Dáil Éireann - Volume 523 - 11 October, 2000
Written Answers. - Primary Curriculum.
Mr. Hayes Mr. Hayes
279. Mr. Hayes asked the Minister for Education and Science the action he will take on foot of the recently published report from the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Education and Science on the issue of music in education; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19290/00]
Dr. Woods Dr. Woods
Minister for Education and Science (Dr. Woods): I have read the Music in Education Report of the Joint Committee on Education and Science with great interest. I welcome, in particular, the unambiguous support expressed in the report for the revised primary school music programme designed by the National Council for  Curriculum and Assessment and introduced to schools in the last school-year.
The phased implementation of the revised curriculum in schools is being linked to the delivery of the primary curriculum support programme, PCSP, for schools in co-operation with the education centre network. Phasing, however, will not preclude schools from introducing any area of the curriculum, such as music, prior to the provision of in-career development in that area. The training strategy in the case of music, when activated, will be informed by experience gained in supporting the implementation of other areas of the revised curriculum.
The availability and use of specialist music teaching skills in primary schools is dealt with comprehensively in the teacher guidelines which accompany the revised music programme. The PCSP training phase will make use of highly skilled practitioners who will assist schools in the successful implementation of the programme. In the longer term, this expertise will be added to that already available to schools through education centres.
I have noted in particular the joint committee's views on matters relating to the design and assessment of second-level music syllabi and its concern over examination outcomes. I will undertake to pass those views to the NCCA for consideration in its ongoing programme of syllabus review.
My Department's inspectorate will continue to advise and support schools and individual teachers on matters pertaining to curriculum implementation. The process of whole school evaluation, which focuses, inter alia, on the quality of teaching and learning, will include all aspects of the integrated curriculum in primary schools, while music may be included as a subject for specific evaluation in planning an evaluation of a second-level school. School development planning, which is now the focus of substantial support from my Department, affords schools opportunities to plan structured curricular implementation under the guidance of the school leadership.
In the matter of support mechanisms for school-based music education, curriculum documentation encourages schools to make use of music resources within the school community, such as those identified by the joint committee in order to enrich pupils' musical experience. In relation to services provided by local authority arts officers, I will be pleased to explore the potential of such services for schools with the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands.
I am pleased to say that financial support from my Department for curriculum implementation has expanded significantly in recent times, in  areas such as literacy and science education. I will continue to review the resource needs of areas such as music education in the context of broadening support mechanisms for schools.
Dáil Éireann 523 Written Answers. Primary Curriculum.