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Second Level


In celebration of Science Week 2023, Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) partnered with renowned Nigerian-Irish poet and playwright FELISPEAKS to create HUMAN, a reflection on the people carrying out the research that shapes our world today and into the future: ordinary people doing extraordinary things, trying to solve some of our greatest societal challenges.

Designing Junior Cycle and Leaving Certificate Syllabi

The need for a new template

Concerns have been raised by teachers, academics, professional bodies, Oireachtas committees, and experts in curriculum design about the minimal ‘learning-outcomes-only’ template currently being used by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment for Junior Cycle and Leaving Certificate syllabi. This article proposes that a new template be adopted and suggests some alternatives.

Áine Hyland
Emeritus Professor, School of Education, University College Cork
Declan Kennedy
Senior Lecturer, School of Education, University College Cork

Digital Resources for Second Level

The importance of accessible e-books

Making schoolbooks accessible is crucial in ensuring that all students, including those with disabilities or learning difficulties, have equal opportunities to learn and succeed academically. Many school textbooks in e-book form are not as accessible as they could be. This article outlines the importance of accessibility in digital materials to ensure that all students have a better experience of digital resources and the opportunity to achieve academic success.

Ann Marcus-Quinn
Associate Professor in Technical Communication and E-Learning, University of Limerick

Deputy Principals – A Hidden Asset in Schools?

This article offers a snapshot of current research into the position of deputy principals in Irish primary and post-primary schools. It describes findings from a recent survey of deputy principals, reporting their insights into the nature and reality of the role and assessing these issues in the context of other research on school leadership.

Gerry Jeffers
Education Department, Maynooth University
Carmel Lillis
Education Department, Maynooth University
Majella Dempsey
Education Department, Maynooth University

Exploring the Experiences of LGBT+ Secondary School Students in South-East Ireland

Realisation of ‘difference’ and the impact on experiences in education and beyond

LGBT+ students often experience secondary education in a very different way, despite recent advances and the current debates on equality, diversity, and inclusion. This study examined former second-level LGBT+ students’ experiences with their realisation of ‘difference’ and the impacts on their educational experiences, extracurricular activities, and peer and teacher relationships, during and after their school years.

Maurice O’Toole
Deputy Principal, Gorey Community School
Anne Graham Cagney
Senior Lecturer, South East Technological University

Inclusion as Lived and Felt in the Leaving Certificate Applied Programme

A case study exploring spatial discourses of inclusion

This article aims to highlight the importance of the affective nature of inclusion as something that is lived and felt. When analysing policy, we must remain cognisant of its embodied experience, and place student voices at the heart of analysis. Examining the Leaving Certificate Applied programme and listening to LCA student voices allows us to interrogate practices that are taken for granted and to rethink inclusion.

Dr Annmarie Curneen
Lecturer in Education

Activating Social Empathy – A Junior Cycle SPHE Resource

This article describes the Activating Social Empathy (ASE) programme for Junior Cycle developed at the University of Galway. It outlines the nature and importance of empathy and empathy education, and it details the findings of evaluation of the ASE programme for teachers and students alike.

Emer Davitt
Lecturer in Education, University of Galway
Niamh Flynn
Lecturer in Educational Psychology, School of Education, University of Galway
Charlotte Silke
Postdoctoral Researcher, UNESCO Child & Family Research Centre, University of Galway
Clíona Murray
Lecturer, School of Education, University of Galway
Róisín Hanley
Research Assistant, UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, University of Galway

Transition Year Mathematics – The Forgotten Middle Child?

Understanding mathematical preparedness in Transition Year using a Delphi study methodology

Mathematics education at Junior Cycle and Leaving Certificate levels has experienced major reforms over the last decade, largely influenced by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). However, Transition Year has remained largely unreformed and unaltered since its introduction in 1974. This article aims to understand mathematical preparedness in Transition Year using a Delphi study methodology.

Derek Maher
Deputy Principal, Mathematics Teacher, and Doctorate of Education Candidate, Trinity College Dublin
Dr Aibhín Bray
Assistant Professor in Mathematics Education, School of Education, Trinity College Dublin

School Placement in Initial Teacher Education: Partnership or Paralysis

This article explores the vision of school placement presented in the Teaching Council’s revised Guidelines on School Placement (2021) and asks: Who are the real partners in placement, and how do they impact on its effectiveness as the first step in the continuum of professional development? The article considers the spaces inhabited by partners – higher-education institutions and host schools – and how perceptions of roles and responsibilities can affect the student teacher experience.

Elva Casey
College Registrar, Hibernia College

Report on the ‘Big Pictures of the Past’ Research Project

Investigating young teachers’ and students’ perceptions of history

This article aims to draw attention to a significant research project that sought to identify the kinds of overarching views of the past that young teachers and young students possess. A commitment to the principles of ‘student voice’ underlay the project, a collaboration between the NCCA and UCD School of Education. We outline the scope and nature of the research and conclude with some key findings.

John Dredge
Lecturer in History Methods, School of Education, University College Dublin
Ruth Ferris
Lecturer in History Methods, School of Education, University College Dublin
Gerard O'Sullivan
Acting Director, National Council for Curriculum and Assessment

Student Absenteeism: Time for a Rethink

This year is the 125th anniversary of the introduction of compulsory school attendance into Irish education. Despite three policy iterations in that period, statistics show high levels of student absenteeism currently in many schools. It is a complex problem that is difficult to tackle effectively, and it has serious implications also for these students’ peers. This article examines the phenomenon in the light of research and the response of the Irish education system to it over the years.

Brian Fleming
Independent Researcher

Exploring School Conditions to Support Teacher Professional Learning

School context is important to support teacher professional learning. This article outlines the experiences of 15 teachers from five schools engaged in the Instructional Leadership Programme. It looks at the school conditions that supported the teachers in implementing new or refined strategies on their return to school. Two school conditions that support teacher professional learning are the engagement and support of school leadership, and supportive collaboration among teachers.

Sharon Coffey
Principal, Coláiste Aindriú, Co. Carlow

Survival Skills for the Teacher in Uncertain Times

The ever-growing complexities of the modern world present all citizens, especially our youngsters, with a growing identity crisis in the context of what Zygmunt Bauman aptly describes as our ‘liquid society’. Having spent some thirty-five years in the classroom at second level, I offer in this article some survival skills for the teacher (and, by default, the taught) in the light of these complexities.

Dr Tim Quinlan
Part-time Lecturer, Retired Secondary School Teacher

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