The Association of Secondary Teachers, Ireland and the Teachers' Union of Ireland have both voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action in opposition to the proposed introduction of a new Junior Cycle.

The ASTI has instructed its members to withdraw cooperation from the implementation of a new Junior Cycle programme that is due to be introduced in schools in September.

The directive comes into effect from Monday 7 April.

Teachers have been told not to participate in training or to attend any meetings connected with the new programme.

This includes any planning meetings held at school level.

The ASTI said teachers would teach any new curriculum given to them, but they would not be taking part in any school-based assessment connected with the proposed new award.

Members of the TUI voted 88% in favour of industrial action over the proposals.

Turnout was 62%.

The union will this evening direct members not to cooperate with training or any planning meetings connected with the new

This will come into play from 7 April.

Unlike the ASTI, the TUI ballot related to a proposal that included potential for strike action. 

The new system is due to be phased in from September, starting with English.

A new school based certificate is proposed, called the Junior Cycle Student Award, which would replace the current Junior Certificate qualification.

Teachers have a number of concerns about the new programme.

The central one, according to the teachers' unions, is the fact that teachers will be directly assessing their own students’ work.

Currently students are assessed by teachers working under the State Examination's Commission.

Teachers' unions say this will fundamentally alter the relationship between students and their teachers.

Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn said he noted the outcome of the ballots.

In a statement, he said a working group on the new programme, which was set up in January and made up of all the education partners, continues to meet regularly.

He said this is the appropriate forum to address any concerns and discuss proposals relating to the reformed Junior Cycle.