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New ambitious targets for Literacy and Numeracy set by Minister Bruton

March 15, 2017

Targeted improvements in Maths and reading for all schools – 50% of sixth class pupils to perform at the highest levels in reading and Maths by 2020

Increase by 42% the number of 6th class pupils in disadvantaged primary schools performing at the highest levels in Maths

Particular focus on numeracy and digital skills

The Minister for Education & Skills, Mr. Richard Bruton, TD, today published new, updated ambitious targets for numeracy and literacy in our schools, as part of the drive to achieve the best education service in Europe within a decade.

The Report published today shows that all of the targets set for reading and maths at primary level in the 2011 Literacy and Numeracy Strategy were reached and significant progress has been made towards achievement of the targets at post-primary. These results are confirmed by recent strong results in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and the Trends in International Maths and Science Study (TIMSS) (see below).

While recent trends are encouraging, it is clear that there is still room for improvement, in particular in Maths, and the updated targets set a particular focus on numeracy. For this reason, the new targets set by Minister Bruton are particularly ambitious in the numeracy area. The Action Plan for Education, which has the overall aim of making Ireland the best education and training service in Europe within a decade, outlines a series of ambitious actions to further improve our performance in maths, including: introducing coding and computer science throughout the school curriculum; a comprehensive National Policy Statement on STEM Education in schools; and ambitious new measures to upskill maths teachers.

Minister Bruton has set out that tackling educational disadvantage will be a key priority during his Ministry. For this reason, Minister Bruton has for the first time set specific targets for literacy and numeracy within disadvantaged schools as part of this strategy. Such targets were not included in the original strategy published in 2011. For example, we have set a target to increase the number of pupils in DEIS Band 1 urban primary schools performing at the highest levels in Maths at sixth class by 2020, by 42%. This is underpinned by the publication of the DEIS Plan 2017 by the Minister, which will see €15m extra being invested to tackle educational disadvantage each year.

There will also be an increased emphasis on higher-achieving students and on embedding achievements in literacy, in particular literacy for and through the Irish language, and also on enhancing the digital literacy skills of our learners.

Priority actions included in the plan include:

  • Prioritising the development of maths curricula at primary and post-primary, including the redevelopment of the primary maths curriculum, encompassing the introduction of computational and creative thinking skills and coding.
  • The Professional Development Service for Teachers refining its literacy and numeracy supports for teachers.
  • Reviewing the time allocation for maths at primary to ensure that the allocation reflects learners’ requirements.
  • Implementation of new curricula in Irish at both primary and post-primary, which aim to improve Irish as Language 1 in Irish medium schools and Irish as Language 2 in English medium schools.
  • Supporting ECCE practitioners and teachers in Early Start centres with comprehensive implementation of the Aistear curriculum framework, in particular development of early literacy and numeracy skills.
  • Support for the transitions between educational settings, e.g. the move from early years settings to primary schools, by developing reporting templates-for use by ECCE practitioners, schools and parents-based on research and trialling.
  • Carrying out research on creative and innovative ways to support parents in their role as educators.

Minister Bruton said:

“Being able to read, write and do so effectively are key skills which every young person leaving school should have if they are to achieve their full potential.”

“While we are performing very well in reading, there is room for improvement in maths. The Action Plan for Education, which has the overall aim of making Ireland the best education service in Europe within a decade, outlines a series of ambitious actions to further improve our performance so as to significantly reduce the gap with the top European performers in maths and science in particular. We will be developing a new maths curriculum at primary, including computational thinking, creative thinking skills and coding, and reviewing the structure and time allocation of the primary maths curriculum, as a whole. We will adopt a STEM Education Policy Statement, and ambitious new measures to upskill maths teachers. The Digital Strategy for Schools and the investment of €210m over its lifetime will also be a major factor in implementing change.”

“Every child has to have the opportunity to fulfil their potential, regardless of their circumstances. Education has a unique capacity to break down the cycles of disadvantage. Our recently published DEIS Plan aims to increase the outcomes for students in more disadvantaged schools. I want, for example, to see an increase of 42% in the number of pupils in disadvantaged urban primary schools performing at the highest levels in maths at sixth class by 2020.”

“The Report shows the significant progress that has been made since 2011. Everyone should be very proud of what has been achieved to date.  A huge part of this success is due to the commitment of ECCE practitioners, teachers and school leaders, parents and school managers, staff in support services of various types, teacher educators, a range of other bodies, agencies and organisations, and especially the young people who have worked so hard to enhance their literacy and numeracy skills.”

“I believe the new and updated targets set, and the actions identified within this Report will enable us to focus on achieving the best results for our learners – and ultimately ensuring that every child has the opportunity to achieve their potential in life.”



The Review, with new and updated targets, is available at:

– See more at: http://www.education.ie/en/Press-Events/Press-Releases/2017-Press-Releases/PR17-03-14.html#sthash.UEtiuRiC.dpuf

Irish-language schools conference to look at impact of `nurture’ groups

March 15, 2017

IRISH-language educators from north and south will gather this week to examine issues including the experience of the `nurture’ approach to schooling.

Comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta, the representative body for Irish-medium education in the north, will hold its annual conference on Thursday in An Carn, Maghera.

It is expected to attract delegates from schools across Ireland as well as representatives from Irish language, educational and cultural bodies.

Speakers will contribute on various subjects including new electronic resources for Irish-medium education and the Irish-medium experience of the nurture approach.

Nurture groups work to improve social, emotional and behavioural outcomes among children from some of the most deprived areas.

Scoil an Droichid in south Belfast and Bunscoil Bheann Mhadagáin in the north of the city started operating nurture groups last September.

The concept has been widely developed across the UK to address identified behavioural needs within schools, offering a safe and welcoming environment to promote learning and positive behaviours.

They are recognised as playing a key role in tackling under-achievement early in a child’s life by providing targeted support.

Hundreds of children – from P1 to P3 – benefit from extra help in special facilities that are typically equipped with kitchens, sofas, and quiet rooms.

The Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation at Queen’s University Belfast last year published a report into the impact of the units in primary schools.

It found clear evidence that nurture group provision was “highly successful in its primary aim of achieving improvements in the social, emotional and behavioural skills of children from deprived areas exhibiting significant difficulties”.

Also due to speak at An Carn is Feargal Mac Bhloscaidh from Coláiste Feirste, who will present on extended writing, and Seán Fennel from Gaelscoil na bhFál who will deliver a workshop on language support at Key Stage 2.

In addition, Tracey McGovern from Middletown Centre for Autism will address pressing questions around special educational needs (SEN), and two newly-formed Irish-medium SEN cluster-groups will lead a session for SEN coordinators.


Maidin Caifé ar siúl i nGaelscoil Mhichíl Uí Choileáin

March 14, 2017

Beidh Maidin Caifé ar siúl i nGaelscoil Mhichíl Uí Choileáin ar an mbóthar Cnoc na Raithní ar mhaithe leis na ranganna Uathchais sa scoil féin. Cuirfear an ócáid ar siúl ar an séú lá déag den mhí seo, idir a naoi a chlog agus a trí a chlog. Tá breis is fiche daltaí idir a trí is a dhá bhliain deag d’aois idir trí Ranganna Speisialta agus rang amháin Luath-Idirghabhála. Bíonn réimse gníomhaíochtaí ar bun ag na daltaí idir íoga, damhsa, ealaín agus níos mó agus rachaidh fáltais na maidine chuig costaisí na gníomhaíochtaí seo a íocadh. Tá an ócáid á eagrú ag Jennifer Brennan agus tá tacaíocht á lorg aicí ní hamháin ón bpobal scoile ach uaidh éinne gur féidir leo tacaíocht a thabhairt. Bheadh fáilte roimh tabhartais bácála. Is féidir teagmhái la dhéanamh le Jennifer ar 085-1592458.

A coffee morning in aid of the Autism Classes at Gaelscoil Mhichíl Uí Choileáin, Clonakilty, takes place this Thursday (16th), from 9am – 3pm at the school itself, (on the Fernhill Road).
Proceeds raised will go the four autism classes in the school, which cater for over 20 pupils between three and 12 years in an Early Intervention Class and three Ranganna Speisialta.
The children enjoy a range of activities including yoga, dancing, art, etc. and the coffee morning is being organised to generate funds for these and similar activities.
Organiser Jennifer Brennan is encouraging support not just from the school community but the general public who have no affiliation with it. She also appeals for donations of baking which can be dropped to the school on the morning itself.
All enquires to Jennifer at 085-1592458.

Lá Fhéile Pádraig le Sult na Sollán

March 14, 2017

Oíche Mhór Ceoil ar Lá Fhéile Pádraig

Bígí linn d’oíche mhór ceoil ar Lá Fhéile Pádraig, ag tosú ag 7.00i.n. leis na ceoltóirí óga ó “Sult Óg” a chuirfidh tús leis an oíche sa Railway Inn.

Ó 9.00i.n. beidh seisiún eile againn sa Railway Inn le grúpaí áitiúla Sult agus Fonn Nua. Míle fáilte roimh cheoltóirí agus roimh amhránaithe eile suí isteach linn. Ba chóir gur mbeadh oíche den scoth ann!

Join us for an “oíche mhór ceoil” or a big night of music on St. Patrick’s Day, starting at 7pm with the young musicians from “Sult Óg”, that will kick-off the night in the Railway Inn.

From 9pm, we will have another trad session in the Railway Inn with local bands Sult and Fonn Nua. Visiting musicians and singers are more than welcome to sit in and join us. It should be a great night!

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Shona daoibh – Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you all

Au Pair de dhíth

March 14, 2017

Tá clann atá lonnaithe i nDroim Seambó, Co. Liatroim ag lorg au pair le Gaeilge a labhairt le cúpla de seacht mbliain d’aois, beirt cailíní, ar feadh coicíse i Mí Iúil. Ba mhaith leis an gclann go dtosnódh an au pair leo ar an 3ú lá de Mhí Iúil ach is féidir leo bheith solúbtha. Beidh an t-iarrthóir rathúil ag ithe bricfeásta leis an gcúpla agus á thabhairt chuig an siopa, oifig an phoist, an leabharlann nó chuig aonad spóirt. Beidh trí uair in aghaidh an lae á chaitheamh ag an au pair i gcomhluadar na bpáistí ag labhairt i nGaeilge leo. Beidh an au pair ag fanacht leis an gclann agus tabharfar lánlóistín dóibh in éineacht le luach saothair uair is fiche in aghaidh na seachtaine.

A family in Drumshanbo Co. Leitrim is seeking a live-in au pair to work with 7 year old twin girls. The desired starting date is from Monday 3rd July for two weeks but the family is flexible. The position involves breakfasting with the twins followed by a trip to the local shop, post office or library or sports facility. The family require the speaker to spend 3 hours per day with the twins. The position is live-in with full board and remuneration for 21 hours speaking. If interested, contact Elaine Rooney on 087 98 13 902.

Why one of Ireland’s most famous schools is going Gaelscoil

March 14, 2017

Synge Street in Dublin 8 is turning to the Irish language to restore pupil numbers

t’s one of Ireland’s best-known schools, with an impressive roll call of past pupils such as Gay Byrne, Eddie Jordan, Eamonn Andrews and former president, Cearbhail Ó Dálaigh. It’s such a part of Irish culture, it even had a hit movie made about it.

Now the primary school of Dublin’s Synge Street is going gaelscoil – because all-Irish schools are what parents of children in the city centre want most.

Currently, Synge Street primary is an all-boys Catholic school that accepts children from second class up to sixth class.

But from September, it will introduce a new stream of co-ed pupils, starting at junior infants level, with pupils learning only through Irish.

This gaelscoil stream – or “sruth” – of boys and girls will run alongside, but separate from, the boys-only classes learning through English.

But the classes will be divided, even at break-times, to ensure the Irish-language students get full immersion in the language.

Principal Gerard Mooney says the introduction of the Irish stream is a unique development – Synge Street is the first school Ireland to do it.

He explains that the idea came about due to a combination of dramatic depopulation in Dublin city centre, combined with increased demand for all-Irish education.

“We’re taking an infant class this year for the first time, and they will learn through Irish. This is a unique approach in Ireland.

Inner city depopulation

“Depopulation in the south inner city has resulted in a significant drop in school numbers.

“One-third of our school population was from local areas that have been savagely depopulated and there are no plans to rebuild or regenerate. Prohibitively high rents have driven a lot of families out of the area.

“The demographic completely changed, due to the cost of houses and rent increases. It is very unfair on families.”

Synge Street primary – Sancta Maria – is a Catholic school that is part of the Edmund Rice Schools Trust. One of the tenets of its ethos is to reach out to needs in the community.

Mooney says the introduction of the sruth is in keeping with that principle.

“We are responding to the needs of the community. There are many parents in the area who want to educate their children through the medium of Irish, but the local gaelscoileanna in Harold’s Cross and Ranelagh were over-subscribed and they were disappointed.

“We did the research and found there was a significant need for a gaelscoil and we said: Let’s try this.”

With gaelscoileanna regarded as the school of choice for the elite, is the development a sign of changing times in the “city end” of Dublin 8?

Catchment areas like Portobello and the Tenters are increasingly middle-class enclaves.

Only high-earning couples with children can afford to live there. Is this what’s driving the change?

Mixed school

Mooney is aware it is a factor – but says what local parents really wanted was a mixed school that started at junior infant level.

Synge Street primary had been hand-tied by traditional church rules that meant the boys started only from second class onwards.

Prior to second class, pupils attend local convents for junior school up to first class, and then switch over to Synge Street.

But many parents were averse to the idea of moving kids from one school to another once they’d got settled. Others aren’t keen on single-sex education.

The middle-class preference for their little ones to be educated as gaeilge is just one aspect.

Mooney says of the driving force: “Every society has its microcosms. I’d say it’s 50/50. Half was those who wanted a gaelscoil and half who wanted a mixed school starting from junior infants.

“We had been restricted by the second- to sixth-class model that history and politics dictated, and we had to change the status of the school [to introduce the gaelscoil stream].

“There is a sense of resurgence of national identity, and the 1916 centenary had a big influence. It has broadened into a pride of language and has cast off some of our old attitudes. Parents want their children to be aware of their cultural heritage.

Cognitive ability

“The bonus of learning a second language early on is that it bumps up cognitive ability. People are prepared to go the extra mile for their children to have a good education.”

When the new junior infants arrive at Synge Street gates for the first time this September, it will be the result of Trojan work by Principal Mooney and the school.

“We are two years now getting to the point where we can offer this new stream to parents.

“First, I had to convince the Archbishop [Diarmuid Martin] and he supported us when he saw there was a crying need for branching out, while also supporting the needs of parents.

“Then we had to convince the Department of Education. We’re making the conversions and putting the facilities for it in place now.”

The maximum number of students in a class is 28, and with just over a month left until enrolment closes, the gaelscoil class is almost full.

Meanwhile in Synge Street boys-only primary, there is an average of only 12 boys per year.

Once one of the biggest schools on the city’s south side, the school, founded in 1864, educated broadcaster Mike Murphy, actor David Kelly, writer Flann O’Brien, oncologist John Crown and politician Liam Cosgrave.

There are now 60 students in the primary school, where in decades past, there were hundreds.


Dublin director John Carney’s film about Synge Street – a high-school comedy musical called Sing Street – put the school on the map internationally when it was released last year.

It featured Aiden Gillen and Jack Reynor, as well as newcomers Ferdia Walsh-Peelo and Lucy Boynton.

It was a feel-good fictitious tale that was part-based on Carney’s time as a student in the secondary school back in the 1980s.

The movie was nominated for a Golden Globe and portrayed Synge Street as a school where the kids were rough and the teachers were even rougher.

So: was it a good thing or a bad thing for the historic Christian Brothers school, which is over 150 years old?

The primary school principal Gerard Mooney takes it for what it is – a Hollywood version of reality.

Facts vs film

“It was grand, it was good craic. People have to understand that you must allow for licence. Never let the facts get in the way of a good story!” says Mooney.

“You just suspend disbelief and enjoy it as it is. There is a good part of the movie that is cultural memory and cultural stereotype.

“I see the men here retired and living in the house beside us and they are a different body of men you see personified in the movie.

“But it was good, we were delighted with it – and it’s an honour to have our very own movie. Mount Temple, where U2 went, didn’t get a movie – but Synge Street did!”


(Gaeilge) Suirbhé ECI maidir le hearcaíocht do sheirbhísí luathbhlianta

March 10, 2017

Sorry, this entry is only available in Irish.

Vacancy: Naíonra na n-Óg Sióg

March 10, 2017

Tá folúntas le líonadh ag Naíonra na n-Óg Sióg i mBaile an Chollaigh, sonraí thíos:

Naíonra na n-Óg Sióg Ballincollig are hiring a childcare assistant (Minimum Level 5) for 15 hours per week @ €11.00 per hour for our ECCE programme. Immediate start until end of June. Then another contract from Sept 2017 to June 2018 full time hours (35/40 hours per week). Experience desirable but not essential for the right candidate looking to gain invaluable experience. Please send Cover Letter and CV to nanogsiog@gmail.com.

(Gaeilge) Iarrtha ag COGG ar an Roinn Oideachais gan an dara siollabas Gaeilge don Teastas Sóisearach a thabhairt isteach i mbliana

March 10, 2017

Sorry, this entry is only available in Irish.

Seoladh Shuíomhanna Gréasáin nua Raidió na Life & Comhar

March 9, 2017

RnaL & Comhar

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