Dáil Éireann - Volume 663 - 14 October, 2008
Written Answers. - School Curriculum.
Deputy Michael McGrath Deputy Michael McGrath
Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Science the circumstances under which he would permit a child to repeat a class in primary school for the second time. [34604/08]
Deputy Batt O’Keeffe Deputy Batt O’Keeffe
Deputy Batt O’Keeffe: My Department’s policy in relation to the retention of pupils in primary schools is set out in Primary Circular 32/03 which issued to all primary schools in December, 2003. The Circular is also available on my Department’s website.
The Primary School curriculum is designed as an eight year course, including a two year infant cycle followed by six years in standards from first to sixth, with children progressing to the next grade at the end of each school year. The primary curriculum is flexible and child-centred, and can be adapted to meet children’s needs. In addition my Department is providing considerable support for pupils with learning difficulties in schools. Learning support teachers, resource teachers, special needs assistants and a wide range of resources under the various schemes for schools in areas designated as disadvantaged are among the forms of provision allocated to schools for these pupils. The level of provision available should enable pupils to make progress in keeping with their needs and abilities and to move consecutively through the different class levels in the school along with their peers.
Under my Department’s policy, children should only be allowed to repeat a year for educational reasons and in exceptional circumstances. In such exceptional circumstances a Principal teacher, following consultation with the learning support teacher/resource teacher and class teacher and parent(s) may conclude that a pupil would benefit educationally by repeating a grade level. A record outlining the educational basis for the decision to retain a child should be kept for any pupil so retained. In addition, there should be a clear programme outlined for such a pupil that records precisely what new approach will be used for her/him and what its expected benefit will be. No pupil should repeat a grade more than once in a primary school.
Under my Department’s policy, in no circumstances should an additional grade level (middle infants or a repeat sixth class) operate through the retention of all or a substantial number of pupils for a second year at a grade level.
In addition, pupils who have completed sixth class must not transfer to another primary school to repeat sixth class. In the event that a school were to enrol pupils from another school to repeat sixth class the pupils shall not be included as eligible pupils for staffing and other purposes. Capitation and other grants in respect of such pupils shall not be paid.
Dáil Éireann 663 Written Answers. School Curriculum.