Cllr. John Leahy has called on parents to familiarise themselves with what is contained within the Proposals to reform the Junior Cert Cycle; ‘Speaking as a parent I believe that what minister Quinn is proposing is very flawed. Everyone accepts the need for reform but reforming without proper consultation and planning is extremely dangerous. It is important that our education system evolves and changes but for the better not because a minister wishes to make a name for himself. Cllr. Leahy has been very scathing of Minister Quinn and how he has carried out his duties within the department of Education since he took office; ‘This minister loves the limelight and the idea that he is a reformer. The public ought not to be conned.He has ran with half baked notions in a range of areas without proper consultation or planning, all to appeal to the media and public as if he is some type of messiah. Nothing could be further from the truth. He has presided over a department which has stripped the education sector of many resources. Just look at the small schools throughout our county and they will tell you all you need to know about Minister Quinn. He has really put the squeeze on these school communities’
Cllr. Leahy believes the Junior Cert Cycle proposals is further evidence of how the Minister is damaging rather than reforming the education sector; ‘The mayhem we witnessed at the teaching conferences last week is further evidence of this. The concerns being raised by secondary school teachers are very legitimate. The minster is implementing a new cycle and they haven’t been informed as how it’s going to work aswell as receiving no proper in-service as how to implement it. Add to this the fact that there seems to be no plan to resource the strategy leading to a total mess not a reformed Junior Cert Cycle. The Junior Cert Cycle is a fundamental block of our education system; we have got to be very careful as to how we reform it’. The Councillor believes that parents should inform themselves by asking teachers as to how the new reformed cycle would operate; ‘I would certainly trust teachers over this minister. Almost all teachers are only interested in enhancing the education system. The idea that teachers are reacting in such a negative manner to what minister Quinn is proposing does worry me. From speaking to secondary school teachers I fully understand why they are worried about what is being proposed. There are so many issues around what minister Quinn is proposing, parents ought to ask the teachers as to why they are so apprehensive about what the Junior Cert Cycle would look like. Teachers are not afraid of change or hard work, it is the proper implementation of educational programmes which worries them’
Cllr. Leahy believes that parents will share his views on the subject of Junior Cycle Reform ; ‘I have no doubt that the vast majority of parents will reach the same conclusion as me, that this minister needs to consult much more with teachers on the ground before he steam rolls ahead with any proposals which could damage our educational system. Any plan to reform requires proper consultation with the experts on the ground aswell as resourcing any proposed programmes properly. The minister needs to realise that reform simply won’t happen because he announces half-baked poorly thought-out ideas. Let’s have reform but proper reform.’ The Councillor is also encouraging parents to air their views to our national politicians; ‘People can directly email the ministers department as well as lobbying TDs on their concerns. Each and every one of us wants to see proper reform of the Junior Cert Cycle. I for one however do not trust this minister. I have communicated this directly to him. I am asking others to do likewise’.