The Minister for Education has invited the country's two second-level teacher unions to enter talks regarding his plans for reform of Junior Cycle education.

In a statement issued this evening Ruairi Quinn said he was disappointed that greater progress had not been made at a Working Group set up earlier this year address teacher concerns.

The Minister has said he himself will chair the talks. He said they would not begin until after the State exams, which start next week, have concluded.

The new Junior Cycle programme is being phased in from September.

Teacher concern centres on opposition to assessing their own students, and the fact that the current state awarded certificate will be replaced by a schools' certificate.