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High failure rate in maths and science mark Leaving results

August 17, 2011

HIGH FAILURE rates in maths and science – and relatively poor results in business subjects – are the most striking trends in this year’s Leaving Cert results.

The results also highlight the two-tier nature of Irish education. While ordinary level students registered high failure rates, higher level students achieved record results, raising renewed fears about grade inflation.

The percentage of students gaining an A, B or C at higher level is at its highest ever level (77 per cent) and up from 64 per cent in 1992. Some 43 per cent of students scored an A or B at higher level, up from 27 per cent in 1992.

The increase in grades will raise renewed questions about the nature of the Leaving Cert examinations. The most recent ranking from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development showed an alarming slippage in Irish literacy and numeracy levels – but this trend is not reflected in exam results published yesterday.

In a now familiar trend, 10 per cent of students failed maths at ordinary level. Overall, 4,367 students failed maths across all levels, making them ineligible for many third-level courses. Results were marginally better among the 1,900 students who took the new “user-friendly’’ Project Maths course in 24 schools. But the Government will be disappointed by the poor take-up for higher level maths in these schools. Only 16 per cent took the subject at higher level, the same number who took the mainstream exam.

Failure rates were also high in physics (8 per cent), chemistry (9 per cent ) and biology (8 per cent). Business (7 per cent) and accounting (6 per cent) were also among the minority of higher level subjects with relatively high failure rates.

Among high achievers, 10 students achieved nine A1s, while 141 students secured the so-called “perfect” Leaving, with six A1s or 600 points.

Other features of this year’s results include:

* Only 70 per cent of higher level students secured an A, B or C in biology, one of the lowest honours rates for any higher level subject;

* The number of students taking Irish in the exam (44,300) is down over 1,200 since 2009; it is now at record low levels. While the subject is compulsory, increasing numbers are gaining exemptions or not showing for the exam;

* The honours rate (those gaining A, B or C at higher level) remains very high in Art (82 per cent) and music (94 per cent).

Last night, the American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland, which represents more than 600 US companies in Ireland, criticised the absence of “discernable improvements” in science subjects.

Irish Times

Trí Ghaelcholáiste nua ar an bhealach

August 15, 2011

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New classes in Carndonagh with Spraoi agus Sport

August 15, 2011

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Saol na hOllscoile-trí Ghaeilge

August 12, 2011

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Trí Ghaelcholáiste nua ag teacht

August 10, 2011

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An dátheangachas i bpobail mhionteanga á scrúdú i leabhar nua

August 10, 2011

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Language Campaign group ‘delighted’ with announcement on Irish language new school

August 9, 2011

A campaign group which has been calling for the establishment of a new Irish language secondary school in South Dublin has enthusiastically welcomed an announcement from the Department of Education that such a school will open in the Dundrum area in 2014.

Speaking on Wednesday Lúgh Ó Braonáin, secretary of Bunchoiste Gaelcholáiste Dheisceart Átha Cliath praised the role of Gaelscoileanna Teo. And Co Dublin VEC, in the campaign: ‘The staff at Gaelscoileanna have been of huge support to us providing much needed practical support encouraging throughout the process. The VEC has also given us great support and if they are confirmed as patron for the new school we know that their expertise and experience will ensure that the new school will provide a first class education to its pupils.’

The campaign group for Gaelcholáiste Dheisceart Átha Cliath, which is made up of parents from the six local Primary level Gaelscoileanna with support from local politicians and educators, has long noted that there has been a doubling of pupil numbers attending the local Irish language primary schools with no attendant increase in Second level Irish Language school places. With the support of their proposed patron body, County Dublin VEC, the campaign group has sought the establishment of an Irish language, multi-denominational, mixed gender community based school, in a suitable premises which has been identified in the Dundrum area.

On Tuesday, August 3rd, after more than 5 years of campaigning, Gaelcholáiste Dheisceart Átha Cliath received notification form the Department of Education and Skills that such a school will be opened in Dundrum County Dublin in 2014. While the patronage of the school is yet to be determined, the campaigning group are confident that the County Dublin VEC will be identified as the most suitable patron body seeing as it has fully supported the proposed Gaelcholáiste and that it has experience in setting up similar schools in recent years elsewhere in Dublin.
Fergal Ó Riain, the committee’s chairman said: ‘I’m delighted that the Department has recognised the pressing need for additional Irish language second level school places in the Dundrum region. The committee of Galecholáiste Dheisceart Átha Cliath have been campaigning for such a school since 2005 and have received the support of hundreds of local families and students as well as support from local and national politicians over this time. Other Irish language schools in the city and county have also been extremely supportive, as has our patron body, County Dublin VEC. We’re grateful to all of our supporters and look forward to the day when the new school will open its doors to students who have, until now, had no prospect other than to continue their education through the medium of English despite spending their primary school years in an Irish language environment. The provision of the new school will offer genuine choice and will, I’m sure, serve the needs of the community well into the future.’

Another triumph for Irish-medium schools but Aitheantas wants to do more

August 8, 2011

The Aitheantas campaign welcomes the announcement by the Department of Education and Skills that at least three of the 14 new post-primary schools to open within the next three years will be designated as Irish-medium Gaelcholáistí in Dublin and Cork, and wants to ensure that Coláiste Ghlór na Mara in Balbriggan is numbered among the all-Irish secondary schools.

Owing to a dearth of new all-Irish schools opening in recent years, Irish organisations Comhluadar, Conradh na Gaeilge, Foras Pátrúnachta na Scoileanna Lán-Ghaeilge and Glór na nGael joined forces to form the Aitheantas campaign to redress the situation, and in particular to support the parents of Gaelscoil Ráth Tó in Ratoath, Co. Meath when their request for recognition for the all-Irish primary school was refused in 2010.

Foras Pátrúnachta na Scoileanna Lán-Ghaeilge has been very active in the Aitheantas campaign since its formation and An Foras Pátrúnachta is the patron for Coláiste Ghlór na Mara in Balbriggan, Co. Dublin, as well as for other primary and secondary schools. A founding committee has also been working to gain recognition for Coláiste Ghlór na Mara over the last five years, and an official request to recognise the secondary school was lodged with the Department of Education and Skills two years ago.

Patrons for the new secondary schools have yet to be decided by the Department of Education and Skills but Caoimhín Ó hEaghra, General Secretary of Foras Pátrúnachta na Scoileanna LánGhaeilge, is encouraged by the fact that the Gaelcholáiste in Balbriggan has both a patron and a development plan: “An Foras Pátrúnachta welcomes the good news that parents in Dublin and Cork looking for an all-Irish second level education for their children will have their needs met, and we hope that Coláiste Ghlór na Mara will be recognised owing to the fact that there is a long-term development plan in place and widespread support for Irish-medium education in north Dublin. There will be no trouble filling places in Balbriggan’s Gaelcholáiste!”

Feargal Ó Cuilinn, Director of Comhluadar says: “The Irish-medium education movement is widely recognised as one of the most successful and important factors in the promotion of Irish in the community in the last 20 years and as such, the announcement by the Department of Education and Skills that three all-Irish secondary schools will open between now and 2014 is great news for the language in general. Aitheantas hopes that this is a sign of the Government’s long-term commitment to meet the needs of parents looking for Irish-medium second level education for their children, and that other Gaelcholáistí across the country will gain recognition in coming years as well.”

Aitheantas is also calling on the Department of Education and Skills to include the provision of Irish-medium education in the criteria used when selecting areas for all types of new schools in future, primary and secondary schools alike, to ensure that the national demand for all-Irish education is catered for.

Published on Gaelport.com 08 Lúnasa 2011

14 second-level schools scheduled to open by 2014

August 5, 2011

MORE than a dozen new second-level schools will begin classes for the first time in 2013 and 2014, mostly in the greater Dublin region.

The first will open next month in Gorey, Co Wexford, with Co Wexford VEC as patron, and Co Galway VEC will be patron to a second level school opening in Doughiska in 2013.

The Department of Education has now written to prospective patron bodies seeking applications to set up schools in 14 areas, with 1,000-student schools needed for 2013 in Claregalway, Co Galway; Lusk, Co Dublin; Naas, Co Kildare; and Navan, Co Meath.

A year later, schools for up to 1,000 pupils will open in Ashbourne, Co Meath; Drogheda and Dundalk, Co Louth; Maynooth, Co Kildare; west Blanchardstown, Balbriggan (an all-Irish gaelcholáiste); and Mulhuddart in Dublin. A school to cater for up to 750 students in Greystones, Co Wicklow, will also be needed for September 2014, as will two 500-place all-Irish second level schools in Dundrum on Dublin’s southside and for the Carrigaline area south of Cork city.

The department announced arrangements to select patrons for new second-level schools in June and groups or individuals who want to be patrons to these new schools must apply by mid-November.

Educate Together, which is patron to more than 50 multi-denominational primary schools, said having a standard, transparent process to decide their patronage is good news for parents campaigning for second-level Educate Together schools.

“It is especially positive that this process will take parental demand and the need for different types of schools into account,” said head of education and network development, Emer Nowlan.

Education Minister Ruairi Quinn granted recognition to Educate Together to become a second-level patron earlier this year.

This appeared in the printed version of the Irish Examiner Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Three new Gaelcholáistí promised, but demand is there for more!

August 4, 2011

GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. welcomes the announcement by the Department of Education and Skills that 14 new post-primary schools, at least 3 of which have been earmarked as gaelcholáistí, are to open in the next 3 years. The Department confirmed that the new post-primary schools in Dundrum, Balbriggan and Carrigaline will be Irish-medium schools, though the schools’ patrons have yet to be decided.

“It gives us great hope to hear that there will be gaelcholáistí opening in these areas. The local communities have been campaigning for years for Irish-medium education for their children and we’re both delighted and relieved that the Department of Education have recognised this demand” said Bláthnaid ní Ghréacháin, CEO for GAELSCOILEANNA TEO.

Although the announcement that 3 new gaelcholáistí are to open is a great boost Irish-medium education, there are worries that the demand for gaelcholáistí in Maynooth and Drogheda, two areas also identified by the Department as needing new schools in 2014, will not be recognised. Maynooth has had a founding committee campaigning for an Irish-medium post-primary school since 2005, and Drogheda has had a committee working to establish an Irish-medium school since 2009. Both campaigns have large numbers of students pre-enrolled and have gotten widespread support from their communities. GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. is asking the Department to take these campaigns into account when making decisions on the language ethos and patronage of these new schools.

The Department of Education have also indicated that there will be changes to how the ethos of any new school will be determined. From now on, the Department will make the initial decision as to whether the language of the school will be Irish or English before a patron is chosen for the school. It is not yet clear what process or criteria will be used by the Department to make this decision. GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. is asking that it be made in consultation with the educational partners and that the campaigns of founding committees and the provision of Irish-medium education be taken into account when any new school is being established. In addition to the areas mentioned previously, there are campaigns all around the country to establish new Irish-medium post-primary schools in areas that have not been identified by the Department as areas of rapid growth, but that nonetheless do not have any Irish-medium provision at post-primary level available. The Department needs to recognise the demand that exists in these areas and to support Irish-medium education in accordance with the guarantees made in the Government’s 20 Year Strategy for the Irish Language. GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. believes that every child has a right to access Irish-medium education, and we will continue to support the founding committees working to achieve this.

The other areas in which new post-primary schools are to open in 2013 are as follows: Lusk, Co. Dublin, Claregalway, Co. Galway, Naas, Co. Kildare and Navan, Co. Meath. In addition, 10 new schools are due to open in 2014, in Blanchardstown, Mulhuddart Dundrum and Balbriggan, Co. Dublin, Greystones, Co. Wicklow, Carrigaline, Co. Cork, Maynooth, Co. Kildare, Ashbourne, Co. Meath and Drogheda and Dundalk, Co. Louth.

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