Carol Cronin and Sandra Tiernan – who both teach Leaving Certificate Agricultural Science – take pride in promoting the subject as an area for further education and careers, through their teaching and writing.
Carol – who teaches in Abbey Community College, Boyle – and Sandra – who is a teacher at Sligo Grammar School -completed a BSc Science Education at University of Limerick.
They published their first textbook for agricultural science, ‘Breaking Ground’ in 2011. “At the time, numbers in Leaving Certificate Agricultural Science were increasing rapidly and there was a need for up-to-date resources for the subject,” they told That’s Farming.
Carol and Sandra started from the ground up by talking to farmers, agricultural consultants and researchers, Teagasc advisors among others to find out what the biggest changes and most important advances were in Irish agriculture.
The syllabus at the time was over 40 years old, with “very little detail and did not consider modern agricultural practices”.
The book was a success and a revised edition was published in 2015. The pair has also authored and published Revise Wise Agricultural Science as a revision aid for Leaving Certificate.
In 2017, a draft specification was published by the NCCA to replace the 1969 syllabus. “The new specification had input from a whole array of stakeholders in Irish agriculture.”
“This new specification is to be implemented in schools in September 2019 for fifth years and will be examined at Leaving Certificate for the first time in 2021.”
For the past year, Carol and Sandra have been researching and writing the third edition of Breaking Ground for the new specification. The new specification follows on from the new Junior Cycle Science programme.
Key themes of the new specification include scientific practice, farm safety, sustainability, organic farming, energy crops, markets for agricultural products, agricultural policies and traceability as well as traditional topics such as grassland management, crops, dairy, beef and sheep farming.
The new book is a comprehensive look at modern Irish agriculture. Carol and Sandra were very fortunate to draw on the expertise of many farmers and agricultural businesses such as Drumanilra Farm Kitchen, Lullaby Milk, the HSA, Teagasc, the BRIDE project and many others.