Individual School Policies

We’re working on a pilot project to help schools build websites in a time and cost-effective way. While our technical partners are building the websites, we’ll provide a space here for schools to share their core policies. Click through the links below to access further information on individual schools. 

If you’d like your school to be included, please contact clare@gaeloideachas.ie

Aighneacht Gaeloideachas do Chomhchoiste na Gaeilge, na Gaeltachta agus Phobal Labhartha na Gaeilge maidir leis an ngéarchéim sna naíonraí lasmuigh den Ghaeltacht

Chuir Gaeloideachas an aighneacht thíos faoi bhráid an Chomhchoiste ar iarratas uathu ar an 24 Bealtaine 2024. 

Réamhrá

A Theachtaí agus a Sheanadóirí, a chairde,

Gabhaim buíochas libh as an deis scríobh chugaibh maidir le cás na naíonraí lasmuigh den Ghaeltacht agus na moltaí atá ag Gaeloideachas maidir le tacú leo.

Sainmhíniú Gaeloideachas ar cad is naíonra ann ná suíomh luath-thumoideachais do pháistí faoi chúram múinteoir luathbhlianta. Is trí mhodh an tsúgartha trí mheán na Gaeilge a fhoghlaimíonn na páistí sa naíonra.

San earnáil oideachais lán-Ghaeilge, aithnítear naíonraí mar bhunchloch an chóras tumoideachais, agus, lasmuigh den Ghaeltacht, bíonn siad go minic mar an chéad teagmháil a bhíonn ag páistí leis an nGaeilge. Aidhmeanna an naíonra ná:

  • Forbairt iomlán an pháiste a chothú sna luathbhlianta
  • Cabhrú le páistí atá á dtógáil le Gaeilge luathoideachas a fháil ina dteanga féin agus an teanga sin a shaibhriú
  • Cabhrú le páistí gan Ghaeilge an dara teanga a shealbhú go nádúrtha

Fís Gaeloideachas ná go mbeidh spás i naíonra áitiúil ar fáil do gach páiste, agus go mbeidh luath-thumoideachas ar ardchaighdeán á sholáthar dóibh. Faraor, ceal aitheantas agus tacaíochtaí cuí ón Stát, tá todhchaí na naíonraí i mbaol.

Ról Gaeloideachas

Is eagraíocht dheonach náisiúnta í Gaeloideachas a thacaíonn le forbairt an oideachas lán-Ghaeilge. Bunaíodh í mar Gaelscoileanna in 1973 le tacú le bunscoileanna agus iar-bhunscoileanna lán-Ghaeilge lasmuigh den Ghaeltacht. Ó shin, leathnaíodh ról na heagraíochta agus cuireann sí seirbhísí tacaíochta ar fáil anois do scoileanna Gaeltachta agus do naíonraí lasmuigh den Ghaeltacht chomh maith. Faigheann Gaeloideachas maoiniú ó Foras na Gaeilge mar cheanneagraíocht sa réimse tumoideachas agus réamhscolaíocht lán-Ghaeilge. I measc feidhmeanna na heagraíochta tá

Tacaíocht agus abhcóideacht thar cheann pobal na naíonraí lasmuigh den Ghaeltacht chun struchtúir chuí a mholadh don Stát agus na páirtithe cuí, a thacóidh le soláthar iomlán trí mheán na Gaeilge atá ag freastal ar riachtanais na bpobail agus a éascóidh seirbhísí luathbhlianta den scoth trí mheán na Gaeilge.

Is balleagraíocht í Gaeloideachas, agus tá ballraíocht ceadaithe do naíonraí lonnaithe lasmuigh den Ghaeltacht sna 26 chontae a dheimhníonn go bhfuil siad ag feidhmiú trí mheán na Gaeilge. 12 naíonra atá mar bhaill reatha ag an eagraíocht. Níl aon ról ag Gaeloideachas mar a bhaineann le bainistíocht, dearbhú cáilíochta nó cigireacht ar naíonraí, agus ní leor an maoiniú nó an t-allúntas foirne atá ag an eagraíocht le seirbhís chuimsitheach tacaíochta a chur ar fáil do naíonraí lasmuigh den Ghaeltacht.

Naíonraí a aithint

Ní thagann naíonraí lasmuigh den Ghaeltacht faoi scáth-eagraíocht bhainistíochta, mar a thagann an formhór sa Ghaeltacht faoi Comhar Naíonraí na Gaeltachta. Lasmuigh den Ghaeltacht, is meascán iad de ghnólachtaí príobháideacha agus gnólachtaí pobail le coistí bainistíochta neamhspleácha. Tagann siad faoi na rialacháin céanna is a dtagann na seirbhísí luathbhlianta meán-Bhéarla agus tá na scéimeanna agus tacaíochtaí céanna ar fáil dóibh. Ní fhaigheann siad aon tacaíocht bhreise ó na forais Stáit, cé go bhfuil riachtanais bhreise acu mar suíomhanna luath-thumoideachais.

Is bun fhadhb é nach bhfuil meicníocht ag an Stát le stádas uathúil an naíonra mar shuíomh luath-thumoideachais a aithint agus a dhearbhú. Dá réir, níl cearta nó cosaint ar leith ag na seirbhísí atá ag feidhmiú trí Ghaeilge lasmuigh den Ghaeltacht. Níl siad rangaithe mar cineál seirbhíse ar leith ag na forais Stáit agus mar thoradh ar sin níl fiú eolas ar fáil don phobal maidir le cá bhfuil naíonraí lonnaithe. Tá gá le haitheantas ceart ón Stát don luath-thumoideachas mar mhúnla agus le heolaire poiblí a léiríonn cá bhfuil teacht ar naíonraí a chuireann an luath-thumoideachas ar fáil.

Laghdú i líon na naíonraí lasmuigh den Ghaeltacht

Níl tomhais cruinn ar fáil de líon na naíonraí atá ag feidhmiú lasmuigh den Ghaeltacht.

Nuair a ghlac Gaeloideachas leis an gcúram le seirbhísí tacaíochta a chur ar fáil do naíonraí i 2014, léirigh bunachar sonraí stairiúil de na naíonraí lasmuigh den Ghaeltacht go raibh os cionn 180 dóibh ann. D’iarr Gaeloideachas staitisticí bliantúla ón 180 naíonra ar an liosta sin ó 2016-2021 d’fhonn bonnlíne a aithint, ach gan dualgas ar na naíonraí eolas a thuairisciú don eagraíocht, níorbh fhéidir figiúir iomlán iontaofa a dheimhniú. Chuir Gaeloideachas deireadh leis na staitisticí a lorg i 2021, nuair nár fhreagair ach 82 seirbhís an suirbhé, agus dhírigh an eagraíocht ar stocaireacht a dhéanamh ar an Roinn Leanaí le heolas a bhailiú ina leith.

I 2022/2023 thug an Stát faoi thaighde ar seo don chéad uair. Ní raibh an suirbhé éigeantach, áfach, agus níor lorgaíodh cead na bhfreagróirí leis an eolas maidir le teanga na seirbhísí aonair a roinnt go poiblí. D’fhoilsigh An Roinn Leanaí Suirbhé ar Sholáthar i suímh Foghlaim agus Cúram na Luath-Óige agus Cúram Leanaí Aois Scoile Lán-Ghaeilge i 2023 agus de réir na tuarascála sin:

  • Ní raibh ach 53 seirbhís luathbhlianta lasmuigh den Ghaeltacht a dúirt go bhfuil siad ag feidhmiú go hiomlán trí Ghaeilge (sé sin, de réir sainmhíniú Gaeloideachas ar cad is naíonra ann). Go comparáideach, tá 153 bunscoil lán-Ghaeilge lasmuigh den Ghaeltacht.
  • Dúirt 63 seirbhís luathbhlianta lasmuigh den Ghaeltacht go bhfuil siad ag feidhmiú go dátheangach (ach gan cainníochtú ar cad is brí le ‘go dátheangach’).

Léiríonn seo gur dócha go bhfuil titim shuntasach i líon na naíonraí lasmuigh den Ghaeltacht le deich mbliana anuas. Tá seo ag teacht leis an bhfianaise starógach atá faighte ag Gaeloideachas ón bpobal. Tá taifead ag an eagraíocht ar 17 naíonra a dhún ó 2016 agus meastar go bhfuil níos mó ná sin ann. Níl an Stát in ann figiúr cruinn a thabhairt de líon na naíonraí a dhún mar nach lorgaítear eolas maidir le teanga na seirbhíse nuair atá fógra á dtabhairt maidir le seirbhís a dhúnadh. Castacht eile ná gur féidir go mbeadh seirbhís naíonra laistigh de mhórsheirbhís meán-Bhéarla, agus go gcuirtear deireadh leis an soláthar luath-thumoideachais ach nach ndéantar é a thaifead mar sheirbhís a dhún toisc go leantar le soláthar trí Bhéarla ina áit.  

Is céim chun tosaigh é go bhfuil an Roinn Leanaí anois ag aithint go bhfuil tábhacht le heolas a bhailiú maidir leis an nGaeilge san earnáil luathbhlianta, agus go mbeidh ceist maidir le teanga na seirbhíse san áireamh amach anseo i suirbhé bliantúil Pobal. Céim eile sa treo ceart ná an polasaí atá le foilsiú ag an Roinn Leanaí, Plean Cuimsitheach chun breis forbairt ar sholáthair lán-Ghaeilge san earnáil, agus tá sé den riachtanas go mbeidh sé físiúil agus téagartha a dhóthain le dul i ngleic leis an ngéarchéim atá á fhulaingt ag na naíonraí lasmuigh den Ghaeltacht. Bhí an polasaí le foilsiú i 2023, tá sé anois curtha siar go 2024 ach níl tús curtha leis an gcomhairliúchán poiblí ina leith go fóill.

Tá gá le scéim aitheantais don luath-thumoideachas sna luathbhlianta, le scéim dearbhú cáilíochta a chuireann tacaíochtaí cuí ar fáil do na naíonraí agus do na páistí atá faoina gcúram.

Maoiniú

Tá naíonraí lasmuigh den Ghaeltacht ag brath ar maoiniú ón Stát le costais reatha agus foirne a íoc. Tá costas níos airde ar seirbhís a sholáthar trí mheán na Gaeilge, ach ní fhaigheann naíonraí lasmuigh den Ghaeltacht aon mhaoiniú breise le cabhrú leo na costais seo a chlúdach. I measc na riachtanais bhreise atá acu, tá:

  • acmhainní i nGaeilge a cheannach nó a fhorbairt;
  • ranganna Gaeilge do bhaill fhoirne mar nach mbíonn an Ghaeilge mar chuid dá n-oiliúint tosaigh;
  • costais aistriúcháin do pholasaithe, foirmeacha, fógraí nó eile; agus
  • liúntas a íoc le foireann a earcú agus a choinneáil.

Idir 2013–2014 cailleadh €1.4 milliún do mhaoiniú Stáit do na naíonraí, idir €876,900 don scéim fóirdheontais, arna maoiniú ag Foras na Gaeilge agus €500,000 nuair a tháinig deireadh le maoiniú Pobal don eagraíocht tacaíochta Forbairt Naíonraí Teoranta (FNT). Tháinig deireadh le Forbairt Naíonraí Teoranta dá réir. Ainneoin gur bronnadh ról tacaíochta ar Gaeloideachas sa réimse, níor lean na socruithe maoinithe agus níl na seirbhísí atá á soláthar ag Gaeloideachas chomh cuimsitheach is a bhí seirbhísí FNT, ceal maoinithe agus acmhainní.

Tá gá le scéim fóirdheontais do naíonraí le cinntiú go mbeidh siad inmharthana agus go mbeidh siad cumasaithe le luath-thumoideachas ar ardchaighdeán a chur ar fáil do na páistí atá faoina gcúram.

Géarchéim earcaíochta agus coinneála foirne

De réir tuairiscí atá faighte ag Gaeloideachas ó naíonraí a dhún le blianta beaga anuas, is toisc nárbh fhéidir foireann le Gaeilge a earcú nó a choinneáil don chuid is mó a dúnadh na seirbhísí lán-Ghaeilge, nó a chuireann bac orthu oscailt ar an gcéad dul síos. Tá géarchéim earcaíochta in earnáil na luathbhlianta i gcoitinne, ach tá sé níos géire sna naíonraí, ach go háirithe mar a bhaineann le foireann a earcú le tacú le hoideachas speisialta sna luathbhlianta.

Go hiondúil, is uaireanta páirtaimseartha a bhíonn i gceist d’fhoireann na naíonraí lasmuigh den Ghaeltacht agus feidhmíonn siad de réir féilire na scoilbhliana. Tá na rátaí pá san earnáil íseal go fóill, agus ní íoctar foireann le linn na saoire. Tá na naíonraí lasmuigh den Ghaeltacht in iomaíocht le hearnáil na mbunscoileanna, áit ina bhfuil pá agus cúinsí oibre níos fearr ar fáil, agus an-éileamh ar daoine le Gaeilge.

Tá gá le hinfheistíocht straitéiseach sna luathbhlianta lán-Ghaeilge le scéim a chabhróidh le naíonraí múinteoirí a earcú, a chumasú agus a choinneáil agus luath-thumoideachais ar ardchaighdeán a chur ar fáil do pháistí óga.

Conclúid agus moltaí

Tá na naíonraí lasmuigh den Ghaeltacht ag feidhmiú i dtimpeallacht chasta agus athraitheach, gan aitheantas cuí dá stádas mar suíomhanna luath-thumoideachais agus gan dóthain tacaíochta le go mbeidh siad inmharthana. Táimid rófhada ag brath ar fhostaithe, mná a bhformhór, a chuireann a leas féin ar deireadh ar mhaithe leis na páistí atá faoina gcúram, suíomh nach bhfuil ceart nó inbhuanaithe. Tá níos fearr ag dul dóibh agus do na teaghlaigh atá ag brath orthu le cúram, oideachas agus Gaeilge a thabhairt dá bpáistí.

Leis an bhfís a fhíorú go mbeadh córas eiseamláireach luath-thumoideachais ar fáil do gach uile dhuine, is gá dul i ngleic le mórdhúshláin reatha na naíonraí lasmuigh den Ghaeltacht agus cinntiú:

  1. Go n-aithneoidh an Stát an luath-thumoideachas mar mhúnla an naíonra agus go bhforbrófar polasaithe tacúla ina leith
  2. Go bhfoilseofar eolaire poiblí a léiríonn cá bhfuil teacht ar naíonraí a chuireann an luath-thumoideachas ar fáil
  3. Go bhforbrófar scéim aitheantais don luath-thumoideachas, le scéim dearbhú cáilíochta a chuireann tacaíochtaí cuí ar fáil do na naíonraí agus do na páistí atá faoina gcúram
  4. Go gcuirfear scéim fóirdheontais ar fáil do naíonraí le cinntiú go mbeidh siad inmharthana agus go mbeidh siad cumasaithe le luath-thumoideachas ar ardchaighdeán a chur ar fáil
  5. Go ndéanfar infheistíocht straitéiseach ar bhonn práinne i scéim a chabhróidh le naíonraí múinteoirí a earcú, a chumasú agus a choinneáil

Allowance for Teaching through Irish – Background and Reasoning

There has been a teacher supply crisis in the Irish-medium and Gaeltacht education sector for many years. This is a result of a lack of teachers at both levels with the required language abilities to teach in an Irish-medium or Gaeltacht school.

The allowance for teaching through Irish was €1,785 per year for teachers who began teaching before December 2011. Two other allowances were removed from new teachers at the same time; an allowance for teachers in Gaeltacht schools and an allowance for teachers in island schools. These stood at €3,455 and €2,078 respectively.

Since the allowance for teaching through Irish was ended in 2011, there is no incentive or adequate recognition given to the significant additional responsibilities for teachers who teach in Irish-medium settings where immersion education is in place.

Other countries in which teachers work in bilingual or immersion education settings – such as New Zealand, Hawaii, and Canada – already provide recognition similar to this allowance.

Gaeloideachas believes that there is real value to the work being done, and a need for recognition for the teachers carrying out this work. Therefore, we are actively campaigning on this issue, and your support would be a big help to the campaign and in drawing attention to these issues. We are delighted to have the support of the INTO on this matter. #LuachTríLiúntas

 

10 Reasons to Reintroduce the Allowance

  1. Teachers in immersion education settings need a wider range of linguistic and educational skills and knowledge over and above what is required for other teachers (Ó Ceallaigh, Hourigan, agus Leavy 2018). They have to keep their language skills and proficiency at a high level.
  1. There is an unjust divide in schools between teachers who started working in the system since 2011 who do not receive the allowance, and those with the allowance. For those who are still earning the allowance, who started working in their school before 2011, they will lose it if they move schools – even if they move to another Irish-medium school.
  1. Additional work is needed to promote Irish as the language of socialisation and community language of the school in a wider context. Teachers organise events, trips to the Gaeltacht, and more to achieve this.
  1. Teachers in Irish-medium schools have an additional responsibility in finding the right balance between teaching specific subjects and placing enough emphasis on language acquisition.
  1. Teachers must create contemporary resources in Irish quickly to keep up with current events. These materials need to be created from scratch, or by repurposing or translating materials in English – all of which is done in the teacher’s personal time.
  1. Teachers must create assessment tools in Irish to assess different abilities, and particularly to provide support to students who have specific support needs. These tools are not being provided as standard by State agencies. In addition, learning support may need to be provided bilingually, in accordance with the needs of the child.
  1. Teachers in Irish-medium schools have to communicate with parents bilingually, meaning that double the work is involved in correspondence with parents.
  1. If any policy for Irish-medium education outside of Gaeltacht areas is to be successful, it will be essential to ensure that schools and teachers are incentivised to promote and achieve the target results identified in the policies. This is also true of the future success of the Policy for Gaeltacht Education, which will be significantly dependent on the availability of teachers who are trained in the language and willing to work in immersion education settings.
  1. There is not an adequate supply of training programmes for student teachers nor is there any certainty that newly-qualified teachers will stay in the Irish-medium system if there is no recognition for the additional work that they would do.
  2. Standardised testing for Irish is required to be carried out in 2nd, 4th, and 6th class in Irish-medium schools, a requirement that does not apply to English-medium schools. It is good practice for teachers to undertake these tests annually in order to assess standards and identify challenges.

 

5 Ways for you to support the campaign

  1. Sign and Share our Petition

Gaeloideachas has created a petition calling on the Minister for Education to reintroduce the allowance for teaching through Irish. You can find the petition at this link and it is well worth signing it and sharing it with other teachers and on social media – the number of signatures will show the level of support for this call from teachers across the country and communities of Irish-medium and Gaeltacht schools.

  1. Show Support Online

We are also undertaking activities on social media – Facebook, X (Twitter), Instagram, and Threads – to show the value of the additional work done by teachers in immersion education settings. We’re asking teachers to share a photo or tweet that shows the work they are doing, and to use the hashtag #LuachTríLiúntas.

  1. Email your Local Politicians

Which constituency do you live in? You can find your local TDs on this page and send them an email about the allowance, asking them to show their support and contact the Minister for Education. You are welcome to use some of the 10 reasons above as ideas to start your email.

  1. Submit a Motion at your Union Meeting

Teachers’ unions will soon be requesting motions to be submitted for their annual conferences, and members can submit motions through their local branches. Gaeloideachas recommends submitting a motion to your local branch to seek support from unions on this issue.

  1. Contact Gaeloideachas

Would you be interested in taking a more active role in this campaign? If you would be happy to speak to the media about the allowance if opportunities arise, or attend meetings between Gaeloideachas and a local politician in your area, send an email to eolas@gaeloideachas.ie including your name, your school, and your constituency (and/or the school’s constituency).

Resolutions passed at our most recent AGM

CGB & Ceiliúradh 50, Aibreán 2023

 

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

Teacher supply

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

Special education

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

Additional resolution

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.”

Ends

Notes for the editor

Contact

Bláthnaid ní Ghréacháin, CEO | blathnaid@gaeloideachas.ie | 01 8535195 | 086-8050335

Seán Ó hArgáin, Acting President | 087-4192322

Gaeloideachas
Gaeloideachas is the national lead-organisation that supports the development of Irish-medium and Gaeltacht schools at primary and at post-primary level.

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.

Irish-medium Education – Deficiencies, Challenges and Opportunities

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.”

Ends

Notes for Editor

Contact 

Bláthnaid ní Ghréacháin, Ardfheidhmeannach| blathnaid@gaeloideachas.ie | 01 8535195 | 086-8050335 

Mícheál S. Mac Donnacha, Uachtarán | uachtaran@gaeloideachas.ie | 087-2891544 

 

Gaeloideachas 
Gaeloideachas is the national lead-organisation that supports the development of Irish-medium and Gaeltacht schools at primary and at post-primary level. 
 
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. 

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. 

Ends 

 

Notes for the editor 

Contact 

Bláthnaid ní Ghréacháin, CEO | blathnaid@gaeloideachas.ie 

Seán Ó hArgáin, President | uachtaran@gaeloideachas.ie 

Anna Ní Chartúir, Public Relations Officer | ocp@gaeloideachas.ie 

 

Gaeloideachas 
Gaeloideachas is the national lead-organisation that supports the development of Irish-medium and Gaeltacht schools at primary and at post-primary level. 
 
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.