Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Education and Skills

Leaving Certificate Reform: Discussion with School Management Bodies

Photo of Paul KehoePaul Kehoe (Wexford, Fine Gael)
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I remind members to ensure their mobile phones are switched off for the duration of the meeting as they interfere with the broadcasting equipment even while on silent mode. The minutes of the meeting on 21 September 2021 have been circulated to members. Are the minutes agreed to? Agreed.

We are meeting with the school management bodies. On behalf of the committee, I welcome Mr. John Curtis, general secretary of the Joint Managerial Board, JMB, Mr. John Irwin, general secretary of the Association of Community and Comprehensive Schools, Mr. Paddy Flood, head of schools, Cavan and Monaghan Education and Training Board, and of Education and Training Boards Ireland, ETBI, and Mr. Paul Crone, director of the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals. The witnesses are here today for a round-table discussion on the leaving certificate reform with reference to assessment options, key subject areas and digital learning, access, equality and well-being supports, and the Irish language and Irish-medium education.

The format of the meeting is that I will invite Mr. Curtis to make an opening statement, then Mr. Irwin, followed by Mr. Flood and, finally, Mr. Crone. The statements will be followed by questions from members of the committee. Each member has a six-minute slot to ask questions and for the witnesses to respond. As the witnesses are probably aware, the committee will publish the opening statements on its website following the meeting.

Before we begin, I remind members of the long-standing parliamentary practice to the effect that they should not comment on, criticise or make charges against a person outside the Houses of the Oireachtas or an official either by name or in such a way as to make him or her identifiable. As the witnesses are giving evidence remotely from a place outside of the parliamentary precincts, they may not benefit from the same level of immunity from legal proceedings as a witness physically present does. They have already been advised of that. They are reminded of the long-standing parliamentary practice that they should not criticise or make charges against any person or entity by name or in such a way as to make him, her or it identifiable or otherwise engage in speech that might be regarded as damaging to the good name of the person or entity. Therefore, if their statements are potentially defamatory in relation to an identifiable person or entity, they will be directed by me, as Chair, to discontinue their remarks. It is imperative that they comply with the direction of the Chair.

I call on Mr. Curtis to make an opening statement followed by the other witnesses as I outlined. Mr. Curtis has four minutes.