The Redeveloped Primary Curriculum Explained

At present, the primary school curriculum is being redeveloped by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA). An information leaflet for schools was published in 2019. A draft version of the proposed new curriculum was published in 2020 for consultation purposes. The consultation phase ended in early 2022 after being delayed due to the pandemic.


As part of this redevelopment, the Primary Language Curriculum was published in 2015, and revised in 2019. The next phase will be the roll out of the new maths curriculum which has already been delayed a number of times. No date for the implementation of the new maths curriculum has been specified (for a more detailed overview of the Primary Mathematics Curriculum, see our blog post here). It is envisaged that the rest of the new curriculum will be published in the mid-2020s, implemented shortly after, and that it will be in place for 10-15 years before being reviewed again.

The new curriculum will look radically different to the 1999 curriculum. It will seek to develop 7 “Key Competencies” in children. These key competencies will be embedded across all curricular areas from Junior Infants – 6th Class.

There will be 5 curriculum areas, as pictured, as well as the patron’s programme. From 3rd class onwards, the curriculum areas become more defined into subjects.

There will also be major changes to the time allocations which will be presented in 2 categories. There will be a minimum weekly time allocation for Language, mathematics, and wellbeing. There will be a monthly minimum curriculum time for Science and Technology Education, Social and Environmental Education, and Arts Education.

There will also be “Flexible Time” which will give monthly time allocations which the school can decide to allocate based on its own priorities.  The Draft Framework gives 3 different options for how this time will be allocated and it has not been specified yet which one will be implemented, however all 3 options will place a very heavy weighting on “wellbeing” which will receive 3 hours per week from 1st-6th, or 2h 30m per week for Infants.

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