What will everyday school life look like? – The Irish time

It has been almost 25 years since the last elementary school curriculum was completed. The forthcoming release of a new primary school curriculum framework – the result of several years of deliberation – aims to catch up with many of these changes and better prepare children for the challenges of the 21st century.

So what are those priorities? And how could they transform the modern classroom?

Foreign languages:

One of the most noticeable changes is a new focus on foreign languages. From the third grade, students are given one hour per week to study a language other than English or Irish. The framework states that it aims to move from a “language awareness model to a competency model” in the final years of primary school.


Education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics is seen as increasingly important in supporting children’s ability to fully engage with the world around them. The time spent in this area will increase as the children get older, from three hours a week for toddlers/elderly children to four hours a week from the third grade.


As any principal or teacher will tell you, there are increasing concerns in schools about emotional illness, anxiety and mental health issues.

In recognition of this, a significant part of the new curriculum – two and a half hours for younger/older toddlers up to three hours a week from the first grade – will be set aside for wellbeing.

There will be a focus on art and “social and environmental education”. The latter describes it as ensuring that children come to an “understanding and understanding of their inherent rights and responsibilities as stewards of this planet”. Cultural education, on the other hand, is defined as “arts, theater and music”.

faith and ethics

One area of ​​tension in recent years has been the emphasis on “creational education” in denominational schools. The compromise of the new curriculum is that religious instruction will be reduced by half an hour per week from 2.5 to 2 hours.

In addition, religion would be supported through a new curriculum on “Religious, Ethical and Multi-Religious Education” to give students a broader perspective on worldviews.

The changes likely won’t go far enough to keep secularists happy, but policymakers say the move is driven by recognition that school sponsors have a legal right to offer “patron programs” consistent with their schools’ ethos .

Flexible times

Schools and teachers are given more flexibility to focus on priority areas that meet student needs. This can be anything from the core curriculum to whole-school activities or the patronage program. This flexible time ranges from five hours for junior/senior infants to six hours in first/second graders and seven hours from third graders onwards.

Primary school framework curriculum – weekly schedule:

English: 3 hours 45 minutes

Irish: 3 hours

foreign language: 1 hour

maths (including science, technology and engineering): 4 hours

wellbeing (including social and environmental education; arts education): 2 hours

Flexible times: 1¾ hours

Religious ethics and multi-beliefs and values: 1 hour 40 minutes

Patronage Program / Faith Education: 2 hours

roll call/gathering: 1 hour 15 minutes

Breaks: 50 minutes

recreation: 2 hours 30 minutes

Source: NCCA Primary Curriculum Framework

Note: The above times are for third through sixth grades in an English language primary school. Different time allocations are provided for younger and older toddlers; and first & second class; and Irish-medium schools

https://www.irishtimes.com/ireland/education/2023/03/06/new-primary-curriculum-what-will-the-school-day-look-like/ What will everyday school life look like? – The Irish time

Dais Johnston

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