Text size

Gaelscoil an tSeanchaí

February 26, 2010

Gaelscoil Sheoirse Clancy

February 26, 2010

War of words over plan for Irish school

February 18, 2010

A war of words has broken out over a Sinn Fein proposal to site an Irish language school in a predominantly unionist village outside Londonderry.

DUP MLA Gregory Campbell has lashed out at Sinn Féin’s Raymond McCartney after he tabled a question to Education Minister Caitriona Ruane about the former Faughan Valley High School site in Drumahoe. The question asked if she would consider the site – vacated when two Controlled schools merged – “as a location for a Meanscoil (Irish language secondary school)”. Mr Campbell said: “There are two issues arising from this question. The first is that it appears in some instances there is threat of closure to Irish language schools because of the lack of those interested in such a school, yet he seems to want another one opened.

“The second matter is that Mr McCartney also doesn’t understand what the local response would be, if there were an approach to the Orange Order to see if a suitable site becoming available in Londonderry’s Creggan estate, would they be interested in providing a boost to cultural education in that area? “It seems that, in the words of an alcoholic beverage company’s advert, Sinn Féin don’t do irony….but if they did?” However, Sinn Féin’s Raymond McCartney hit back and said he could explain his rationale for posing the Assembly question to Minister Ruane. Mr McCartney said: “It is the Sinn Féin belief that to maximise the numbers of pupils for a new Meanscoil in Derry, it would require children from Bunscoileanna in Dungiven and Strabane.

“We have come to this view after consultation with parents and educationalists in both areas. In the opinion of the parents, access to the school would be one of the key issues which will determine if their children would travel to Derry for education provision. “They point out that travelling across to the West Bank would add significantly to travel time from both towns.

Therefore the best place for all concerned would be a location in the Waterside. Rather than seek a new build, an existing school estate would make sound economic sense.” Mr McCartney continued by saying that in all the possibilities in the case, the Drumahoe site was just one consideration. However, the Sinn Féin representative also hit back at Mr Campbell and said: “As for Gregory Campbell’s assertion about the Orange Order, if you’ll excuse the pun, he’s comparing apples with oranges. Perhaps a better comparison would be if someone wished to site an Ulster-Scots school in any area of the city, I certainly would be supportive, be that Creggan, Gobnascale or anywhere else for that matter.” The former Faughan Valley High School site has long proved a point of contention.

The local community association as well as other community leaders across the Waterside have lobbied for years in an attempt to get land released to them for badly needed community and sporting facilities, as has the council.

Belfast Newsletter
18 Feabhra 2010

Official Recognition for the Early-Immersion Education System in Gaelscoileanna

February 16, 2010

Gaelscoileanna throughout Ireland are celebrating today’s announcment that circular 0044/2007 in relation to Language and Literacy in Infant Classes in Irish-medium schools has been officially withdrawn. The Department of Education and Science’s decision to withdraw the controversial circular and to grant official recognition to the early-immersion education system has been warmly welcomed by GAELSCOILEANNA TEO.  The Department’s decision follows a period of intense campaigning in the sector since the release of circular 0044/2007 in 2007. The predominant demand of the campaign, the withdrawal of the circular, has now been achieved. The outstanding demands, which include agreement on the official models of early-immersion education in gaelscoileanna as well as implementation of a programme of research to form the basis of strengthening the immersion education system, will be considered and agreed in a consultative manner with stakeholders.

The decision opens the door to the necessary and comprehensive development of the early-immersion education system in gaelscoileanna. The next step in the process will involve publication of a draft statutory instrument referring to the early-immersion education system, which will be presented and agreed with stakeholders.

GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. extends its congratulations to the plaintiffs in the legal case and also its gratitude to the organisation’s delegation who engaged in discussions with the Department throughout the campaign in an effort to resolve the crisis.  GAELSCOILEANNA TEO.  also acknowledges the central role played by Irish-langaue partners, ed,ucation partners and the teacher unions in particular throughout the campaign.

C.E.O. of GAELSCOILEANNA TEO., Bláthnaid ní Ghréacháin, stated, “this is very positive news and we whole-heartedly welcome the Department’s decision to strengthen the Irish-medium education sector, thereby allowing schools to continue to implement the most effective system of language acquisition available. This departure illustrates the positive effect of collaborative efforts and we are very grateful to all in the sector, including schools for their unrelenting lobbying  as well as to the plaintiffs who fought against the enforcement of the circular since its publication.”

Mícheál Ó Broin, Uachtarán of GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. acknowledges the collaborative work with the Department of Education and Science, “we are very grateful to the delegation within the Department who engaged with us in advancing the issue. Their decision illustrates their understanding of the importance and success of the system and we are looking forward to continued collaboration with them regarding the models of early-immersion education to be officially recognised as well as the development of resources and research required to strengthen the system.”

GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. is the national co-ordinating body for schools teaching through the medium of Irish. It helps parents and local groups to set up new schools and supports the established all-Irish schools. There are 169 primary schools and 42 secondary schools currently providing education through the medium of Irish.


Bláthnaid Ní Ghréacháin                    01 8535195

Mícheál Ó Broin                                   087-9467700



Gaelscoileanna Teo. Disappointed That No New Irish-Medium Schools Will Open In 2010

February 16, 2010

GAELSCOILEANNA TEO., the representative body for 140 Irish-medium primary schools, has expressed huge disappointment with the decision announced today by the Department of Education and Science on the establishment of new schools in 2010. There were 9 key regions identified in the Department’s Primary Provision plan in which new schools were to open in 2010. It was announced today that schools will open in just 7 of those regions and there are no Irish-medium schools among the 7 new schools planned, despite a very well-supported application from a Gaelscoil founding committee in Ratoath, Co. Meath. No recognition was given either to the seven other founding committees who applied to the Department to establish Irish-medium schools in their area in 2010, before the Department had identified the nine key areas on which their Primary Provision plan would focus.

This decision by the Department of Education and Science breaches parents’ constitutional right to education for their children, and the state’s obligation to protect and nurture the Irish language.

Last year, the Minister for Education abolished the system whereby schools could be established independently. Until then, GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. and other patron-based schools could seek initial recognition with 17 children and full recognition after three years so long as the school had 51 pupils. This system recognised how schools grow as a part of their community, and the important role that a school plays in community development. The numbers were pitched at a level of sustainability; not a single Gaelscoil has ever closed due to falling numbers and no Gaelscoil has ever been established without a strong campaign of support from the local community and school parents. Now schools are to be established by the Department which do not facilitate the demand in the local area, and it seems that parents’ choice does not feature in the Department’s plan. Irish-medium schools are oversubscribed and turning children away, and even though there is a proven demand for Irish-medium education in the areas in which the seven gaelscoil founding committees are currently running campaigns, none will be allowed to open a school in 2010.

Education at its best is borne of the community and supported through the willingness of parents to play a part in schools’ establishment, management, philosophy and funding. This support is nurtured through the patron system and this most effective method of shaping our children’s futures should not be questioned on purely economic grounds. Furthermore, the minister’s decision not to open any new Irish-medium schools in 2010 contradicts the Government’s own commitment to support and nurture Irish-medium education, as outlined in their visionary plan A Twenty-Year Strategy for the Irish Language.

GAELSCOILEANNA TEO.  is seeking further clarification from the Department of Education of the decision criteria for the 2010 Primary Provision plan, and the organisation will continue its campaign to make Irish-medium education available to all children in Ireland.


Further information:

Bláthnaid Ní Ghréacháin, Chief Executive Officer – GAELSCOILEANNA TEO.

01 4773155 or 086 8050335

Mícheál Ó Broin, President, GAELSCOILEANNA TEO.


Conference on Teaching Through Irish

February 15, 2010

CLIL and Teaching Through Irish

Conference in NUI Galway on Saturday 27th February

Organized by Scoil an Oideachais in NUI Galway and Gaelscoileanna Teo.

How can you teach another subject through Irish, incorporating the best of methods and an exciting approach to teaching language and content together?

With 40% of marks being allocated to the oral in the Leaving Cert Irish exam from 2012, it is now more important than ever to reassess how Irish is taught in schools, and to place an emphasis on the spoken language.

What is CLIL? Content and Language Integrated Learning.  CLIL is a pan-European method for teaching subjects and language together. It is being used to great effect all over the EU, and it has huge potential for Irish language, Irish teaching and for Irish schools.

This method can have students speaking the language without them even being aware of it!

International speakers and experts in the area of CLIL and language acquisition will speak at the conference.  David Marsh, University of Jyvaskyla, Finland, will give the background to the growth and success of CLIL in Europe,  Do Coyle, University of Nottingham,  will discuss the issues related to training teachers in this method. Muiris Ó Laoire, IT Tralee, world renowned in the area of language and language acquisition, will speak on CLIL in the Irish context. Áine Furlong, IT Waterford, will show practical ways of creating materials and resources for the CLIL lesson; Yolanda Ruiz de Zarobe, University of the Basque Country, will discuss the CLIL experience in relation to a minority language in the Basque Country;  Carmel Mary Coonan, Universita Ca’Foscari di Venezia, Italy, will talk about CLIL in the classroom, and Olive Ní Chonghaile, Mercy College, Tuam will describe her own experience of putting CLIL in practice in a Secondary school here in Ireland.

Could you teach part of your second subject through Irish?

Find out how at this one-day conference in Galway!

This conference will provide the opportunity to share with colleagues around the country, to invigorate your teaching with new possibilities, will explore new ways of teaching Irish, by incorporating the CLIL methods – which are known to work in other European countries.

This conference is aimed particularly at second level teachers of the Irish language, especially those who also teach a second subject. It will also be of interest to those who teach Irish in Irish colleges, eagraíochtaí Gaeilge, aon duine gur spéis leo an Ghaeilge and teagasc na teanga.  The cost for the day, including lunch and refreshments is €55. For more information and online booking, see www.conference.ie or call Sinéad at 091 492861  or Nora at 01 8535191

Lack of a new gaelscoil angers teaching groups

February 10, 2010

Education Minister Batt O’Keeffe has angered Irish-language teaching groups with the announcement of approval for seven new primary schools.

Gaelscoileanna spokesperson Blathnaid Ni Ghreachain claimed the department breached parents’ constitutional right to education for their children, and the State’s obligation to protect and nurture the Irish language by not providing for an Irish-medium school among the seven.

The announcement of the primary schools is separate from yesterday’s school buildings announcement. But a department spokesperson claimed that in the seven areas “the view of the Gaelscoileanna movement was that there was not sufficient additional demand for all-Irish provision to warrant a new gaelscoil”.

Irish Independent – John Walshe
17 Feabhra 2010

Gaelscoil row erupts again over proposal

February 10, 2010

Irish language promotion body Conradh na Gaeilge is claiming that the Government’s efforts to resolve a row over the teaching of English to junior classes at Gaelscoileanna is really an attempt to introduce English into the schools by the back door.

Just a fortnight after the group welcomed the Department of Education’s decision to rescind a circular ordering that English be taught to all junior classes in total immersion schools, Conradh na Gaeilge have attacked the Department over a provision in the legislation withdrawing the contentious order. The Department of Education last month agreed to rescind the controversial order on condition that any individual Gaelscoil provide the 2.5 hours of English per week required by the curriculum to any individual student whose parent requests it.

The circular was withdrawn following a lengthy legal battle which was sparked when several parents of young children attending Tralee’s Gaelscoil Mhic Easmainn complained that their children were not receiving any formal lesson in English. Following the complaint the Department issued the circular ordering that all children in Gaelscoileanna across the state receive the mandatory amount of English tuition as set out in the national curriculum. After months of legal wrangling and with the case about to go before the High Court, Education Minister Batt O’Keeffe announced he was rescinding the order put in place by his predecessor Mary Hanafin. Now Conradh Na Gaeilge have hit out at Minister O’Keeffe for including a provision, which they claim threatens the future of total immersion education. Though the provision actually only requires that an individual pupil be taught English if a parent requests it, Conradh na Gaelige claims the provision means entire classes would have to be taught English should any individual parent ask for it.

Conradh na Gaelige said it welcomes the recent decision to withdraw the circular but warned against “an addendum to this decision which seeks to ensure that an individual parent can demand that formal English tuition be provided in junior infant classes in any school practising early immersion education through Irish.” President of Conradh na Gaeilge Pádraig Mac Fhearghusa said the proposal that an individual parent may demand that formal English tuition be provided was “out of order”. “This addendum by an officer of the Department of Education and Science to the decision to withdraw circular 0044/2007 challenges common sense, and has no basis in the Education Act in its entirety,” he said. “Conradh na Gaeilge does not believe that the immersion education ethos of a school should have to be reviewed anew every year on the demand of an individual parent, and we ask why we have had ongoing interference with Irish-medium schools, schools which continually achieve the highest educational standards,” said Mr Mac Fhearghusa.

The Kerryman – Simon Brouder

10 Feabhra 2010


February 10, 2010

Sorry, this entry is only available in Irish.

New methods of teaching Irish to be subject of NUI Galway conference

February 4, 2010

An education conference which will be held at NUI Galway later this month will look at an emerging method of teaching languages which is gaining popularity across Europe.

With 40 per cent of marks being allocated to the oral Irish examination in the Leaving Certificate from 2012 the event will be of specific interest to teachers of Irish at second-level. The one-day conference which will take place on Saturday February 27 is organised by NUI Galway’s School of Education and Gaelscoileanna Teo. It will focus on Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL), a method for teaching subjects and language together. In recent years this has become the umbrella term for learning another subject, such as geography, through a language which is not the mother tongue of the learners.

This method would be of particular interest to Irish teachers who could perhaps teach part of their second subject through Irish. Conference organiser Sinéad Ní Ghuidhir of NUI Galway’s School of Education, says this method can have students speaking the language without they even being aware of it. “CLIL is being used to great effect all over the EU and it has huge potential for Irish language, Irish teaching and for Irish schools. The challenges around teaching Irish which we face in Ireland every day are not something that should be seen as particular to this country alone. Our colleagues around Europe have much experience to share.”

The event will feature a case study by Olive Ní Chonghaile of the Mercy College, Tuam. She will describe her experience of putting CLIL into practice in a secondary school in Ireland. Speakers in the area of CLIL and language acquisition at the event will include:

  • María Jesús Frigols-Martin, Valencia, who will give the background to the growth and success of CLIL in Europe.
  • Do Coyle, University of Aberdeen, who will discuss the issues related to training teachers in this method.
  • Muiris Ó Laoire, IT Tralee, world renowned in the area of language and language acquisition, will speak on CLIL in the Irish context.
  • Áine Furlong, IT Waterford, will show practical ways of creating materials and resources for the CLIL lesson.
  • Yolanda Ruiz de Zarobe, University of the Basque Country, will discuss the CLIL experience with a minority language in the Basque Country.
  • Carmel Mary Coonan, Universita Ca’Foscari di Venezia, Italy, will talk about CLIL in the classroom.

Ms Ní Ghuidhir says the conference is a opportunity to explore new ways of teaching Irish by incorporating the CLIL methods.

“We hope the conference will provide the opportunity for those involved in education to share with colleagues around the country and to invigorate teaching with new possibilities.” The cost for the day, including lunch and refreshments, is €55. For further information and online booking log onto www.conference.ie or telephone (091) 492861 or (01) 8535191.

Galway Advertiser – Mary O’Connor
04 Feabhra 2010

Next Page »