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Now is the time to reform the CAO and Senior Cycle – Bruton

11th February 2021 - Richard Bruton TD

Fine Gael TD Richard Bruton has backed the call from the Chair of the CAO for a strategic review of the pathways to Higher Education and to other career pathways.


Chairperson of the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party, Deputy Bruton, said: “We have allowed our Senior Cycle to be hijacked to serve as a fierce points race for the most alluring places in Higher Education.


“The OECD recently concluded that the Leaving Cert has become too narrow and rigid to match Ireland’s aspirations or to prepare students for the world they must master.


“The intensity of the points race has forced teaching to the test. This can trap teaching and learning in the straight jacket of a narrow memory-based test.


“It encourages grinds which many cannot afford and can undermine the development of pathways that recognise the wider dimensions of the talents of young people.


“It has stifled the equal esteem for apprenticeship models which have been so successful in other countries.


“The current system offers no pathway for those students who would prefer a vocational route. Indeed, there is no ‘CAO type model’ for those 25,000 students who do not go on to higher education.


“I am aware my Fine Gael colleague, Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris, has plans to reform the pathway to third level, including a new single portal outlining all the options available to school leavers.”


Deputy Bruton continued: “A strategic review must challenge Higher Education institutions who have scrambled for the prestige of ever higher pointed courses, which only serve to add to the distortion of Senior Cycle.


“The review of Senior Cycle is now underway for five years. It is urgent that we now deliver the reform agenda.”



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