Ireland launches a Primary Curriculum Framework

This spring the Ministry of education of Ireland launched its very first framework for primary education. The Framework sets out the vision, principles and components of a redeveloped Primary School Curriculum to benefit children, teachers, parents and the wider community.

This Framework is for all primary and special schools and will guide teachers and school leaders in their work to enhance learning, teaching and assessment for all children through the new curriculum.

It emphasises the importance of curriculum integration, inclusive practice, inquiry-based learning and playful pedagogy. The framework will guide the development of the specifications for each of the curriculum areas that will be introduced in the coming years.

According to the Minister of education of Ireland, Norma Foley, who launched the Framework on 9 March 2023:

"The framework has been developed by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment through a collaborative approach, informed by research, sustained work with school communities, wide consultation, and extensive deliberation.

"The voices from the consultation, in particular, indicate the need for a curriculum that supports all children, celebrates children's current childhood experiences and prepares them for their future experiences. »

"The development of the primary curriculum also reflects the other interconnected developments in education and the progress of policies and strategies being worked on by my department at this time. These include a new Literacy, Numeracy and Digital Literacy Strategy which is being developed at the moment and the second STEM Education Implementation Plan ».

The framework supports the development of a primary curriculum which:

  • 1. builds on the successes and strengths of previous curricula while recognising and responding to challenges, changing needs and priorities
  • 2. provides agency and flexibility in schools
  • 3. makes connections with what and how children learn in preschool, primary, special, and post-primary schools
  • 4. identifies and responds to emerging priorities for children's learning
  • 5. changes how the curriculum is structured and presented
  • 6. supports a variety of pedagogical approaches and strategies with assessment central to learning and teaching

It is recognised that the introduction of the Primary Curriculum Framework will require time and support for teachers and school leaders to become familiar with the contents of the framework. The need to engage at whole-school level is required in order to develop all teachers' and school leaders' understanding of the framework. This will be supported by the provision of professional development opportunities, and supporting materials.

The Department of Education support services will continue to provide their suite of professional development opportunities at primary level, now drawing connection with the framework content. Discrete professional development will also be provided for each of the forthcoming curriculum area specifications in the coming years.


Read the Primary Curriculum Framework.