1. Provide parents and schools with clarity on the provision of SNAs in advance of new school year, the marginalisation of special needs students is not something you want to be defending at the next election. Read this
2. Restore the full provisions of the EPSEN Act. The act has never been properly implemented and has been eroded repeatedly since the ‘crisis’ began, leaving those most in need least well off. And restore Guidance cuts while you’re at it.
3. End Managerialism in Irish education, a Minister FOR Education should be a minister AGAINST bureaucracy, business models or neo-liberalism.
4. Review the implementation of the Junior Cycle with teachers, managers, parents and students on board. The clock is ticking and you’ve been handed a time bomb.
5. Save History. Make yourself some good press.
6. Tackle teacher supply. Entry into the teaching profession is tortuous, look at matching graduates with imminent vacancies and obvious shortages. And give teachers a single pay scale.
7. Restore pupil teacher ratios at all levels to 2007 levels. That way you could claim credit for improving students lives at all levels and create employment.
8. Engage with teachers don’t send officials, deal with the education sector’s interests face to face, not at arms length. Being Minister is about more than announcing initiatives, it’s about bringing out the best in teachers, the talents of students and the support of parents and you can’t count on any of that if you don’t talk to them.
9. Place education at the heart of the recovery: without investment in education, there will be no long term recovery. Education doesn’t have a price, it has value. Fund a new ICT investment in schools and colleges for example, to drive the recovery (when it comes).
10. End the exploitation of workers on school buildings, practice what your government preaches about fairness, equity and employment.
And by the way…
Remember education is for living, not to make a living.