Children with Special Educational Needs – Reaching their potential in Irish-medium and Gaeltacht schools

Nov 23, 2022

For immediate publication | 24 November 2022

At the Gaeloideachas Conference on Special Educational Needs in partnership with COGG today, 24 November 2022, representatives of NEPS, NCSE, the Department of Education and the Inspectorate addressed key concerns raised by teachers in Irish-medium and Gaeltacht schools and heard from teachers and other experts who are working in the sector day-to-day.

The issues raised by teachers included the Department’s policy, guidance and actions to support children in immersion education environments, including special classes; the advice that is being given to parents regarding the suitability of the system for children with a wide range of additional needs; and what support and guidance is being given to teachers as to how to provide in-class support to students with language difficulties. Not only is there no emphasis on bilingual children or children who are learning through their second langauge, but no advice or guidelines are being provided that take into account the children’s linguistic environment.

“This is the time to act for Irish-medium education outside of the Gaeltacht as the State has now commenced a consultation process for the development of an the first ever policy for Irish-medium education,” said Bláthnaid ní Ghréacháin, CEO of Gaeloideachas. “Now is the time for all of us to demand an ambitious vision from the State for children in naíonraí, primary schools, and post-primary schools. A very strong trait of the immersion education system in Irish-medium schools is its ability to attend to the needs of every child, and at the same time to provide them with all of the benefits of bilingualism. School staff demonstrate incredible skill and drive in supporting children with special educational needs. The theme of this conference, focusing on opportunities for growth, gives teachers the opportunity to share best practice and develop strategies to support the most vulnerable children in our schools. All of us – including parents, teachers, and supporters of immersion education – must now demand, through the ongoing public consultation process, that the necessary support, understanding, and essential resources will be provided for these children to ensure that they can be confident and happy, and reach their potential on their educational journey.”

Teachers attended a wide range of valuable and practical workshops at the Conference, and for those who were unable to attend as a result of the substitution crisis in schools, recordings will be available on In the words of Gaeloideachas President, Micheál S. Mac Donnacha, “we are delighted to be able to provide support to teachers and all staff in Irish-medium and Gaeltacht schools who are at the coalface fighting on behalf of children who need additional support. Their work on behalf of the children does not go unnoticed and now is the time for us to all engage with the consultation process and vocalise how we can and must support every child in our schools.”


Notes for the Editor


Bláthnaid ní Ghréacháin, CEO| | 01 8535195 | 086-8050335 

Mícheál S. Mac Donnacha, President | | 087-2891544 


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.