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Dowds to raise issue of suitable teachers for Gaelscoileanna

March 31, 2011

Dublin Mid-West Labour TD Robert Dowds is set to highlight the problems which Gaelscoileanna  are facing in finding suitable teachers to fill vacant posts.

After meeting with representatives from the Gaelscoileanna sector, Deputy Dowds has become very concerned that some teachers in Gaelscoileanna may not have a sufficiently high standard of Irish to be able to teach exclusively through the language, and primary school children in Gaelscoileanna may be suffering as a result.

Under current arrangements, no teaching panel exists for Gaelscoileanna under the patronage of An Fóras Patrúnachta, the patronage body for most Gaelscoileanna.

As a result, Gaelscoileanna with teaching vacancies are forced into hiring from the standard teaching panel, which is comprised of teachers who may not have a sufficient standard of Irish to teach in an all-Irish speaking environment.

Deputy Robert Dowds, Labour Party TD for Dublin Mid-West, said:

“Having met with representatives from the Gaelscoil sector, it is clear that the current arrangements which are in place for the hiring of teachers in Gaelscoileanna are unsuitable. Gaelscoileanna are being forced into hiring teachers who may have a standard of Irish which may make them unsuitable for teaching exclusively through the language and working in an all-Irish speaking environment.

“Unlike Catholic schools or Church of Ireland schools, there is currently no specific panel of teachers for filling vacancies in Gaelscoileanna. I have submitted a parliamentary question on the issue and I am calling on the Minister for Education to establish a panel specifically for Gaelscoileanna, or failing that, to give Gaelscoileanna the authority to interview teachers from other panels to ensure that teachers appointed to Gaelscoileanna have an acceptable standard of Irish.

“If a situation arises, as is likely under current arrangements, that a Gaelscoil is forced into hiring a teacher with a standard of Irish which is not sufficient for teaching exclusively through the language, then it is the pupils who will lose out through lower education outcomes and language skills than a suitable teacher would otherwise provide.

“That is not an acceptable outcome, and I am urging the Minister for education to establish a specific teaching panel for Gaelscoileanna as soon as possible.”