A review of the place of History in the Secondary School Junior Cycle has recommended no change to its optional status.

Under the new Junior Cycle Framework, History became an optional subject, which led to controversy over the perceived 'downgrading' of its importance.

Last November, Minister for Education Joe McHugh asked for a review to be conducted by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, an advisory body.

In April a leaked draft report indicated that the advisory body would not recommend a change to the optional status.

The review has now been completed and was sent to Minister McHugh in July, however, he has yet to decide if he will accept the NCCA's recommendations.

Last night a spokesperson from the Department confirmed that "the Minister has received the report and is giving full consideration before making a decision".

The NCCA report, obtained by RTÉ News, points out that the new Junior Cycle reforms are guided by twenty four statements of learning, of which four relate specifically to the study of history.

All schools must abide by the statements of learning, regardless as to whether they offer history as a core subject or not. The NCCA believe that these statements allow for the "re-invigoration of the subject" through the development of what are called "short" courses.

However, Deirdre MacMathúna, President of the History Teachers Association of Ireland points out that students who study history as a core subject will encounter a more "substantial course" with more teaching hours allocated.

Ms MacMathúna said: "Yes they are all getting history experiences, but it terms of a good foundation in history education, with a history teacher, I would have to question that."

Under the new Junior Cycle, Maths, English, Irish and Well-Being are core subjects. Each individual school can decide what other subjects it will teach, but pupils are limited to ten subjects for certification.

The decision to remove history as a mandatory subject sparked criticism from historians, teachers and President Michael D Higgins who, in April 2018, expressed his "deep and profound concern" about changes to the status of history.

He said that "knowledge and understanding of History is intrinsic to our shared citizenship, to be without such knowledge is to be permanently burdened with a lack of perspective, empathy and wisdom".

Professor of Modern History at UCD, Diarmaid Ferriter, warned that "the consequences are that there will be future generations who will not be equipped with the historical literacy, with the skill to be able to understand how we've got to where we are, to be able to understand who we are".

Speaking last April, Minister McHugh said that he believed "the autonomy and responsibility around the recommendations lies with the NCCA".

However, he also said that he could not "overvalue or overemphasise the importance of having history in a very special place in that framework".

At present, 97% of schools are offering History at Junior Cycle, despite it no longer being a core subject.

An evaluation of the Junior Cycle Framework as a whole, including History, is due to begin in early 2020 and will be conducted by the Department and NCCA.