Text size

Rebel teachers could stall plan for new Junior Cert

September 23, 2013

PROTESTING second- level teachers may force Education Minister Ruairi Quinn to delay plans for a new- style Junior Cert next September.

A union ban on training for the new English syllabus, due to start in little over a month, is on the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) list of possible actions after it rejected the Haddington Road Agreement. It would strike at the heart of Mr Quinn’s reform agenda, causing maximum discomfort for the minister rather than for schools and students. The 17,000- member ASTI gave the green light for industrial action, up to and including a strike, as it voted against the pay and productivity deal. General secretary Pat King said they had had enough of being asked to do more with less. ASTI members, particularly younger teachers, face more painful changes in pay and conditions than members of the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) or the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO), both of which accepted the agreement.

Apart from lower starting pay and a permanent three-year delay on increments, those who have not signed up to the deal are vulnerable to other changes in conditions and redundancy. Action by ASTI would affect about two-thirds of the country’s 730 second-level schools. It is the only teachers’ union in voluntary secondary schools – those traditionally run by the religious – and shares representation with TUI in community and comprehensive schools. As the union leadership prepared for a meeting today to decide on its next step, Jobs Minister Richard Bruton reiterated that there would be no renegotiation of the deal.

“We are trying to make sure we can deliver at the front line. People have agreed to make changes and we are implementing them,” he said. The ASTI move has thrown the education community into turmoil. At the very least, it will cause serious administrative headaches for schools and for the Department of Education. Today’s meeting of the 23- member ASTI Standing Committee, whose role is to implement union policy, will decide on what action to take. It is likely to instruct members to stop co-operating with the extra 33 hours a year introduced in the Croke Park Agreement, with a view to minimising the impact of events such as school planning or parentteacher meetings on class time. That will force school managers to either bring such meetings into the normal school day, eating into tuition time and perhaps causing students to be sent home early, or cancel them. Mr King said that while withdrawing co-operation with the terms of the Croke Park Agreement would cause administrative headaches, “I hope it will not affect students”. Short of work stoppages, the ASTI list of possible actions includes withdrawing from initiatives such as the new-style Junior Cert, which is a particular bugbear for ASTI members. They oppose one of its key concepts – assessment by teachers of their own students in place of the traditional state exam.


Concern as gaelcholáiste cuts pupil intake

September 20, 2013

Children who want to be taught through Irish will have to be driven past a local school on Cork’s northside to others several miles away because of a one-third cut in intake, a councillor has claimed.

Gaelcholáiste Mhuire AG at the North Monastery is only admitting 58 pupils next September. This was announced in an enrolment policy published this week. The school accepted more than 80 first-year students in each of the last three or four years.

Education Minister Ruairi Quinn allowed the Edmund Rice School Trust (ERST) to replace the board with a temporary manager earlier this year after disagreement between trustees and the board, largely on whether to continue enrolling three first-year classes. The new policy says space is no longer available for three classes in Sept 2014.

Cllr Thomas Gould (SF) said temporary accommodation should be provided for the next year or two until capacity issues are resolved.

“The school is a victim of its own success, it’s a great school. But parents and children, and particularly those living locally, are hugely stressed about this. It will mean some having to go to Ballincollig, Glanmire, or the city centre to get the education in Irish that they want,” he said.

Mr Gould is a board member at nearby Gaelscoil Pheig Sayers, where he also has a child enrolled. It is one of the schools where he says pupils wanting to attend the gaelcholáiste in 2014 might not get in.

The number of students at Gaelcholáiste Mhuire has risen from 354 to 445 since 2010, but the new policy says the process to decide who will be offered places next year is fair and understandable.

ERST chief executive Gerry Bennett said the trust is satisfied that the manager consulted widely about the policy, which explains the rationale for the decisions, and the trust approved it last week.

Children with a brother or sister currently enrolled will get first priority on places next year, followed by siblings of past pupils, then children of staff. The next stage of the process will see places offered to applicants from two ERST boys’ primary schools — one at North Monastery and one in Blarney St — and two local girls’ convent schools.

Mr Gould believes fewer than 20 places will be left and even pupils in the next group of feeder schools could face a lottery at that stage. These schools are: Gaelscoil Pheig Sayers, and Scoil Iosagáin and Scoil Aiséirí Chríost, both in nearby Farranree and overlooking the gaelcholáiste.

The concern is that no places will be left for pupils at the next group: Sunday’s Well Boys and Sunday’s Well Girls national schools; Gaelscoil Ghoirt Álainn, Mayfield; Scoil Mhuire, Rathpeacon; Scoil Oilibhéir, Ballyvolane; and Scoil Padre Pio, Churchfield.

Sunday’s Well Boys NS principal Paddy Lynch expressed disappointment, as it has been a feeder school to the gaelcholáiste for 30 years, and sends an average of five pupils each year.

“To date, the children of our school had the right to be educated through the medium of the official language of the State. This proposed criteria denies them that basic right as well as changing the fabric of how education operates in the north of this city,” he said.


Language Planning Criteria announced

September 20, 2013

The Regulations prescribing the language planning criteria under section 12 of the Gaeltacht Act 2012 were announced by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht this week. These criteria will be used to evaluate language plans prepared for Gaeltacht Language Planning Areas, Gaeltacht Service Towns and Irish Language Networks.

Under the Gaeltacht Act 2012, the Gaeltacht was divided into 19 separate language planning regions, with the intention that a unique language plan would be drafted for each selected region. It was agreed at that time that a supervisory body would be named in each region to work alongside Údarás na Gaeltachta in implementing the language plan on the ground. In May of this year, it was announced that the language planning areas had been redefined, which meant an increase from 19 distinct areas to 26.

Announcing the new criteria, Minister of State, Dinny McGinley, T.D., said: “The publication of these criteria signifies another step forward in the language planning process. As a result of these Regulations, there is clarity regarding the criteria which will be used by my Department in the assessment of language plans prior to their approval. Based on this process, various areas may be designated as Gaeltacht Language Planning Areas, as Gaeltacht Service Towns or as Irish Language Networks, as appropriate, in accordance with the Gaeltacht Act.”

The bullet points below outline the next steps to be undertaken by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, in conjunction with Údarás na Gaeltachta and Foras na Gaeilge, to progress the language planning process:

  • The Department is preparing guidelines, in conjunction with Údarás na Gaeltachta and Foras na Gaeilge, which will set out a transparent process for the preparation, implementation and assessment of language plans in the areas, towns and networks. These guidelines will assist the community organisations undertaking the language planning process on the ground.
  • Údarás na Gaeltachta and Foras na Gaeilge are preparing a transparent system by which organisations will be chosen to prepare and implement language plans in the various areas.
  • The Department is preparing notices, in conjunction with Údarás na Gaeltachta, under section 7(3) of the Act which will define the various electoral divisions included in the 26 Gaeltacht Language Planning Areas.

The language planning criteria can be viewed by clicking the following link: Ionstraimí Reachtúla IR 357 de 2013 (Critéir Pleanála Teanga).pdf

Foilsithe ar Gaelport.com

History in schools

September 20, 2013

Sir, — Tom Collins (“Compulsory history, an anathema”, Education, September 18th) writes that “it is ironic that historians should find themselves arguing for compulsion, given the experience of compulsory Irish”.

It is not clear that Prof Collins has himself considered the experience of compulsory Irish quantitatively. The facts are that only geography and English had a higher number of students sitting higher level papers than sat the Irish paper in the Leaving Cert last June.

For a subject that is the target of all manner of negativity in this country for cultural reasons – often hidden behind the “I’d have really loved Irish if it wasn’t compulsory” argument – it is remarkable that almost 40 per cent of students sitting the exam chose higher level, when they were not compelled to do so.

Incidentally, while Irish is always the popular target when talking about compulsion, let us not forget either that 50,000 students sat maths in the Leaving Cert, while only 43,000 sat “compulsory” Irish. Compulsion ain’t what it used to be, it seems.

The relevance of history – even from a general knowledge perspective – as a central part of any educational system which purports to produce informed rounded citizens is self-evident.
It would be a shame if t he teaching of history were to fall victim to some specious political crusade to be seen to promote “choice”. In the average post-primary school, students find their choices extremely limited anyway, not least because of the constant cuts.

Had my daughter started post-primary school five years ago she could have studied two European languages but now because of cuts she can do only one in that school. In that context, talk of choice is risible.

This development is far more about creating the illusion of choice, as part of the Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn’s “reforming ” agenda, than creating actual choice, which would require more teachers teaching mo r e subjects. –

Yours, etc, Martin Ryan, Springlawn Close Blanchardstown, Dublin 15.


Irish language classes in Wexford

September 19, 2013

Irish language classes for adults are returning to Wexford for Autumn 2013 and spring 2014

There are different levels to available to suit all levels  Na Macallaí are also delighted to offer TEB B2 (Advanced Intermediate) again. Level B2 is recognised by the Department of Education and Skills as meeting the Irish Language entry requirements for Primary School Teacher Training Courses in the education colleges. This is a great opportunity for those who wish to pursue a career in the teaching profession, but who may not fulfil the Irish Language Entry requirements. This course is the equivalent of getting a C3 or higher in Gaeilge in the Leaving Certificate. The TEG syllabus and exams are structured different to the Leaving Certificate and are focused on the adult learner with the major emphasis on communicative Irish.

Registration date: 30/09/2013

Venue: Loch Garman @ An Tobar, Westgate Heritage Centre

Time: 7.30pm


Beginners (Level A1) €120

Advanced Beginners ( Level A2) €120

Intermediate (Level B1) €150

Advanced Intermediate (Level B2) €220

N.B Prices quoted above are for 12 weeks. A full course is 24 weeks in duration. B2 is 32 weeks in duration. For further information contact: oifig@lochgarman.ie 087 913 5271 www.lochgarman.ie

N.B A course will only be run where there is sufficient demand, 8-10 participants minimum

Irish oral preparation classes with Conradh na Gaeilge

September 19, 2013

Conradh na Gaeilge’s Leaving Certificate oral Irish preparation course will commence on Friday September 27.

Forty per cent of the Irish Leaving Cert exam is allocated to the oral examination. The course will cover every aspect of the oral examination and will provide the tools to gain confidence in the language. Classes will run each Friday for 10 weeks at Áras na nGael, 45 Dominick Street. Each class will last 1.5 hours, with two classes to choose from — 5pm or 6.30pm.
Early booking is advised, as there are limited spaces available. For more information contact Conradh na Gaeilge on 091 567824, conradh@bradan.iol.ie, or visit www.arasnangael.ie


Permission granted for Coláiste na Coiribe

September 19, 2013

There was great celebration this week with the news that planning permission has been granted by An Bord Pleanála for the new Coláiste na Coiribe all Irish secondary school in Knocknacarra.

The bord granted permission with 19 conditions – three of which specifically deal with local residents’ concerns, such as the erection of signage preventing through traffic, construction of a gate, and the development of a traffic plan – for the school, which is set to cater for 720 students The development has been welcomed by Independent city councillor Catherine Connolly, who described it as “fantastic news”, which sees the “residents fully vindicated” after a “very long battle”. Planning permission for the school was granted by the Galway City Council in April, but residents of Fána Burca believed their concerns about the proposed building were not taken on board and so appealed the decision to ABP. The residents sought the development of a traffic plan to prevent school traffic using Fána Burca as a through way and/or drop-off point.

They also wanted a gate on the pedestrian/cycle entrance from the estate to the new school. This gate, residents argued, could be open during the day to allow full pedestrian/cycle access and closed in the evening. Their concerns were supported by Cllr Connolly who was a member of both the City Vocational Education Committee and the board of management of Colaiste na Coiribe from 1999 to 2009 “This was a very difficult decision for both the residents and myself as I had fought every step of the way for the new school,” she said. Cllr Connolly also facilitated a meeting between city planners and Fána Burca residents. With planning permission now granted for the school and residents concerns met, Cllr Connolly said the next step is to ensure “the rapid construction” of Coláiste na Coiribea “in accordance with the conditions and a celebration on its opening”.


Slán le Foinse

September 19, 2013

Sorry, this entry is only available in Irish.

Eagraíocht Gaeltachta i mbaol

September 19, 2013

Sorry, this entry is only available in Irish.

Ranganna pianó trí mheán na Gaeilge

September 18, 2013

Sorry, this entry is only available in Irish.

« Previous PageNext Page »