Jan 30th - Is the Primary School Curriculum fit for purpose?

Is the Primary school curriculum fit for purpose

 Chief Executive Officer of the Irish Primary Principals’ Network (IPPN), Mr Sean Cottrell believes that continuously presenting the curriculum in a traditional format is hindering its’ effectiveness. A recent survey of close to 1000 members of the IPPN revealed that many principals feel some areas of the curriculum are in urgent need of reform.

“It’s not so much the content of the curriculum that I am concerned about but rather the insistence on presenting the curriculum on a traditional subject by subject basis”, said Mr Cottrell.

Twelve hundred primary school leaders congregated this week for the annual IPPN conference in Dublin. Representing over 6,000 primary school principals and deputy principals. The organisation is currently focusing on system reform.


The CEO feels that there is potential in examining the possibilities of presenting the curriculum based on connected themes and topics where subjects such as Maths and Science could be integrated as well as areas such as Drama/Music and History/English.

The majority of principals feel that there should be an increased focus on Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE). SPHE addresses a broad range of topics such as understanding and describing feelings as well as staying safe. This receives only a 30 minute time allocation per week. It’s far too important for a child’s development to be allocated such a meagre time.

Mr Cottrell believes, “The children of today are growing up in a world where there is constant media competing for their hearts and minds…and pockets. Children must be provided with the tools to deal with these evolving challenges”.


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