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Major changes ahead for Leaving Cert students

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By Michelle Crean 

Major changes to the Leaving Cert have been announced today (Tuesday) which will include spreading exams over a two year period. 

Secondary school students who will be heading into Senior Cycle in September 2023 will now sit English and Irish Paper One at the end of Fifth Year in a move which is set to reduce final year stress. Two new subjects will also be available for students from September 2024; Drama, Film and Theatre Studies, and Climate Action and Sustainable Development.

Announced today by Education Minister Norma Foley, she said that new approach will enable students to follow a broad curriculum, develop their interests and skills and participate in a final assessment process consistent with international best practice, which will support them in their next phase of life whether that’s third level, further education and training, apprenticeships or the world of work.

While she said that the "current system has many strengths" it "can be improved". 

"Today I am setting out a new plan for Senior Cycle education in Ireland,” Minister Foley said.

"This is an ambitious programme of reform. It will enrich students’ educational experience by increasing their choices to match their interests and enhancing teaching and learning. It will reduce the pressure on students that comes from final assessments based primarily on examinations. We will move to a model that uses other forms of assessment, over a less concentrated time period, in line with international best practice." 

Key changes to Senior Cycle

* Managing the assessment burden
* New and revised subjects will be developed
* From September 2023, students will take Leaving Certificate Irish and English Paper One at the end of Fifth Year
* The marks for Paper One will be 'banked' and added to the marks awarded for Paper Two which students will take in June of Sixth Year
* The experience of running Orals and Practical Music Examinations at Easter in the last two years is being reviewed. It is hoped to run the examinations in this way in future
 

New subjects and new ways of assessing students

New subjects will be developed and new subject curricula, which outline what material is taught and assessed in a subject, will be devised. The process of doing this will involve teachers, students and school communities as well as other education experts. The NCCA will publish a curriculum review by September 2023. This will set out a plan for new and revised subject curricula to be delivered in annual blocks.

Three Senior Cycle science subject curricula; Biology, Chemistry and Physics as well as Business will be ready for introduction to the network schools and revised specifications in Latin, Ancient Greek and Arabic will be introduced for all schools in September 2024.

A Senior Cycle Reform Programme Delivery Board will be established to oversee and drive the changes.

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Muckross Rowing Club members on Irish teams for two major regattas

  Six members of Muckross Rowing Club will compete for Ireland in two upcoming international events. Rowing Ireland this week announced the Irish squads for the Coupe de la Jeunesse […]

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Six members of Muckross Rowing Club will compete for Ireland in two upcoming international events.

Rowing Ireland this week announced the Irish squads for the Coupe de la Jeunesse Regatta.

Daniel Fleming and Ian Coffey have both been selected for the Under 19 Irish squad to race at the Coupe de la Jeunesse Regatta for European junior rowers. The Coupe de la Jeunesse Regatta, involving 16 European countries, will be held over from over three days, August 9-11 in Racice, Czechia.

Four Under 23 university rowers from the Muckross club have also been selected as part of the Senior Irish squad for the Home International Regatta this month.

Niamh Coffey (University of Limerick), Patrick Buckley (University of Limerick), Finn O’Sullivan (University of Limerick) and Ethan O’Neill (University College Cork Rowing Club) will take on the ‘Triple Crown’ event of rowing, competing for Ireland against crews from England, Scotland and Wales.

The Home International Regatta will be held on Saturday, July 27 in Strathclyde, Scotland.

All six Muckross rowers have earned their green jerseys following a lengthy and testing trial series on land and water which began in Autumn 2023 and culminated in final water trials at the end of June.

“Muckross Rowing Club sends its best wishes to the very talented Muckross oarsmen and women and all their crewmates as they fly the flag for Ireland this summer. The talented group build on a successful record in the sport,” said club PRO Tim O’Shea.

Niamh Coffey is a multiple Irish and University Championship winner and has previously represented Ireland in the Under 23 European Championships.

In 2022, O’Neill rowed at Junior level at the Home International event and won a gold medal as part of the Irish quadruple scull crew in the 500m sprint event.

Both Buckley and O’Sullivan continue to compete at the highest level nationally with the University of Limerick Rowing Club,  and join the Irish squad for the first time this year.

The international selections come at an exciting time before the Olympic Regatta in Paris, where Zoe Hyde (Tralee Rowing Club) will be among the largest Irish rowing contingent of 16 rowers to contest an Olympic Games.

Killorglin native Zoe has previously rowed for both Killorglin and Muckross rowing clubs and will race the Women’s Double event for Ireland with Alison Bergin (Fermoy Rowing Club) in Paris.

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Valuable role of Kerry cancer support charity recognised nationally

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Cancer support charity Recovery Haven Kerry has been recognised for its vital role in supporting cancer patients and their families at a national ceremony in Dublin.

The renowned cancer support house was one of 16 such centres across Ireland that were presented with plaques to acknowledge their full membership of the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) Alliance – a group made up of voluntary and charity organisations delivering support services directly to cancer patients and their families. An additional 10 associate member charities were also honoured, including Kerry Cancer Support Group.

The Alliance advocates for, and supports, the development of integrated pathways between the cancer centres, acute hospitals, community cancer support services and primary care services. All members’ development is in line with the values of Sláintecare, seeking to provide assurance to healthcare professionals that these organisations are working to an agreed standard as set out in Best Practice Guidance published by the NCCP. 

Speaking after the ceremony, which was held at Dublin’s Farmleigh Estate, Recovery Haven Kerry Chairman, Tim McSwiney, explained that being compliant with the Best Practice Guidance for Community Cancer Support Centres is a true mark of quality. 

“It offers us a yardstick to measure what we are doing against the standards required. As a result, healthcare professionals have more confidence in referring people to our services. We are very proud to be a member of the Alliance,” he said.

Recovery Haven Kerry was represented at the event by centre manager, Gemma Fort and Client Services Co-Ordinator, Siobhan MacSweeney and were presented with their plaque by NCCP Lead for Cancer Survivorship, Louise Mullen, Clinical Lead for Psycho-Oncology Dr Helen Greally, and Minister of State at the Department of Health, Colm Burke. 

The event was also used as an opportunity to announce funding of €3m for the NCCP’s Alliance of Community Cancer Support Centres and Services through Budget 2024. The NCCP is currently in the process of distributing these funds which will directly and positively impact the delivery of services for patients and families nationally.

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