Individual School Policies
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These were the resolutions passed at the Extraordinary General Meeting and the Annual General Meeting of Gaeloideachas on 22 April, 2023.
Special motion proposed at the Extraordinary General Meeting
This Conference asks that the constitution of the organisation be amended to give naíonraí the opportunity to become members of Gaeloideachas and, accordingly, to put forward resolutions and nominations.
Proposed by: Bord Stiúrtha Gaeloideachas
This Conference ask the Department of Education to allow schools to advertise jobs as soon as their own panels have been cleared.
Proposed by: Gaelscoil Baile Brigín
This Conference asks the Department of Education to ensure that allowances for Special Needs Assistant are announced in April/May each year.
This Conference asks the Department of Education and the National Council for Special Education to review the existing criteria for the appointment of Special Needs Assistants and to expand those same criteria.
This Conference asks the Department of Education and the National Council for Special Education to urgently review the process to apply for Special Needs Assistants.
Proposed by: Gaelscoil Baile Brigín
This Conference asks the Department of Education and the National Council for Special Education to give a written confirmation that Irish is the language of employment, teaching and learning in any special class operating in L1 schools.
Proposed by: Scoil Náisiúnta na Rinne
Irish-medium early years – Na Naíonraí
This Conference asks the Department of Children to reinstate the subsidy scheme for naíonraí to tackle the current recruitment crisis in the sector. This scheme will help with the sustainability of Irish language services, to ensure that there will be the option of immersion education at pre-school level.
Proposed by: Bord Stiúrtha Gaeloideachas
Immersion education internationally
The community of this gaelscoil recommends that Gaeloideachas develops a pilot initiative that fosters a partnership between Irish-medium/Gaeltacht schools in Ireland and immersion schools abroad under the Erasmus Program in order to share good practice, strengthen the understanding of immersion education and broaden networking across immersion education practitioners.
Proposed by: Gaelscoil na nDéise
Language requirements for initial teacher education
This Conference recommends that no change be made to the language requirements for entry into teacher training colleges, especially regarding the results of the Leaving Certificate.
This Conference requests that the TEG system be used to improve the quality of student teachers’ Irish.
Proposed by: Bord Stiúrtha
Polasaí don Oideachas lán-Ghaeilge
This Conference asks the Department of Education to develop and publish a Policy for Irish-medium Education outside of the Gaeltacht that is strong, thorough and comprehensive.
Proposed by: Bord Stiúrtha
This Conference welcomes the decision taken by the Minister of Education not to implement the amendment whereby Paper 1 Irish in the Leaving Certificate would be held at the end of Year 5 in the 2023/2024 school year and the Conference asks that the Minister withdraw this recommendation entirely.
Proposed by: Bunscoil Sancta Maria
Win for campaign against Minister for Education’s decision to examine Leaving Cert Irish Paper One in Fifth Year
Gaeloideachas welcomes the decision announced today that the proposal to examine Leaving Certificate Irish Paper One at the end of Fifth Year has been shelved. Gaeloideachas, along with other education and Irish-language organisations, was at the forefront of these controversial debates, advocating on behalf of students, their parents, and teachers who were extremely unhappy and concerned about the decision.
“There was no scientific or educational basis for this proposal, and there was no analysis of the implications for the learning experience of the student, for teaching and learning of the language throughout the education system, or for the future and status of the language,” said Bláthnaid ní Ghréacháin, CEO of Gaeloideachas. “All parties recognised that it was essential that every opportunity should be provided for students to develop and fine-tune their language acquisition skills before undertaking the composition and listening comprehension aspects of the examination, and to ensure that they will be more able and capable speakers by the end of the course, rather than taking those opportunities from them in Sixth Year.”
According to Ní Ghréacháin, “There was no sense or reason to making changes at this stage while there is a wider review being undertaken on the Senior Cycle. An à la carte approach cannot be taken, with no comprehensive analysis of the reasoning, unintended consequences, and implications of each decision as it will affect the teaching and learning of Irish. It is past time that the Minister recognises the need for a strong vision and clear policy for the language in the education system as a whole.”
“We recognise that students completing the Leaving Certificate course are under significant pressure, but if Paper One had been moved to the end of Fifth Year, it is our view that the standard of Irish that can be achieved would be lowered. There is a significant risk that students’ level of active participation in the language in Sixth Year would have been reduced, not to mention their levels of interest and will to use Irish socially in the future,” said Seán Ó hArgáin, Acting President of Gaeloideachas.
“The Minister for Education has made the right decision not to implement this proposal. We hope that the views of educators, the community, and support organisations will be taken into account in the ongoing analysis of changes to the Senior Cycle. Gaeloideachas will continue our work.”
Notes for the editor
Bláthnaid ní Ghréacháin, CEO | email@example.com | 01 8535195 | 086-8050335
Seán Ó hArgáin, Acting President | 087-4192322
Gaeloideachas provides advice, assistance and support to people who wish to have their children educated through the medium of Irish, as well as support services for Irish-medium schools in Gaeltacht and non-Gaeltacht areas and naíonraí outside the Gaeltacht.
Following a number of years petitioning the Department of Education, Gaeloideachas are pleased that the development of a policy for Irish-medium education has begun.
“The development of a policy for Irish-medium education outside of the Gaeltacht is a significantly important step,” said Bláthnaid ní Ghréacháin, CEO of Gaeloideachas. “Our hope is that this policy will bring equity to those working within the sector and to students with regard to support infrastructure. Through this policy, our hope is that the vision and ambition of the State regarding Irish-medium education will be clarified. Now is the time for us all to ensure that it will be a strong, supportive policy for the development of naíonraí and Irish-medium schools outside of the Gaeltacht.”
16 January is the deadline set by the Department for survey responses and submissions from the public. However, a request by Gaeloideachas for the deadline to be extended to 28 February was rejected. “I believe that the timeframe that has been allocated for this important step in the consultation process is not sufficient for a number of reasons, not least that the Christmas period falls within this timeframe and that the results of two important pieces of work relating to vulnerable groups within the sector, namely naíonraí and Aonaid, are not yet available. Mapping has yet to be completed on the Irish-medium early-years sector and a significant research project on Irish-medium Aonaid is underway. Naíonraí are the cornerstone of this sector and the question of Aonaid is central to this consultation; without those results being available, it is not possible to engage fully with the survey or submissions.”
Gaeloideachas has submitted a recommendation to the Department that informational public meetings should be organised before 16 January, as they were during the development of the Policy on Gaeltacht Education to discuss the scope of the policy and to encourage the community to participate in the consultation process.
Gaeloideachas has begun its own consultation process focusing on the different target groups within the sector. “We hope to run our consultation process collaboratively and in parallel with Irish-language and education bodies and complementary to the Department’s plan to ensure strong participation in the development of a policy that is critical to the development of Irish-medium education.”
Notes for Editor
Bláthnaid ní Ghréacháin, Ardfheidhmeannach| firstname.lastname@example.org | 01 8535195 | 086-8050335
Mícheál S. Mac Donnacha, Uachtarán | email@example.com | 087-2891544
National Strategy and Language Supports needed to support Teachers in the Immersion Education System
“The findings of recently-published research regarding the views, experience, and opinions of subject teachers in Gaelcholáistí confirm our understanding that huge challenges exist around lack of fluency and lack of confidence among teachers who teach subjects through Irish in the all-Irish education system, challenges which affect teaching practice in the classroom,” according to Bláthnaid ní Ghréacháin, CEO of Gaeloideachas.
It is widely acknowledged that there is a crisis in the sector of all-Irish and Gaeltacht education in respect of the availability and ability of teachers to work effectively through the medium of Irish, a crisis which is significantly worse at post-primary level, where teachers are required for a wide range of subjects.
The research of Ó Ceallaigh and Ní Chathasaigh identifies challenges in the following areas:
- Language ability of subject teachers
- Teaching and learning through Irish
- Correction of students’ accuracy in Irish
- The specific challenges of subject-based classrooms in Gaelcholáistí
- Supportive infrastructure.
Research participants indicated that they are very concerned about the range and accuracy of their Irish both within and outside the classroom, and felt their own Irish was inaccurate, rusty, and inadequate.
The recommendations of Gaeloideachas include the following:
- That targets are identified regarding language ability of teachers, and that a qualification in the language is a requirement for those who wish to be employed in the immersion education system
- That an expected standard of Irish is established and that teachers’ standard of Irish is assessed at entry to and completion of their training programmes
- That a mechanism is put in place to assess the standard of Irish of teachers during their teaching career
- That common assessment mechanisms are established to ensure a consistent standard of Irish
- That language supports are made available to teacher trainees, including intensive courses, to ensure that this standard is achieved by the time they begin teaching in the immersion education system
- That additional courses and options for both initial training and continuing professional development are provided for the system through the medium of Irish
- That a mentoring system or network be established to support teachers, particularly those who are less confident or starting out in their teaching careers
- That the allowance for teachers in the all-Irish and Gaeltacht system is restored and linked to a TEG qualification at an identified level to encourage and incentivise teachers.
It is clear that a national strategy is needed to support immersion education and to support teachers who work within the all-Irish and Gaeltacht system. Gaeloideachas hopes that the importance of the above recommendations and the recommendations of the research is recognised, and that the existing challenges and those before us will be urgently addressed.
Notes for the editor
Bláthnaid ní Ghréacháin, CEO | firstname.lastname@example.org
Seán Ó hArgáin, President | email@example.com
Anna Ní Chartúir, Public Relations Officer | firstname.lastname@example.org