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Primary Curriculum and the NCCA

The primary curriculum provides for an extensive learning experience
and encourages a rich variety of approaches to teaching and learning
that cater for the different needs of individual children.


The Primary Curriculum (1999) was the first complete revision of the
curriculum since 1971.  It is designed to nurture the child in all
dimensions of his or her life - spiritual, moral, cognitive, emotional,
imaginative, aesthetic, social and physical. The curriculum reflects
the educational, cultural, social and economic aspirations and
concerns of Irish society. It also takes account of the changing
nature of society and aims to help children adjust accordingly.

The curriculum is divided into the following key areas:

  • Language -  English and Gaeilge

  • Mathematics

  • Social, environment and scientific education (SESE) – History, Geography and Science

  • Arts education, including Visual arts, Music and Drama

  • Physical education (PE)

  • Social, personal and health education (SPHE)

A newly revised Language Curriculum for English and Béarla was introduced in 2016.  It will be introduced on a phased basis, beginning with junior classes.

In our school, the Religious Education programme is Follow me!, the curriculum of the Church of Ireland.

For further information, click HERE, to follow a link to the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA).

The Department of Education and Skills

About the Department of Education and Skills

The Department of Education and Skills (DES) is charged with responsibility for education and training in Ireland. Its mission is noted as being to enable learners to achieve their full potential and contribute to Ireland's economic, social and cultural development. The DES is engaged in a wide range of activities covering the key elements of policy planning, quality assurance, resourcing, regulation and evaluation, as well as providing a broad range of support services for the education sector.

Primary education

There are over 450,000 children in primary education in Ireland.  Attendance at full-time education is compulsory for all children between six and sixteen years of age.  Although children in Ireland are not obliged to attend school until the age of six, many children begin primary school in the September following their fourth birthday.

DES Inspectorate

Inspectors from the Department of Education and Skills assigned to each school provide advice and support on an on-going basis.  Inspectors are appointed to visit schools and to report on the work in progress.  Each school has an assigned District Inspector and a Divisional Inspector.  DES Inspectors carry out Whole School Evaluation (WSE) in schools, reports of which are published on the DES website.

DES and staffing

The Department of Education determines the number of teachers to be appointed to individual schools and staffing arrangements for National Schools are issued annually.  While each Board of Management appoints teachers (subject to DES sanctioning of qualifications and the approval of the Patron), salaries are paid directly by the DES.


DES funding

The Department provides ongoing funding to schools through grant aid under headings such as capitation, minor works (building and maintenance); ancillary services; standardised testing; school books; remedial/ resource equipment etc.  These may vary from year to year, depending on budgeting decisions by the Department.


A school’s Board of Management has considerable contact with the DES in relation to capital funding, especially when building work is undertaken. 


For further information, please visit the DES website:

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