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Enriching Children’s Lives the topic at GAELSCOILEANNA TEO.’s Annual Conference 2011

November 21, 2011

Ciarán Cannon, Minister of State for Training and Skills, will officially open GAELSCOILEANNA TEO.’s Annual Conference and AGM, entitled Enriching Children’s Lives. The Conference takes place in the Tullamore Court Hotel, Tullamore, Co. Offaly on the 25th and 26th November 2011.

In explaining the rationale behind the theme, Enriching Children’s Lives, Bláthnaid ní Ghréacháin, Chief Executive of GAELSCOILEANNA TEO.  explains, “it is very timely given the continuous economic challenges facing the country which are directly impacting upon the experiences and educational future of our children.  That said, the Conference theme confirms that children’s lives are, indeed, enriched by Irish-medium education.”

This year’s Annual Conference will focus specifically on the content, implications and importance of the the National strategy on literacy and numeracy for learning and for life 2011 – 2020. In this context, Dr. Shiel, from the Educational Research Centre will present the latest results of NAIMS (National Assessment of Irish Medium Schools) on the standards of English and Maths. Ní Ghréacháin states:

“We are very grateful to Dr. Gerry Shiel for agreeing to present these results and their implications for Irish-medium schools to our Conference. We understand that these results identify and reflect some of the challenges for Irish-medium schools, particularly in the area of maths, but as anticipated, this research confirms the high standard of English in Irish-medium schools. This is testament to the excellent work, dilligence and ability of the schools and of the effectiveness of  Irish-medium education”.

On 16th November the NCE-MSTL (The centre of excellence in the learning and teaching of Mathematics and Science) published the results of evidence-based research which verify the benefits for the child of a bilingual approach to learning Mathematics. Ní Ghréacháin says of this timely publication, “we greatly welcome this recognition and believe that it is will provide a very strong foundation for the development of Mathematical skills in Irish-medium schools in the context of the strategy.”

She also extends a warm welcome to the Chief Executive of the Commission on Human Rights, who will speak at the Conference reception on the topic of school entrance policies, diversity and pluralism in the education system and the availability of Irish-medium education to parents as a human right.

The organisation’s president, Mícheál Ó Broin, will devote a part of his annual address to the main challenges facing the Irish-medium sector, such as the recognition process for new schools, the pupil-teacher ratio and accommodation issues at both primary and post-primary level. Commenting on the Conference programme, Ó Broin states:

“I’m delighted to announce such a comprehensive and valuable conference agenda. It provides a great professional training and development opportunity for Irish-medium schools and feedback from the schools informs us that the Conference gives Irish-medium schools a great opportunity to celebrate their high standards of teaching and learning. We’re delighted to be able to provide this training and to satisfy the needs of Irish-medium schools again this year”.

Ó Broin gives special mention to two Irish-medium schools in the area who have greatly contributed to the Conference preparations “we are very grateful to Gaelscoil Éadan Dóire and Gaelscoil an Eiscir Riada who have helped raise public awareness about the Conference and whose pupils’ participation will add to the enjoyment of the occasion. Both they and the larger school communities have provided invaluable support to us and have helped to ensure an excellent and dynamic Conference. Their help highlights the importance of developing strong school communities. We would also like to thank Foras na Gaeilge for providing financial support for our Conference.”

You can register for the Conference by calling the office on 01 8535195. Information about the Conference is available on www.gaelscoileanna.ie.

GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. is the national co-ordinating body for schools teaching through the medium of Irish.  It helps parents and local groups to set up new schools and supports the established all-Irish schools.

For media attending the GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. Annual Conference in the Tullamore Court Hotel, Tullamore, Co. Offaly on the25th and 26th November 2011, or for anyone else seeking information, please contact:

The Office on 01-8535195 or Bláthnaid ní Ghréacháin on 086 8050335 / Mícheál Ó Broin on 087-9467700.