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No recognition for new gaelscoils, despite the publication of the Government’s language strategy

December 23, 2010

The Department of Education and Skills this week identified just four areas in which additional primary school provision will be required for September 2011. Although there is a strong demand for Irish medium education in all of the recognised areas, GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. is disappointed by the Department’s failure to acknowledge the many additional areas around the country in which founding committees are working tirelessly to ensure Irish-medium provision for their children. The organisation is particularly disappointed by the continued lack of Departmental recognition for Gaelscoil Ráth Tó, which opened without the Department’s support in September 2010. The school’s teacher and pupils paid a visit to the offices of the Minister for Education, an Tánaiste Mary Coughlan, last week with letters petitioning her to grant the school official recognition. The school receives no departmental assistance or funding, despite the proven demand for Irish-medium education in the area.

The Department of Education and Skills’ policy in relation to Irish-medium education does not conform to the guidelines laid down in the Government’s Twenty Year Strategy for the Irish language which was published on 21st December. The Strategy aims to improve the education system, but the Department doesn’t appear to be honouring its obligations to the gaelscoileanna or providing proper support. Prior to this, the Department showed an understanding of the gradual nature of growth in new schools and the schools’ significant role in the wider community. Demographics is now the only factor influencing the Department’s new schools policy; the parents’ right to choose does not appear to play any role in the plan for additional educational provision in 2011.
GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. is calling on the Department of Education to recognise Gaelscoil Ráth Tó, as well as the many founding committees currently working throughout the country. We also demand that the department acknowledge both the demand and the right of parents to secure Irish-medium education for their children.  

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. These schools welcome pupils from all linguistic, cultural and social backgrounds. There are 172 primary schools and 39 secondary schools outside of Gaeltacht areas currently providing education through the medium of Irish.