The amount of time spent teaching religion may be left up to the discretion of individual primary schools under a proposal being considered by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment.
The body is holding a consultative conference in Dublin Castle to explore how time should be allocated to various subjects throughout the school week. This is in response to complaints from teachers that the school syllabus is increasingly over-loaded with time-intensive obligations.
Schools are required to teach 30 minutes of the religion of the school’s patron. For the vast majority of schools, where the patron is the Catholic Church, that means catechetical instruction in the Catholic faith.
The proposal under consideration though would leave it up to the discretion of each school to decide for themselves how they should organise up to 40% of school time, including time spent on religious education. This would allow schools to drastically reduce the amount of time they currently spend teaching religion.