Three face-to-face focus groups were held in different parts of the country as well as two online. A number of INTO branches as well as individual members also provided feedback. Much valuable information was gathered during this process despite the short timeframe allowed and the scheduling of the consultation during an extremely busy final term of the school year. Concerns were also expressed by members regarding the limited time allowed to schools to engage with the draft curriculum documents, having just emerged from the very challenging pandemic period.

Having considered the draft curriculum specification, and engaged with members, the INTO makes the following recommendations regarding the content and implementation of the Primary mathematics curriculum:

  • The learning outcomes and associated mathematical concepts should be reviewed and further developed as necessary to provide certainty and clear guidance to teachers enabling them to plan focused, appropriate, and enriching learning experiences for all children.
  • Language used throughout the curriculum documents should be reviewed and revised in the interests of clarity, accessibility, and relevance to practising teachers.
  • Specific curriculum content and resource materials must be developed to reflect the centrality of mathematical language and to promote a coherent approach to mathematical language across all classes.
  • High-quality, timely, and in-person initial CPD must be provided to all schools and teachers prior to the implementation of the curriculum together with ongoing and accessible support. The majority of this support must be of a face-to-face nature
  • School-based planning days must be provided to schools for a number of years to allow time and space to embed new curricula and new practices and pedagogies.
  • Guidance on whole-school planning to complement Preparation for Teaching and Learning – Guidance for all Primary and Special Schools must be developed to facilitate schools in planning for a new mathematics curriculum and the subsequent rollout of the Primary Curriculum Framework.

A learning-outcomes approach creates a significant shift in curriculum culture which will require investment and support for teachers to enable them to develop a curriculum that meets the needs of their individual contexts. Any curriculum process model which relies on teacher judgement is far more demanding on teachers and thus far more challenging to implement in practice. Therefore, the INTO reiterates that teachers need more time, support, and professional development opportunities to allow them to engage with this new approach to curriculum.

The INTO reiterates that the wider issues of class size, resourcing, time and sustained CPD must be addressed to ensure effective implementation of any new curriculum.

To read the full submission, click here.