How to Establish a Post-Primary School

Feb 16, 2022

Gaeloideachas works with communities towards the establishment of new Irish-medium schools. The success of applications depends on strong support from the community and expressions of interest from parents.  

New Irish-medium schools can be established in a number of ways, but the most common route is when the Department of Education and Skills announces that a new school is required in a particular area. This happens when the Department identifies that there are not enough spaces in local schools to cater to a growing or changing population in the area. While it is not as common, new Irish-medium education provision can also be established in existing schools:  

  • when a school that operates through English decides to change the school’s language ethos to an all-Irish ethos; 
  • when a school that operates through English opens an Irish-medium Aonad or stream within the school (there is more information on what an Aonad means here);  
  • or when two or more schools in a particular area amalgamate to establish a new Irish-medium school.  

When the Department establishes that there is a need for a new school, patrons are invited to make applications on the opening of the new school as part of a competitive process. Examples of school patrons include An Foras Pátrúnachta, Educate Together, and the Education and Training Boards. Usually, parents are consulted as part of this process and patrons run campaigns to encourage parents to vote for their particular model of education. This is done through an online system managed by the Department. During the consultation period, parents can indicate their preferred choice of patron to run the new school, along with their preference for the language ethos of the school (English or Irish).  

A new announcement from the Department of Education is awaited in relation to new schools. 

How can I show support… 

… if I have a vote? 

Parents can cast a vote if they live in the relevant school planning area and have a child, or children, of a particular age (for example, First Class to Fifth Class). If you have a vote, you can help the campaign by voting in support of Irish-medium education. This is simply an expression of interest rather than a commitment that you will send your child to the new school, and you can of course register your child in another school of your choosing. It will, however, help to ensure that other local parents will have more choice.  

When consultations are ongoing through the Department’s system, votes can be registered by parents at this site: 

… if I don’t have a vote? 

If you do not live in the school planning area, or if you want to show your support for the campaign, we would still love to have your support. If you register for the campaign mailing list run by An Foras Pátrúnachta at you will be kept up to date.