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Spraoicheist Gael Linn i gCeatharlach

June 29, 2011

Sorry, this entry is only available in Irish.

40 new schools to be established in next six years – Minister Quinn

June 28, 2011

The Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn T.D., today announced that 20 new primary schools and 20 new post-primary schools are to be established in the next six years.

Announcing the new schools, the Minister said: “My Department is forecasting an increase of over 45,050 primary pupils and 24,900 post-primary pupils by the start of the 2017/18 school year.

“In order to meet the needs of our growing population of school going children, we will have to establish 40 new schools, as well as extending a number of existing schools.”

Of the 40 new schools, 17 will be in the Dublin area with a further twelve in the commuter belt of Wicklow, Kildare, Meath and Louth.

There will be six new schools established in Cork, three in Galway, and one each in Wexford and Cavan. (Please see attached map showing the locations of the new schools)

These new schools will be in addition to the seven new primary schools opened in autumn 2010.  The new schools will generally be sixteen-classroom primary schools and up to 1,000-student post-primary schools.  The estimated capital cost of the establishment of the new schools is in the region of €380m and the programme of delivery will include some PPP projects.   There will also be additional school extension projects which will be needed to cater for the growing school going population.

The Minister also announced the establishment of new arrangements for the recognition of new primary and second-level schools.  Minister Quinn said: “With the significant number of new schools, there will be an opportunity for patrons to seek to apply for patronage of these schools.

“The new arrangements published by my Department today, provide a balanced approach to allow for applications to be made from prospective patrons for the establishment of schools.

“The criteria to be used in deciding on patronage of the new schools place a particular emphasis on parental demand for plurality and diversity of patronage.”

The announcement further emphasises the Minister’s commitment to ensure speedy implementation of the commitments in the Programme for Government on moving towards a more pluralist system of patronage at second level.

It also builds on the establishment by the Minister of Forum on Patronage and Pluralism in the Primary Sector.

“Parental preferences should be at the centre of considerations about the type of school to be recognised,” said Minister Quinn.

“The new arrangements will provide that patron bodies proposing schools at either primary or second level will be asked to provide evidence of demand.”

The Minister also announced the establishment of a New Schools Establishment Group which will advise him on the patronage of the new schools following its consideration of a report on the applications to be prepared by the Department.  The Group is to be chaired by Dr. Seamus McGuinness (retired senior lecturer in the Education Department at Trinity College Dublin) and also includes Ms. Sylda Langford (retired Director of the Office of the Minister for Children) and Prof. Seán Ó Riain (Sociology Department, NUI Maynooth).

The next steps in the process of establishing these new schools are:

  • The Department will shortly inform patron bodies of the details of the first schools which are to be established.
  • The patron bodies can then make applications for consideration.
  • Department officials will draft a report based on these applications to be considered by the New Schools Establishment Group and it will submit a report with recommendations for consideration of the Minister.


Increase in number of Irish language Pre-schools

June 28, 2011

The number of Naíonraí or Irish language pre-schools in  Ireland has dramatically increased over the past few years. At the moment there are many vacancies available in this field and many opportunities have arisen working in naíonraí all over the country in places such as Offaly, Kilkenny, Co. Kildare, Dublin, Tralee and Wicklow.

A naíonra is a playgroup for children who come together daily in a pleasant, cheerful and safe environment, under the guidance and supervision of a Naíonra Leader. It is run solely through the medium of Irish.

A significant amount of naíonraí have opened around the country in the past two years. In 2009 five new naíonraí opened, last year seventeen new naíonraí opened and this years it is expected that over twenty new naíonraí will be opened by September in towns and villages around Ireland.

Speaking about  the huge increase in the number of newly established naíonraí which have opened in recent years the Development Officer with Forbairt Naíonraí Teoranta Seán Ó hAdhmaill says that there were two main reasons for this increase in new naíonraí being opened in recent times.

He attributes much of that increase to the the Early Childhood Care and Education Scheme which was introduced in January last year along with changes in the recruitment of Naíonraí Directors.
Forbairt Naíonraí Teoranta, (FNT) which is an all-Ireland voluntary organisation that supports the promotion of education and care services in Irish for children from birth welcomed these two significant changes.
The Early Childhood Care and Education scheme (ECCE scheme) assists parents who wish to send their child/children to play-school or naíonraí for a year free of change. This scheme is aimed at children who would be attending primary school the following year.

This new scheme created a demand in pre-schools and naíonraí and opened a new window of opportunity for naíonraí in towns and villages all over Ireland.

Under recent changes to recruitment practices, all applicants who are undertaking an interview to become a Naíonra Director must now undergo an Irish language interview, therefore the standard of Irish in the naíonraí is at a very high level.

In recent years there have been more opportunities to establish a naíonra in various areas around the country. Some naíonraí grew from demand in areas which have Gaelscoileanna as some Gaelscoileanna require that new pupils entering their school have previously attended a naíonra and have a sufficient level of Irish.  This leaves a greater demand for naíonraí as more and more people wish to educate their children through the medium of Irish.

For further information on naíonraí and and employment opportunities in the sector on Forbairt Naíonraí Teoranta: www.naionrai.ie.

© Gaelport.com 28 Meitheamh 2011

Choice of Irish language courses in Irish Universities

June 28, 2011

Those who sat this year’s state examinations are now celebrating since the exams came to an end last Friday. However, there are some who still have some thinking to do as those who wish to change their CAO choices previously submitted in February have until 5.15 on 1 July to do so.

The past few years have seen an increased demand for Irish language speaking employees with the enactment of the Official Languages Act 2003, Irish being recognised as an official language in the EU and the growth in the language media sector not to mention teachers at both primary and secondary level. As a result of this demand, there are many Irish language orientated course on offer to students that aim to cater for this demand.

Students may wish to study Irish as an Arts subject in many third level institutions including National University of Ireland Galway, University College Cork and University College Dublin. Those interested in business or journalism may wish to pursue a BA in Business & Gaeilge or a BA in Journalism & Gaeilge with FIONTAR DCU (www.dcu.ie/fiontar)   FIONTAR operates completely through Irish and has outstanding language resources for students which prepare them for working through the medium of Irish.

It provides students with the opportunity to combine Irish with contemporary life.  Students may also be interested in a range of courses offered by Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, National University of Ireland Galway.
Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge offers courses in translation, business administration and communications. Students of Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge benefit from being located in the Gaeltacht heartland of Connemara or Donegal which helps develop their language capability both on and off campus.

©Gaelport.com 28 Meitheamh 2011

‘Níl go leor spásanna sna Gaelscoileanna’

June 28, 2011

Sorry, this entry is only available in Irish.

Gaelscoil open day bids to resolve row

June 28, 2011

A SCHOOL at the centre of bitter controversy over plans for a new building has invited public representatives to an open day today to hear its side of the story.

The newly formed Parents and Teachers Action Group from Gaelscoil an Goirt Álainn in Cork said they are “extremely hurt and frustrated” and feel strongly that the pupils have been forgotten and neglected throughout the long-running saga. “We have tried our best as parents and teachers to reach out to the community to allay fears in the public and have been constantly beaten down by certain people,” the group said. “We have been likened to the Taliban, been called ‘snobbish’ and referred to as ‘elitist’, while all the time remaining positive and keeping the greatest need, that of our children, to the fore of our energies.

“This is despite 24/7 intimidation of those ‘Save Our Tank Field’ signs publicly displayed along the children’s route to school, to their local shops or even to Mass.” The school has been based in temporary prefab accommodation on the grounds of Brian Dillon’s GAA Club next to the Tank Field for the last 13 years. After years of campaigning, the Department of Education finally lodged a planning application with Cork City Council for a 16-classroom school on a portion of the Tank Field, which is zoned for sports use.
A rezoning, which would require two-thirds of the city’s 31 councillors to vote in favour, was needed for the building go ahead. City planners gave the project the green light but in July 2007 just 15 councillors voted in favour of rezoning.

The Department of Education appealed the vote and in March 2008, An Bord Pleanála granted planning. However, problems with the plan emerged in September 2009 and the project went back to the drawing board. Almost a year later, former city manager Joe Gavin said a new planning application would be needed. In the meantime, the school secured permission for an extension to its prefabs. Last March, the department lodged its revised plans and last month, city planners gave the new project the green light. Now another rezoning vote is imminent. The controversy has split the community in Mayfield. The Murmount Park Residents’ Association has been among the most vocal opponents arguing that the green space should be retained. It has also argued that the department should build the school on other sites. Supporters of the new school have marched through Cork city, and pointed out that of 376 observations and submissions lodged during the planning process, 269 were in favour of the new school. The action group has invited all councillors and media to an open day at the school today.

Irish Examiner – Eoin English

Scoláireachtaí €2,000 ar fáil do Mháistreachtaí Fiontar DCU

June 27, 2011

Sorry, this entry is only available in Irish.

Bishops committed to school reform

June 23, 2011

School boards of management could feel “set upon” if a change of patronage is imposed without full consultation, a leading Catholic Church represented has warned.

Addressing the National Forum on School Patronage and Pluralism in Primary Schools, Fr Michael Drumm of the Catholic Schools Partnership said there was a great danger local communities would not “buy into” the process if it was forced upon them. During the hearing, Catholic Church representatives stressed their willingness to work fully towards a “re-imagining” of school patronage. At present, the church controls close to 3,000 of the 3,200 primary schools in the State. Forum chairman Prof John Coolahan questioned the bishops closely, asking them repeatedly if they were willing to take a proactive role in the transfer of patronage to other providers. The process was dependent, he said, on goodwill from the Church on issues like finance and the transfer of school properties from the church to other bodies.

Otherwise he said the whole issue would become stymied. Earlier, Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn said he was delighted with the constructive approach taken by the Catholic Church in their submissions to the forum . There would , he predicted , be “no losers” in the process. In a submission to the forum, the Catholic bishops criticised as “very unhelpful” a suggestion by Mr Quinn that 50 per cent of primary schools under their control could be transferred to other patrons. Today, Mr Quinn stood over his comments, pointing to a survey by the Catholic Bishops Conference on Education where only half of the Catholic parents surveyed said they would choose a school under a religious denomination. Last month, Fr Drumm said a transfer figure of 10 per cent was more realistic The Catholic church was well-represented at today’s hearing with nine representatives from three different groups – the Catholic Bishops’ Conference, the Catholic Primary Schools Management Association and the Association of Trustees of Catholic Schools. The Council for Education of the Irish Bishops’ Conference was represented by Bishop Brendan Kelly, Bishop Leo O’Reilly and Fr Drumm.

The Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin who opened the debate on school patronage three years ago was not present at the hearings. Dr Martin has noted that 90 per cent of Dublin primary schools were under his patronage, while the percentage population who actively wanted a Catholic education could be as low as 50 per cent. There was sparse attendance at the forum my members of the general public who were invited to attend the three-day hearings at the Clock Tower in the Department of Education.

The Irish Times – Seán Flynn
22 Meitheamh 2011

(Gaeilge) Ciorcal Comhrá Samhraidh

June 23, 2011

Sorry, this entry is only available in Irish.

Martin addresses schools patron issue

June 20, 2011

Catholic Patronage of a school “does not on its own bring about a truly Catholic culture to a school”, the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Diarmuid Martin, has said. “The current discussion on changes in school patronage is not just about management or ethos or about numbers,” he said yesterday. “Catholic identity cannot be separated from the level of faith of the community within which the school belongs.”

His comments anticipate the Department of Education’s Forum on Patronage and Pluralism in the Primary Sector , which begins in Dublin on Wednesday and continues until lunchtime on Friday.

It will hear submissions from interested parties including three from Catholic church bodies – the Council for Education of the Irish Episcopal Conference, the Catholic Primary School Management Association and the Association of Trustees of Catholic Schools.

In a submission to the forum, the Catholic bishops have criticised as “very unhelpful” a suggestion by Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn that 50 per cent of primary schools under their control could be transferred to other patrons.

This suggested to those involved with Catholic schools that “they will be forced into change against their will”, the bishops said.

For his part, Dr Martin has noted that 90 per cent of Dublin primary schools were under his patronage, while the percentage population who actively wanted a Catholic education could be as low as 50 per cent.

At the commissioning of nine parish pastoral workers in Knocklyon, Dublin, yesterday, Dr Martin said: “For the church the discussion about schools today is not about the number of schools that may change patronage, but about the quality of the faith life of the Catholic school.”

Also taking part in this week’s forum will be representatives of the National Parents Council, the Church of Ireland, the Islamic Foundation of Ireland, Foras Pátrúnachta na Scoileanna Lán-Ghaeilge, the Gaelscoileanna, Educate Together, the INTO, the Irish Vocational Education Association, the National Association of Boards of Management in Special Education, the Irish Primary Principals’ Network and the Department of Education.

They will be questioned by a panel chaired by Prof John Coolahan.

Irish Times – Patsy McGarry
20 Meitheamh 2011

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