The Junior Certificate Religious Education Support Service was put in place by the Department of Education and Science www.education.ie through its Teacher Education Section (TES), to support schools and teachers involved in the introduction of the Junior Certificate Religious Education syllabus.
Since September 2008 Religious Education Support (formerly Religious Education Support Service) has been administered by Second Level Support Service (http://www.slss.ie). The National Support Officer is responsible for the day-to-day support provision to teachers. In January 2009, Co. Wexford Education Centre replaced Galway Education Centre in the hosting of Religious Education Support, since Co. Wexford Education Centre is one of the five regional bases of the SLSS. Galway Education Centre hosted the Religious Education Support Service from 2000 – 2008.
The Junior Certificate Religious Education syllabus, which is optional, was introduced on a phased basis, beginning with sixty-four schools in September 2000 (First Year Pupils). A further cohort of one hundred and thirty one schools offered the course in September 2001 and the remainder of those wishing to be involved were included in September 2002. Junior Certificate Religious Education is now available to all second level schools.
The syllabus for Leaving Certificate Religious Education was introduced on a phased basis in 2003 and examined for the first time in 2005. In recent years Religious Education Support has given particular attention to supporting teachers in the introduction and implementation of the Leaving Certificate Religious Education syllabus through its cluster – based in service courses.
The schools involved in the phased introduction of the Junior and Leaving Certificate syllabuses were spread throughout the country, representing the full range of school types and sizes. In addition the cohort of teachers involved represents the full range of teacher qualifications in Religious Education.