Secondary schools may close as early as next month as a result of industrial action taken by teachers in protest at planned Junior Cycle reforms.

This evening both the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland and the Teachers' Union of Ireland said they would be bringing the matter to their executive councils on Friday.

They said it was likely those councils would agree to go ahead with industrial action, up to strike, already sanctioned by their members.

Union representatives said if this was the case, industrial action would follow quickly. 

Minister for Education Jan O'Sullivan has said she is disappointed that the talks on Junior Cycle reform have broken down. 

Ms O'Sullivan said she felt her department have offered teachers a fair and sensible compromise, to meet their concerns.

The reform plans originally envisaged teachers assessing their own students.

They also meant the replacement of a national certificate such as the current Junior Cert exam, with a school certificate instead.

Teachers disagreed with both these proposals. 

In the latest talks the Department of Education had dropped the schools certificate requirement.

They had also reduced the level of teacher assessment of students from 100% to 40%. 

However, this compromise was not acceptable to the two unions involved.

Since Friday, the ASTI and TUI have been meeting officials from the Department of Education in an attempt to resolve differences.

However the talks ended without resolution at about 4pm today.

The TUI and the ASTI have called on the Minister for Education to intervene.

The unions say there are still serious concerns about aspects of the Government's proposals.