Text size

Threat to the future of Choláiste Chineál Eoghain, Buncrana

April 30, 2013

Concern has been expressed by GAELSCOILEANNA TEO., Co. Donegal VEC and Coláiste Chineál Eoghain in Buncrana following communication from the Department of Education and Skills that puts the future of the school in doubt. The Department have given notice that the temporary recognition granted to the school, which opened in 2007, is to be rescinded because of low enrolment figures. The Department has outlined 3 options for the school, namely; that it will close on a phased basis, that it will convert to an Aonad (an Irish-medium unit) under the management of a local English-medium school or that the present students would have the option to attend Coláiste Ailigh in Letterkenny, more than 30km from Buncrana.

There are 34 students currently receiving education through the medium of Irish in Coláiste Chineál Eoghain, and a further 17 registered to attend the school in September 2013. It would be a severe blow to them if the school were to lose its status and they were to be denied Irish-medium education as a result. These students and their parents chose Irish-medium education on the understanding that they would be allowed to continue to Leaving Certificate level while immersed in the Irish language. The rights and wishes of these students will be denied if the Department rescind the school’s recognition.

Despite the low enrolment figures in the school at present, there is increasing demand for Irish-medium education at primary level in the area, with pupil numbers increasing in Gaelscoil Bhun Cranncha. It is vital that Coláiste Chineál Eoghain be given time to develop a positive influence on the local gaelscoil to ensure a good transfer rate between the two schools. There is a worry that a decision against the future of Coláiste Chineál Eoghain would have a negative influence on the primary school if the students are not given the opportunity to progress to Irish-medium education at post-primary level. Coláiste Chineál Eoghain caters not only for these students but also for students who travel from Derry for Irish-medium education. This gives the Department and the Government an opportunity to foster cross-border cooperation as per their obligations under the Good Friday Agreement and to cater for a wide school community. There would be too great a risk to the future of the school if it were converted to an Aonad, and a danger that enrolments would drop even further as a result.

“There is an urgent need to protect the status of Coláiste Chineál Eoghain and to give the school every opportunity to grow and develop” said Bláthnaid ní Ghréacháin, CEO of GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. “We recognise the importance of ensuring the viability of schools and the effective use of State resources in the provision of education, but this decision is premature. The Inishowen community have demonstrated a dedication to Irish-medium education and it would be disastrous to put an end to an institution at the very heart of that community. The closure of this school would go against every promise made by the State to support Irish-medium education in the 20 Year Strategy for the Irish Language. We ask that the Department allow the school more time to raise awareness and promote Irish-medium education in the community so that they might achieve viable enrolment figures.”

Co. Donegal VEC have appealed the Department’s decision on behalf of the school and sought an extension of the school’s temporary recognition. The outcome of this appeal is to be announced shortly and it is hoped that the Department will acknowledge the community’s needs and express wish that an Irish-medium post-primary school be available to the students of Inishowen.

Further information:
Bláthnaid ní Ghréacháin, CEO, GAELSCOILEANNA TEO.
bláthnaid@gaelscoileanna.ie | 01 8535195

Editor’s note:
GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. is the coordinating body for Irish-medium schools. It provides motivation, assistance and practical support to parents and local communities who wish to found new schools and it operates to support the schools that are already established.

NCCA seeks feedback on Leaving Cert Oral Exam

April 30, 2013

The National Council on Curriculum and Assessment has published a survey on the higher and ordinary level Leaving Cert oral exam.

The survey is aimed at Leaving Cert students who have recently completed the exam and asks them to share opinions in Irish or in English about their personal experience.

The Leaving Cert oral exam has seen significant changes recently with 40% of the overall marks being designated to the spoken language.

The NCCA would like to gather feedback from students in order to look at the best ways to learn Irish in secondary school.

The survey, which only takes 10 minutes, can be found by clicking the following link https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/P2DRFYM.

Foilsithe ar Gaelport.com

New Council announced for Raidió na Gaeltachta

April 29, 2013

It was announced today that a new council has been selected for RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta which will be chaired by Lorcán Uí Chinnéide.

The council, which will function for a three year period, will advise the Bord of RTÉ on Raidió na Gaeltachta’s broadcasting policy. The first meeting will take place in May.

The Council is made up of the following members:

Antaine Ó Donnaile from Armagh, former manager and television producer with BBC Northern Ireland.

Dónal Ó Gallchóir, a Donegal Gaeltacht native, former garda in Mayo.

Adrian Breathnach, primary school principal and Director of Gael Taca in Cork.

Máire Seosaimhín Breathnach from An Rinn, Co. Waterford, Irish language officer with Waterford County Council.

Alan Mac Maoldúin, Communications Manager with Cumann Lúthchleas Gael and former member of the council.

Máire Nic Gairbhe, Principal of Gaelscoil Adhamhnáin in Letterkenny, Donegal.

Peadar Mac an Iomaire, Former-Chief Executive of Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge and community worker in Connemara.

Sibéal Davitt, dancer and filmmaker from Dublin.

Siobhán Seoighe from Ráth Cairn, executive with An Foras Patrúnachta.

Chairman of the council, Lorcán Ó Cinnéide, is originally from Corca Dhuibhne, Co Kerry and is a former Chief Executive of the Irish Fish Producers Organisation. He has already served a period of time as a member of the council.

Foilsithe ar Gaelport.com

Spriocdhátaí Chomórtais Bhliain na Gaeilge ag druidim

April 25, 2013

Picnic Mhór an tSamhraidh – Comhluadar

April 25, 2013

Traenáil “Tús Áite do Leanaí”

April 25, 2013

Principals’ group calls for CAO system for primary schools

April 24, 2013

A Central Applications Office-style process for primary school places could be used to regulate enrolment practice, the professional body for primary school leaders has said.

In a submission to the Department of Education the Irish Primary Principals Network (IPPN) called for a “clearly defined, legally robust national enrolment policy, with a standardised basis for admission to all schools”.

The call comes as Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn prepares to publish draft legisl at i on aimed at regulating school enrolment policies.

Rank schools

The group has called for a web-based system that would allow parents to rank schools in order of preference in a method similar to the CAO application process for college, with clusters of schools defining their catchment areas and co-operating on shared enrolment practice.

The body has called for one annual date for applications by parents and another for a response from schools.

Seán Cottrell of the IPPN said some schools give preference to children based on historical family links, academic or sporting achievements, how early they joined the queue, or whether their parents could afford the advance deposit.

Waiting lists

He said that any new system should prohibit multi-annual waiting lists, booking deposits and aptitude screenings.

“Schools are funded based on the number of children enrolled. IPPN believes that extra weighted capitation values should be applied to Traveller children, new Irish children, children from designated disadvantaged areas, and children with special education needs under the new national enrolment policy.”

Eileen Flynn of the Catholic Primary Schools Management Association has rejected the proposal, saying there was a risk of the system becoming “overly-bureaucratic”.

“It is important that the system does not become overly-bureaucratic in trying to resolve an issue for a relatively small number of schools.”

Foilsithe ar 24 Aibreán 2013

The Irish Times – Louise Holden

Deiseanna Fostaíochta san AE

April 24, 2013

BEIDH cúrsaí fostaíochta san Aontas Eorpach á bplé ag painéal d’ard aoichainteoirí i mBaile Átha Cliath ar an Aoine, 26 Aibreán.

I measc na gcainteoirí ar an lá, beidh Lucinda Creighton TD; Colmcille Ó Monacháin, Ceann Aonad na Gaeilge, An Coimisiún Eorpach; Seán Hade, Ceann Aonad na Gaeilge; Séamus Howard, Dlí-theangeolaí le Comhairle an Aontais Eorpaigh agus Dáithí Mac Cárthaigh BL, Comhordaitheoir Dlí agus Gaeilge.

Cuirfear tús leis an seimineár ag 4.00pm sa léachtlann thuas staighre in Óstaí an Rí, Sráid Henrietta, agus leanfaidh an plé ar dheiseanna fostaíochta go dtí 6.00pm.

Foilsithe ar 24 Aibreán 2013

Foinse – Nuacht an hEarnála le Gaelport.com

Children could face CAO-style admission to schools

April 24, 2013

Primary principals want radical shake-up of entry procedures

PARENTS of up to 120,000 children a year would have to fill out CAO-style forms to secure primary and secondlevel school places under a plan put forward by principals.

In a dramatic shake-up proposed for the schools admission system, parents would rank their school choices in a centralised application system – similar to the one used for college entry.

Primary principals want the CAOstyle scheme at both primary and second-level, with parents listing schools in a particular catchment area in order of preference.

Under the proposal, where a particular school could not cope with the demand, places would be allocated on the basis of a lottery.

The scheme, proposed by the Irish Primary Principals’ Network (IPPN), would be operated by a centralised agency. The IPPN’s proposal is a response to moves by Education Minister Ruairi Quinn to bring in a law to shake up school enrolment rules.

About 80pc of schools can accommodate all applicants but the rest apply selective admissions policies, which are now being targeted by the minister.

Mr Quinn plans to ban or restrict certain practices, such as giving preference to children based on the fact their mother, father, or another relative was a past pupil.

Mr Quinn wants to end the days of some schools “cherry-picking” pupils on the basis of brains or breeding, while others take more than their fair share of children with special educational needs.

The IPPN supports Mr Quinn’s plan and, as an additional measure, suggested the CAO-style common enrolment application form, with clusters of schools in defined catchment areas co-operating on shared enrolment practices. IPPN director Sean Cottrell said the school enrolment policy system, mainly at second level, was uneven.

He said a fairer and more transparent enrolment process would relieve stress on many parents.

Mr Cottrell said the system they were proposing would be web- based, with one annual date for applications by parents and another for a response from schools.

“Then, parents could get their first, second or third choice, depending on supply and demand factors,” he said.


The primary principals’ organisation is now seeking a meeting with the Department of Education to discuss its plan.

The department did not comment on the IPPN proposal, but said Mr Quinn would be reflecting carefully on the views expressed in the consultation process that will follow the publication of his draft legislation.

The IPPN proposal drew a mixed reaction elsewhere in education circles. Ferdia Kelly of the Joint Managerial Body (JMB) representing secondary schools, traditionally run by the religious, said such a system could be too complicated.

He pointed out that only 20pc of schools were oversubscribed.  Mr Kelly said that what they favoured was a common enrolment timeline, where all schools in an area shared the same enrolment date, which would put the onus on parents to make a firm commitment.

However, Michael Moriarty, general secretary of the Irish Vocational Education Association (IVEA), which has schools both in the second-level and primary sector, said he supported a system based on schools working together in clusters, with parents listing their preferences.

Other changes planned by the minister include a ban on first-come, first served admissions policies because they discriminate against people who have recently moved to an area.

He also proposes to ban “booking deposits” and to put restrictions on a requirement for children and their parents to attend compulsory open days or be interviewed.


Foilsithe ar 24 Aibreán 2013

Irish Independent – Katherine Donnelly

Department of Education and Skills revokes Irish language services

April 23, 2013

A “giant leap backwards” is how the umbrella body for the Irish language voluntary sector, Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge has described the new language scheme which came into effect yesterday at the Department of Education and Skills.

The language schemes agreed with public bodies are an integral part of the Official Languages Act 2003. Under Article 11 of that Act, public bodies agree language schemes with the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht which detail the services which the public body propose to provide.

Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge has expressed concern over the lack of progression in ratifying new schemes under the current system, which An Chomhdháil believes is a demonstration of a reluctance from the state to provide Irish language services.

The first language scheme came into effect in The Department of Education and Skills in 2005. This three year scheme detailed the services which would be available from the Department to the public through Irish. Having expired in 2008, there was a five year wait before the second scheme would be ratified with the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. “Not only does the second scheme not build on commitments of the first scheme, but many of the previous commitments have now been revoked,” said Kevin De Barra, Director of Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge.

Press Releases
Prior to 2005, the Department of Education and Skills generally issued pressreleases only in English. With the ratification of the first language scheme, the Department committed to issuing pressreleases bilingually in both Irish and English when announcing new schemes or policy changes. The new scheme effected yesterday stipulates that Irish language press releases might not be issued simultaneously with their English versions from now on. De Barra contends that “due to the time sensitive nature of pressreleases it makes no sense to issue an Irish version a week after the English version. While this might tick a box for the Department, this approach would ultimately be a waste of resources as it would provide little benefit to the public”.

Telephone Services
In 2005, the Department of Education and Skills set out in their first scheme to provide a dedicated telephone number to deal with queries from the public through Irish. The second scheme rescinds this commitment by stating that the on-going provision of this service is dependent on the availability of staff who can provide the service in Irish. In practical terms, adding such a caveat will now mean that telephone services are being provided in a conditional or limited fashion, and therefore it will not be clear to the public what service they are entitled to receive from the Department through Irish.

In relation to services to teachers the new scheme states that a one-to-one telephone service through Irish is and will continue to be available from the Teacher Education Section, ‘subject to relevant personnel being available’.

Administrative Services
Under the first language scheme, a one-to-one administration service was provided through Irish by certain units within the Department of Education and Skills, namely the Teacher Education Section and the Statistics Unit. While the commitments regarding Irish language services provided by the Teacher Education Section are upheld in the second scheme, albeit under a new title, there is no mention of the continuance of Irish language services provided by the Statistics Unit throughout the first scheme.

In their second language scheme, The Department of Education and Skills states that through the Public Appointments Service inspectors will be appointed at the recruitment grade level to continue and enhance the delivery of service through Irish. Civil servants currently within the Department of Education and Skills or those transferring from other departments will be awarded extra marks in internal promotion competitions within the Department based on a competency in Irish. While competency in Irish will therefore remain a desirable criterion for posts, it will not be a requirement.

The second language scheme refers to a survey carried out among the current administration team within the Department of Education and Skills in which less than 1.5% claimed to be competent in Irish.

Escape Clause
The Department’s second language scheme places a strong emphasis on current financial restrictions and challenges regarding human resources within the civil service. Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge believes the Department of Education and Skills is seeking to use the current economic climate as an escape clause regarding the commitments given in the first language scheme which will prove extremely detrimental to Irish language services provided by the State should other public bodies follow suit.

Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge will be raising this issue with the Department of Education and Skills and also with the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, the body who ratified this language scheme.

Foilsithe ar Gaelport.com

Next Page »