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Entrance Policies for Gaelscoileanna

May 7, 2008





GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. welcomes the opportunity to pay tribute to Irish-medium schools the length and breadth of the country for their comprehensive enrolment policies and practices in relation to the provision of Irish-medium education for any child whose parents seek it.  Irish-medium education is recognised as an attractive choice for every child in Ireland including children from varied socio-economic backgrounds, children newly arrived in the country from different linguistic backgrounds, children in disadvantaged areas and children with special educational needs.  The profile of pupils in the Irish-medium schools clearly shows that the Irish-medium sector is open to all.   


In spite of the huge demand for Irish-medium education, the Gaelscoileanna are faced with many challenges.  Challenges include predominantly the accommodation crisis in primary schools, the protection of the early-immersion education system, meeting rising demand and the continuation of Irish-medium education from level to level.  A particularly acute challenge is providing suitable support and resources to cater for special needs children within the Irish-medium sector.  We look forward to the continued co-operation of the Department of Education and Science in helping to overcome this difficulty. 


Bláthnaid ní Ghréacháin, CEO of GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. was quoted as saying "The success and effectiveness of the Irish-medium education system is due to the educational excellence achieved through immersion education.  It’s an open and comprehensive system which celebrates cultural diversity.  Our schools are enriched by greater numbers of pupils from different cultural backgrounds.  The waiting lists and over-subscription to the Gaelscoileanna show that demand exceeds supply.  That said, infrastructural difficulties among others must be urgently addressed to ensure continued demand."


The Department for Education and Science recently published a report highlighting the main findings on the enrolment policies of 1,572 primary schools and 426 secondary schools, a very small percentage of which were Irish-medium schools.  This report marks the official beginning of a consultation  process on entrance policies in Irish schools seeking to ensure that every school has an inclusive policy and follows a set practice.  GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. looks forward to taking part in this public consultation process.  The Minister raised the issue of the validity of statistical information in providing an accurate interpretation of this situation, particularly at a local level.  In this context, the Minister suggests that the information doesn’t raise concerns about the system in general.   


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. There are 169 primary schools and 43 secondary schools currently providing education through the medium of Irish.  Four new Irish-medium primary schools have received temporary recognition and are scheduled to open in September 2008.


Further information:           

Bláthnaid ní Ghréacháin     01-773155

Mícheál Ó Broin                   087-9467700