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A very excited Jessica McKean at Dublin Airport with her mother Sarah as they head to Nice, France, where Jessica will represent Ireland at the grand final of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest on 26 Novemeber 2023. Jessica's song 'Aisling' was written by Niall Mooney and his team.

The Primary Curriculum Framework

Heralding a new era for primary and special school education in Ireland

This article, written by the four members of the advisory panel supporting the redevelopment of the primary school curriculum, explores the key features, concepts, and ‘big ideas’ in the Primary Curriculum Framework, as well as the opportunities and challenges inherent in the curriculum change process.

Thomas Walsh
Maynooth University
Dominic Wyse
University College London
Jim Spillane
Northwestern University, Chicago
Louise Hayward
University of Glasgow

Student Participation during Inspection

A rights-based approach

The inspection of early learning and care settings and schools affects children; it is therefore a matter about which they are entitled to have their views sought, listened to, and taken into account. This article outlines the rights-respecting approach taken by the Department of Education Inspectorate in working with children. The approach gives them an opportunity to express their views about the quality of provision they experience and plays an important role in advocating for children’s rights in schools and settings generally.

Dr Suzanne Conneely
Assistant Chief Inspector, Department of Education

Belief Fluidity in Ireland’s Changing Primary School Context

Challenges for religious education

This article profiles the complex, evolving role played by religion and belief in the context of sociocultural changes impacting on Ireland’s denominational primary school system. Recent research indicates that the religious and belief self-identification of initial teacher educators and primary school teachers is complex and fluid. The article focuses on the challenges that teachers may face as they teach Religious Education.

Dr Aiveen Mullally
Lecturer in Religious Education, and Director of the Centre for Religious Education, Marino Institute of Education
Patricia Kieran
Associate Professor of Religious Education, and Director of the Irish Institute for Catholic Studies, Mary Immaculate College

A Sense of Belonging

Perspectives on the integration and inclusion of Ukrainian pupils in Irish schools

This article tells the story of how displaced Ukrainian children have settled into an Irish primary school and embraced the opportunities and learning in the Irish education system. It reports the opinions of teachers on their in-class experiences with newcomer Ukrainian pupils, and it includes a first-hand account by Olha Hnativ, a Ukrainian teacher who supported and taught our pupils.

Louise Tobin
President of the Irish Primary Principals’ Network

The Wellbeing and Values In-School Project

Designing a wellbeing and values programme for primary school children

This article describes the design and implementation of a programme of interventions to support the development of independent wellbeing skills among younger children in primary education. Teachers used innovative pedagogies that empowered children to become self-directed, self-regulated learners. By reinforcing universal human values through quotes, songs, and stories, the children learned to build on their strengths, take control of their feelings and emotions, and develop their inner moral compass.

Susan Brophy
Special Education Teacher, Holy Cross NS

The Potential of Small-Group Parallel Instruction for EAL Support Provision in Primary Schools

Lessons from the Tell-a-Tale | Inis Scéal Programme

This article unpacks the potential of using a small-group parallel instruction model for English as an additional language in Irish primary schools. Drawing on doctoral research findings in the ‘Tell-a-Tale | Inis Scéal’ programme, it outlines current approaches to collaborative (co-)teaching, charts participants’ responses to the small-group parallel instructional model, and proposes future action for policy and practice.

Dr Aoife Merrins
Primary school teacher at Scoil Mhichíl Naofa, Athy, and PhD graduate of the Institute of Education, Dublin City University
An tOllamh Pádraig Ó Duibhir
Institute of Education, Dublin City University
Gillian Lake
Assistant Professor in Early Childhood Education, Institute of Education, Dublin City University

The Physical Voice in ‘Student Voice’

Empowering students’ physical voices through a public-speaking approach

What is the role of children’s voices in ‘student voice’? This article explores the importance of empowering the physical voices of all children through a public-speaking approach to oral language development. If we are serious about realising the concept of student voice in our primary schools, we must enable and empower all students to speak up, speak out to the best of their abilities, and literally have their voice heard.

Dr Siobhán Keenan Fitzgerald
Teaching Principal, Eglish Primary School, Co. Galway

Building Connections between the European Schools System and Ireland’s Education System

The European Schools (ES) system had its platinum jubilee in October 2023, marking 70 years of educational provision for the children of EU officials since the first European School was established in Luxembourg in 1953. This followed Ireland’s presidency of the ES and the opportunity to influence the rapidly evolving ES system. This article reflects on how the two educational systems complement each other in language learning, citizenship education, and reflective practice.

Dr Treasa Kirk
Assistant Chief Inspector and Ireland’s Head of Delegation to the European Schools
Dr John Fitzgerald
Divisional Inspector and Assigned Nursery/Primary Inspector to the European Schools
Deborah Quigley
Assigned Post-Primary Inspector and Secondary Inspector to the European Schools

The Health and Wellbeing of Irish School Leaders

What the research is telling us

This article details the findings of research commissioned by the Irish Primary Principals’ Network and the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals into the health and wellbeing of Irish school leaders in both primary and post-primary sectors. This research was undertaken in response to concerns that the increasing complexity and workload demands of school leadership roles are impacting on the health and wellbeing of principals and deputy principals.

Brian O’Doherty
Sustainable Leadership Project Coordinator, Irish Primary Principals’ Network

‘Children come to school with more than the bags on their back’

Discussing grief support in Irish schools

Grief remains a sensitive and often misunderstood topic in schools, creating additional hurdles for pupils. Educators play a vital role in creating a nurturing school environment that provides empathy and support through understanding and compassion, within appropriate boundaries. This article discusses the grief responses of young people and how we can support them by empowering teachers through understanding.

Aoife M. Lynam
Assistant Professor in Psychology of Education, Trinity College Dublin
Conor Mc Guckin
Associate Professor in Psychology of Education, Trinity College Dublin

Embracing Diversity, Nurturing Integration Project (EDNIP)

A school-based response to Ireland's increasingly diverse classrooms

This article outlines the background to and model of a pioneering initiative with five DEIS band 1 primary schools in Limerick city that seeks to support and promote the integration of migrant families in school and community life.

Dr Ruth Bourke
Assistant Professor/Coordinator, Transforming Education through Dialogue (TED) Project, MIC
Áine Lyne
Assistant Professor/ Assistant Coordinator, TED Project, MIC
Lisa Martin
EDNIP Project Leader, TED Project MIC
Helen Lowe
EDNIP Support Worker, TED Project, MIC

Insights on Equity in Mathematics and Reading Skills

Ireland’s performance in large-scale assessments at primary level

In 2023 the Educational Research Centre published findings from recent cycles of two major studies that assess pupils’ mathematics and reading skills at primary level. This article describes the studies, summarises their findings, and outlines the implications for educational policy in Ireland.

Dr Lorraine Gilleece
Research Fellow, Educational Research Centre
Dr Emer Delaney
Research Fellow, Educational Research Centre

Other Chapters Ireland's Education Yearbook 2023

Ireland's Education Yearbook 2023 is supported by:

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