Secondary school teachers are to hold lunchtime protests at school gates throughout Ireland to highlight concern at the introduction of a new programme for Junior Cycle education.

The protests are scheduled to take place on Tuesday 11 March and will involve members of both post primary teachers' unions.

The Association of Secondary Teachers' Ireland said the demonstrations were not industrial action because no school activities would be disrupted.

ASTI and the Teachers' Union of Ireland are due to ballot their members for industrial action in March.

The outcome of the ballots will be known by 26 March.

Teachers say schools need more resources in order to implement the reforms.

They are also concerned about new assessment methods that form part of the proposed changes.

Talks between the unions and the Department of Education are ongoing. The latest meeting took place today.

Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn said he is disappointed by the decision to hold protests and called the action premature.

He called on both unions to move beyond protest towards active engagement in resolving outstanding issues.

The Department of Education says the new Junior Cycle programme will be phased in from this September.