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Eagarthóirí Taighde – Fiontar

November 27, 2013

Sorry, this entry is only available in Irish.

More schools send all pupils to third level education

November 27, 2013

Fee-paying schools claim majority of places that have a high entry-point requirement

Non fee-paying schools dominate the 2013 league tables for sending students into third-level education, accounting for three-quarters of the top 100 schools. However students from fee-paying schools and Gaelscoileanna claim the vast majority of places that have a high entry-point requirement. These students capture most of the places in teacher-training, medicine, dentistry and law, according to The Irish Times Feeder Schools list published today. Broadly, there is little difference between the performance of fee-paying and State schools in the overall feeder list, which shows how many students each school sends to each third-level institution.

However, once again, the list of schools which send students to high points courses in the universities, teacher-training colleges, DIT and the Royal College of Surgeons, is almost entirely dominated by fee-paying schools. Here, the top nine schools are all fee-paying: eight of these are in south Dublin while one, Glenstal Abbey, is a boys boarding school in Limerick with day fees of just over €10,000. The 10th place on this list is taken by Coláiste Íosagáin, a girls Gaelcholáiste in Stillorgan, south Co Dublin. Seven of the remaining top 20 schools on this list are also fee-paying. This is a consistent annual pattern in the lists and suggests that the highest-earning professions – including business and finance and some science careers – have a higher proportion of people who attended a private school.

The numbers of schools that effectively send all of their students into third level has continued to climb in 2013 with almost one in seven schools achieving this. There were 97 schools in this top group. The figures also show, however, that little has changed in terms of access to higher education, with children in well-off neighbourhoods much more likely to attend third level than those in less advantaged areas. There are 17 schools in the top 100 in south Dublin – 14 of them fee-paying – while north Dublin boasts only two, Castleknock College and Ard Scoil Rís.

Attendance at a grind school does not seem to guarantee a third level place, the figures show. Only one, Ashfield College, Templeogue, Dublin, was among the top schools with all students attending third level. The league tables also highlight the importance of having an institute of higher education nearby as a way to increase student access and participation. Students are much more likely to attend college if there is a local third-level institute.

Data for these tables comes from the publicly funded third- level institutions and the State Examinations Commission.


Assessing school league tables

November 27, 2013

Sir, – Gráinne Faller (“Parents need transparent information on schools”, Opinion, November 27th), declared there should be a debate on school performance tables.

Just over a fortnight ago, the Chief Inspector’s Report 2010-2012 was published. It contains an analysis of all 2,378 inspections which took place in second-level schools during this period, including surveys of 29,000 students and 20,000 parents. School inspection reports, which are available to the public online, contain factual information on the performance of each school across domains such as the quality of school management, the quality of supports for students and the quality of teaching and learning in subjects. In other words, contrary to Gráinne Faller’s claim that parents do not have easy access to information on schools, these reports answer key questions such as: Is the school well run? Are there good student support structures? Are the subjects taught in a manner consistent with improving educational outcomes for students?

League tables are based on a narrow and distorted view of second-level education, ie that it is all about exam results and CAO points. League tables tell us very little about schools because they ignore the multi-faceted work they do. League tables do not consider that each school and student is unique. They fail to see merit in the fact that schools set and meet goals based on the individual needs of their students. League tables dismiss the challenges faced a nd of ten overcome by s t udents and t eachers in every school in the country. The real debate in education is not about league tables, it is about what we want as a society and how schools can work to help us achieve that. At present only 55 per cent of second-level students in Ireland transfer to higher education. Despite the ongoing publication of feeder-school league tables, second-level schools continue to operate on the premise that their mission is to assist all students to achieve their potential as young people and as citizens.
However, if the message is that league tables matter more, all young people, and indeed all of society, will come to suffer.
– Yours, etc, PAT KING, ASTI General Secretary, Winetavern Street, Dublin 8.

Sir, – Can I deduce from the school “league tables” (2013 School League Tables supplement, November 26th) that if the pupils from schools where a minority proceed to third-level education were transferred to fee-paying schools or Gaelscoileanna that virtually all of these pupils would then all go on to third-level and capture many o f the places on high points entry courses? – Yours, etc, JOSEPH MACKEY, Kilkenny West, Glasson, Athlone, Co Westmeath.

Sir, – I refer to your publication of feeder tables to Irish institutions of higher education and to Gráinne Faller’s article on the measurement of schools’ academic performance (Opinion, November 27th).
At St Columba’s College, we have long championed the rights of parents to have a s much information as possible regarding the school’s performance in public examinations and this is why we always publish an average points score per candidate in the annual Leaving Certificate. This information is promulgated on the college website together with information about results against national averages. I know of no other school in Ireland which is so open about its results, but would certainly welcome similar openness from other institutions. In 2013, St Columba’s had an average CAO points score of 466 per candidate across all papers taken at all levels. Over the past five years, it has had an average score of more than 450 points per candidate. Regrettably, however, this outstanding achievement is not recognised in your tables because, by your own admission, the information you have at your disposal is limited. It is time there was much more transparency for parents – and the wider public – in the information given out by schools in Ireland. – Yours, etc, Dr LJ HASLETT, Warden, St Columba’s College, Dublin 16.

A chara, – It is always an interesting set of data, but one wonders whether the use of the “per cent progression” figure is in any way reflective of how particular schools are performing in the year in question. The sample population that would be most instructive as to how well our schools and students are doing, is surely the performance of that year’s Leaving Cert cohort. The “per cent progression” number includes a school’s students who are repeating first year in university as well as mature students. This skews the school performance data potentially significantly given that only 71 per cent of this year’s college registrations sat the Leaving Cert in 2013. Therefore, though perhaps unlikely, it i s possible for a school whose alumni had statistically significantly high failure rates in their first year exams and elect to repeat the year, to appear higher on the league list than a school where every one of its Leaving Cert 2013 students progressed to university. This surely suggests the data as presented should be interpreted with care. The data source is not something The Irish Times can control, but I am sure most who scour these league tables would rather a “pure” dataset, based solely on analysis of those who sat the current year’s Leaving Cert. That would allow us develop real indicators of how our secondary schools and our students are performing over time. – Is mise, DES O’SULLIVAN, Springfort, Montenotte, Cork.

A chara, – It is ironic that on the day you publish dubious “league tables”, Dan Flinter’s appointment as chair of The Irish Times Ltd should be announced (Home News, November 26th). A very wise appointment. Dan Flinter went to the same school as myself, CBS Athy. Out of perhaps 25 Leavi ng Cert graduates in the three years during which Dan Flinter graduated, one became editor of a national newspaper, another a university vice president, a third an enormously successful business consultant in the US, etc. And not a fee in sight! And there was me! – Yours, etc, BRENDAN RYAN, Senator 1981-92, 1997-07, CBS Athy 1964, The Orchards, Montenotte, Cork.


Scaradh na gcompánach

November 27, 2013

Sorry, this entry is only available in Irish.

Congratulations to the Irish-medium schools names in the Irish Times School League Tables

November 27, 2013

Gaelscoileanna Teo. would like to congratulate the Irish-medium schools named in the Irish Times School League Tables. Irish-medium schools at primary and post-primary level provide an excellent standard of education and their reputation is growing alongside demand for gaeloideachas. Further information on the School League Tables is available to read here.

New funding model discussed at NSMC meeting

November 26, 2013

A meeting of the North South ministerial Council (NSCM) took place in Armagh on 20 November 2013.

Earlier this week Gaelport.com reported that the shortlist for the new funding model had been chosen by Foras na Gaeilge.

Shortlisted organisations will have until 6 December to submit a comprehensive report as part of the second stage of the application process. Submissions will be evaluated and an interview process with the chairs and heads of the organisations will take place between 6 and 10 January 2014.

The progress made by Foras na Gaeilge in the development of the new funding model between July-November 2013 was noted at the meeting. A progress report provided by Foras na Gaeilge described “Ongoing measures for implementation of the new core funding arrangements, including seeking expressions of interest from qualifying organisations wishing to be considered for selection as a lead organisation”.

Foras na Gaeilge recently announced that the appointment of a Consultant in Change Management would be delayed until January 2014.

In a letter sent to NSMC ministers prior to this week’s meeting, members of An Fóram, (a group which comprises 80% of those organisations currently core-funded by Foras na Gaeilge), requested that the current process be extended due to this delay.

A decision regarding the 6 lead-organisations will be made at a meeting of the Board of Foras na Gaeilge on 17 January 2014.

Glacfar cinneadh i leith na 6 cheanneagraíocht ag cruinniú de Bhord Fhoras na Gaeilge ar 17 Eanáir 2014.

©Foilsithe ar Gaelport.com 21 Samhain 2013


Opposition criticises Government Committee on the Irish Language

November 26, 2013

Two meetings held by Government committee on Irish language and Gaeltacht affairs in the past year

The Government committee which is chaired by an Taoiseach was heavily criticised in the Dail this week during a discussion regarding the 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language.

While answering questions from Micheál Martin TD (Fianna Fail), Gerry Adams TD (Sinn Féin) and Joe Higgins TD (Socialist Party), an Taoiseach Enda Kenny informed the House that the committee, which was established to monitor the implementation of the Strategy, held only two meetings throughout the past year.

The strategy was launched in 2010 with the aim of increasing the number of daily Irish language speakers from its current figure of 83,000 people to 250,000 people in the next 20 years. Nine distinct areas for proposed initiatives are set out in the Strategy, as well as goals for each area including Education, An Ghaeltacht, Early Immersion, Public and Community Services, Technology and the Media, Legislation and language status.

The Irish language community expressed their disappointment with its implementation in July of this year when the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht published a Strategy progress report. Since that report, the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has announced funding to Eagraíocht na Scoileanna Gaeltachta Teo. will come to an end in December of this year and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform announced the removal of the points system from the civil service which awarded extra points to those who completed recruitment examinations through Irish.

An Taoiseach informed the Dáil that €500,000 had been allocated for the implementation of the Strategy in October’s budget and that Minister of State for the Gaeltacht Dinny McGinley is visiting various Gaeltacht regions on a weekly basis to ensure the implementation of Government policy.

The Government’s latest proposals and cuts where criticised by the Opposition as well as the changes to the appointment of the members of Údarás na Gaeltachta under Acht na Gaeltachta 2012 and the recent report published by the Chief Inspector which highlights major flaws in the learning and teaching of Irish in the education system.

©Foilsithe ar Gaelport.com 22 Samhain 2013


The derogation of Irish in the EU

November 26, 2013

Call for Government Committee on Irish language and Gaeltacht affairs to seek end to derogation on the official status of the Irish language in the European Union.

While Irish has been recognised as one of 24 official and working languages of the European Union since 2007, a derogation which was placed on that status until 2012 and then extended until 1 January 2017, means that not all EU Institutions are obliged to translate all documentation into Irish.

The Irish language community has been heavily critical of EU Institutions due to their misuse of the derogation since 2007. Several Institutions have used the derogation as a reason not to translate documentation even though it relates to laws alone. In August of this year, the European Ombudsman, following his investigation of a complaint made by Dr Pádraig Ó Laighin, found a case of maladministration against the European Parliament for failure to make its website available in Irish.

Conradh na Gaeilge has said that over 180 jobs would be created should the derogation be lifted and a decision must be made by the government in time for any EU recruitment campaign.

General Secretary of Conradh na Gaeilge, Julian de Spáinn, said that the derogation on Maltese was lifted after three years as a result of provisional contracts given to Maltese experts which allowed employees to gain French as a third official language, a requirement in the EU and a practice which could be applied to the Irish language.

Conradh na Gaeilge is demanding that the derogation be lifted as soon as possible and a series of recruitment competitions for long-term and provisional contract positions take place in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

©Foilsithe ar Gaelport.com 25 Samhain 2013


President of Ireland shows support for ESG

November 26, 2013

Michael D. Higgins has said that he is happy to support the work of Gaelscoileanna and ESG to encourage excellence from evidence.

‘From evidence to excellence’ was the theme of this year’s Eagraíocht na Scoileanna Gaeltachta Teo. (ESG) & Gaelscoileanna Teo. conference which held in Enfield, Co. Meath at the weekend.

This annual conference is open to anybody associated with Irish medium education, teachers and principals from both primary and secondary levels in particular, and a series of lectures, focus groups and workshops takes place over the weekend.

This year saw Gaelscoileanna celebrating 40 years of work and President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins attended the official opening of the conference on Friday as part of the celebrations.

ESG launched a template for Irish language policy in Gaeltacht primary schools at the weekend, a resource which will assist in the drafting of language policy.

Speaking at the conference, President Michael D. Higgins recognised the important role of Gaeltacht schools in supporting Irish as a spoken language in the Gaeltacht.

The Board of Directors of ESG made the decision in September to wind up the organisation as a result of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht decision not to provide funding to the from the beginning of next year.

ESG, based in Baile Bhuirne, Co. Cork was established in 2006 as an umbrella body for primary and secondary schools in the Gaeltacht areas. ESG and Gaelscoileanna Teoranta have been in talks towards amalgamating the two organisations for over two years, but while certain progress was made in this regard, the failure of both funders – Foras na Gaeilge and the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht – to come to a solution in relation to future funding caused an insurmountable obstacle to the progression of the merge.

The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht claim it would have been inappropriate to get involved in talks relating to the amalgamation of two voluntary organisations while this process was still underway.

ESG Deputy Chairperson Anna Ní Chartúir said that the strong support shown by President Higgins for the work of ESG, and his understanding of the importance of that work is grounds for hope.

©Foilsithe ar Gaelport.com 26 Samhain 2013


Success of Irish medium education clear in 2013 School League Tables

November 26, 2013

The Irish Times published this year’s School League Tables today and this year’s list includes 9 Gaelscoileanna with a progression rate of 100% of students who continue onto third level education.

The annual list focuses on the main feeder schools to universities from around the country and this year’s report shows a significant increase in the number of non-fee paying schools with a success rate entitling them to feeder school status making up 75% of the top 100 schools. Scoil Phobail Mhic Dara, Carna in Galway, has been named the non-fee paying school with the third highest rate in the country.

As with most years, fee-paying schools lead the way with the highest progression rate to higher points courses in the country and Irish-medium secondary schools also feature strongly in this regard with Coláiste Íosagáin, Stillorgan; Coláiste Eoin, Stillorgan and Coláiste an Phiarsaigh, Glanmire all being named on the same list.

There are 9 Gaelscoileanna among the schools with a 100% progression rate:

• Coláiste Íosagáin, Stillorgan
• Coláiste Eoin, Stillorgan
• Coláiste an Phiarsaigh, Glanmire
• Coláiste Ghobnatan, Baile Bhuirne
• Coláiste Cois Life, Lucan
• Gaelcholáiste Chiarraí
• Coláiste Laurel Hill FCJ, Limerick
• Coláiste na Coiribel, Galway
• Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne

Scoil Phobail Mhic Dara, Carna in Galway, Coláiste an Phiarsaigh, Glanmire and Coláiste Laurel Hill FCJ, Limerick have all been named on the list for the highest rate of progression to third level in the country.

Coláiste Íosagáin, Stllorgan and Coláiste Eoin, Stillorgan came in third and fourth place respectively of the schools in County Dublin and Coláiste Cois Life, Lucan, was named in ninth place on the same list.

Fee-paying schools, Gaelscoileanna and State-run schools in prosperous areas have continuously dominated the league.

©Foilsithe ar Gaelport.com 26 Samhain 2013


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