Posted by Schooldays Newshound, on 03/09/2019. Tags: Education And Politcs
The Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh T.D. has today announced that five new primary schools being established from 2020-2022 are being designated for Irish-medium education.
The Minister took the decision following an analysis of the availability of gaelscoileanna in a number of areas of Greater Dublin.
The five new schools will serve areas of growing populations where there is no existing Irish-medium primary school or where there is more than one new school to be established between 2019 and 2022.
Minster McHugh said: “This is a significant step in terms of increasing Irish-medium education and all the benefits it brings. It will be a huge boost for a large number of parents in these areas who will now have more certainty about the availability of Irish-medium education for their children.”
The five schools being designated Irish-medium will serve the following areas:
* The new school will be located in the Saggart/Citywest area. It is adjacent to the Tallaght School Planning Area in which there is no gaelscoil. TheDepartment is conscious that Rathcoole is also an area of growing demographic demand and additional residential development and is actively reviewing the potential need to establish a new school in Rathcoole.
School planning area
2020 or 2022**
** Two new primary schools are due to open in Sallynoggin_Killiney_DLR/Cherrywood – one in 2020 and a second in 2022. One will be designated as a gaelscoil. The order will be decided following the OPPS process later this year.
The Minister took the decision to designate the language of these five schools after amending criteria which are considered in determining the ethos and language of instruction of new primary schools as part of the patronage process for new schools.
This change is being made following the pilot Online Patronage Process System (OPPS) for primary schools established in September 2019 and engagement by the Department of Education and Skills with school patron bodies and other stakeholders.
Minister McHugh outlined two changes that have been made.
- If there is no existing Irish-medium provision in a school planning area, and a new primary school is being established to meet demographic demand, the new school will be designated as a gaelscoil before the Online Patronage Process System for that area opens. This will happen unless there are particular local circumstances where this would not be appropriate.
- Where a number of new primary schools are due to be established in the same school planning area during the period 2019-2022, at least one of these schools in that school planning area will be Irish-medium, unless there are particular local circumstances where this would not be appropriate.
Minister McHugh confirmed that this measure is part of a framework being developed in the Department to provide more opportunities to increase the provision of Irish-medium education through new schools and by expanding existing gaelscoileanna.
It includes:Pre-determining the language of the school as Irish in some circumstances
Testing (on a pilot basis) the potential to cater for demand for English and Irish medium provision through, for example, delivering two 8-classroom schools (one English-medium and one Irish-medium) in a shared building/campus rather than delivering one 16-classroom school, subject to factors such as demand and site conditions
Exploring the potential to expand existing Irish-medium schools to meet unmet demand in an area
Providing opportunities for patrons of existing schools to change the language of instruction from English to Irish, such as is envisaged as part of the Schools Reconfiguration for Diversity process.
Minister McHugh said: “I want to help address the imbalance in the availibility of Irish-medium education, so I have changed the criteria as part of patronage processes that will allow some schools to be designated as gaelscoileanna. This will provide more choice for parents and children and it will give them better certainty about the availability of Irish-medium education for their children.”
The Online Patronage Process System for new primary schools to be established in 2020 will commence later this year, with applications being sought from prospective patrons. Parents of eligible children will then have an opportunity to indicate their preferences for the patron body to run the school. This will be done by online survey.
Minister McHugh said: “The recent patronage processes for new primary schools showed that almost all prospective patrons are offering multi-denominational ethos models. That is good for our education system.
“The question around language is more complex. Bilingualism, learning a language and immersion all have their benefits for our children’s education yet English-medium schools are more prevalent.
“Parents of eligible children in the relevant school planning areas should take a look at patronage options and engage with the survey when this opens later this year. This will be your opportunity to make your views known and help to shape the education of the future.”