What is the Primary Curriculum Framework?

PCF = Primary Curriculum Framework 

In March 2023 a new framework for the curriculum at primary level was launched. The framework is a document which sets out the purpose structure and content for the redeveloped primary curriculum for primary and special schools. The redeveloped curriculum will be guided by the vision and principals set out in this document.

The document sets out 7 interlinked “Key Competencies” which the redeveloped primary curriculum will focus on, and the attributes of each of these competencies.

The document also outlines the following in relation to the redeveloped curriculum:

-The curriculum/ subject areas that will be included and the time allocations for each

-Emphasis on playful learning, integration, teacher agency, assessment, high quality teaching and learning, inclusive education and diversity

Curriculum / Subject Areas in the Primary Curriculum Framework

The PCF sets out the curriculum areas and subjects that will be included in the new curriculum.

Modern foreign languages will be introduced from 3rd-6th, and technology and engineering are being introduced as part of the STEM curriculum area.

The curriculum books with the learning outcomes for each subject aren’t ready yet, but the document gives an overview of how these books will be structured and what each curriculum area will include.

The curriculum specifications will be available in draft format for public consultation in 2024

The NCCA envisages having each curriculum specification finalised in 2025.

After that, the Department of Education will set out a timeline for the rollout of the new primary curriculum in schools

During the 2022/2023 school year, a half-day school closure is permitted in order to give schools a chance to become familiar with the structure and content of the framework.

Time Allocations in the Primary Curriculum Framework

The document gives new suggested time allocations which teachers can use flexibly. There are weekly minimum time allocations for Language, Mathematics, and Wellbeing.

There are monthly minimum time allocations for Science, Technology, and Engineering Education, Social and Environmental Education, and Arts Education.

There are also monthly allocations of Flexible Time that teachers can use flexibly and creatively as per the needs, interests and abilities of the students.

My Initial Thoughts/ Reaction

-Significant, high quality teacher professional development will be essential, especially for the new areas (engineering, technology, modern foreign languages)

-I am curious as to who will teach the modern foreign languages. Will it be specialist teachers or will current teachers need to learn one?!

-The increased flexibility in terms of timetabling and emphasis on playful learning is welcome

-The emphasis on teacher agency leaves me worried that the curriculum specifications will not have enough detail/ clarity in terms of learning outcomes so teachers know exactly what they are supposed to teach at each level

Will you be creating sample recorded preparation (planning) for the new curriculum?

Yes, once the curriculum specifications are available, I will create sample recorded preparation and planning templates for all class levels which will be available on teachingplans.ie

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