OECD Report: Education in Ireland

Read the OECD assessment of the senior cycle review process.

Beatriz Pont OECD Play Beatriz Pont OECD

OECD Report: Education in Ireland

The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) welcomes the publication of the OECD report Education in Ireland: an OECD Assessment of Senior Cycle Review.

The OECD report will be available December 1, 2020.

The Senior Cycle Review process (2017-2020) led by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) comprised of three phases and offered many opportunities for education stakeholders to reflect on enduring and evolving elements of senior cycle education in Ireland.

The initial phase involved international research into upper secondary education in other jurisdictions. The second phase involved engagement with schools across the country, where students, parents, teachers, school leaders and other stakeholders shared their views on the senior cycle experience and the future of this stage of education. Phase three took the themes that emerged from phase two to a wider public audience. This public consultation phase included regional focus groups, online surveys and bilateral discussions with groups and organisations. NCCA is now preparing the Senior Cycle Advisory Report for the Minister for Education. This work is due to be concluded early in 2021.

During the review, NCCA invited the OECD to conduct an assessment of the Senior Cycle Review process. This happened during the second phase of the review (2018-19) when the OECD team visited Ireland and met with various stakeholders, including teachers, principals, and students, to hear their views on the process of review. The findings of the OECD assessment were presented at the Senior Cycle Consultation Conference in October 2019 and the OECD report, Education in Ireland: an OECD Assessment of Senior Cycle Review, was presented to NCCA Council in November 2019.

The policy assessment presented in this OECD report took stock of the NCCA senior cycle review process, provided feedback on progress made and offered recommendations that informed the design of the third phase of the review, a wide public consultation that took place in 2019.

The OECD team recognised the ambitious consultation process undertaken by NCCA.
“The NCCA succeeded in designing and carrying out an inclusive review process, collecting a range of perspectives that can enrich senior cycle. While school-level stakeholders held a central position in the review, the wider education community was also included. The review was led in coherence with the structures already in place for education policy advice, representation and consultation, in respect of Ireland’s tradition of partnership policy making”.
The OECD review was an important contribution in helping NCCA to ensure a transparent, collaborative and solutions focused process. The report was completed before the COVID-19 pandemic and has not been updated to take into consideration the current situation*.

Reports on all consultative engagements, the ESRI analysis of the school-based review and all other updates can be found at ncca.ie/seniorcycle.


* Publication of OECD report Education in Ireland: an OECD Assessment of Senior Cycle Review was delayed due to Covid-19

Cover of OECD Education in Ireland Report