28 April, 2017 - Minister Bruton announces Gaeltacht School Recognition Scheme

Minister also announces two additional posts in NUI Galway to strengthen the supply of Irish-medium post-primary teachers

Following on from the launch of the Department’s Policy on Gaeltacht Education 2017-2022 last October, the Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton T.D. today announced the commencement of the Gaeltacht School Recognition Scheme.

A circular, accompanied by an information pack, has been issued today to all primary and post-primary schools in Gaeltacht language-planning areas inviting those schools to participate in the Scheme. The Scheme will allow participating schools to seek to achieve Gaeltacht School Recognition on the basis of the implementation of specific language criteria over a five-year period and participation in the language-planning processes under the Gaeltacht Act, 2012.

A school’s decision to participate in the Scheme has to be taken in consultation with the whole-school community, including the principal, teaching staff, board of management, Chief Executive of the Education and Training Board (ETB), if applicable, parent representatives and local language-planning committee. To promote a consultative collaborative approach, the Expression of Interest Form submitted by schools to the Department must be signed by the school principal, chairperson of the board of management and chairperson of the relevant language-planning committee.

Schools participating in the Scheme will be eligible to access extra supports under the terms set out in circulars relating to the Scheme. Supports to be provided in the 2017/2018 school year are set out in Circular 0033/2017 and Circular 0034/2017.

“The Government is strongly committed to strengthening Irish-medium education in the Gaeltacht and the Gaeltacht School Recognition Scheme is a major step in that process,” said Minister Bruton. “In the next school year, the emphasis will be on providing professional development and support for principals and teachers in the scheme, so that they can plan how they will improve Irish-medium provision in their schools.”

Schools that will participate in the scheme will receive grants for additional educational resources and a range of professional development supports in 2017/18. Further supports will be announced in future years as the Policy on Gaeltacht Education is implemented.

“The approaches and supports outlined in the circulars that I have issued today have been discussed at length with a wide range of organisations in the Gaeltacht and with groups of primary and second-level principals in Gaeltacht schools. The views of all of these individuals and groups, as well as the support of my colleague, Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs, Seán Kyne and his department, have been invaluable in shaping the scheme,” said Minister Bruton.

“I encourage all schools in the Gaeltacht to seek to participate in the scheme and I am confident that this will contribute to supporting and promoting the future of Irish as a living language in Gaeltacht communities,” said the Minister.

Full details of the Scheme can be found in Circular 0033/2017 and Circular 0034/2017: Policy on Gaeltacht Education 2017-2022

Posts in NUI Galway to strengthen Irish-medium teacher education

Today Minister Richard Bruton also announced a further step to strengthen the supply of Irish-medium post-primary teachers. Two new posts will be created at NUI, Galway through secondments, to expand the Professional Masters of Education (PME), at NUI, Galway.

“The Policy on Gaeltacht Education recognises that we need to improve the supply of teachers who have the specialised skills needed to teach in Irish-medium and Gaeltacht schools. The creation of these two new posts is the first steps in implementing that commitment in the Policy on Gaeltacht Education, said Minister Bruton.

“NUI Galway already has a strong track record in the provision of teacher education for Irish-medium schooling, and I am delighted to be able to support the expansion of this provision,” said Minister Bruton.

It is expected that the secondment of the teachers to the MGO programme for the 2017-18 academic year will allow for an immediate and ongoing increase in the supply of Irish-medium post-primary teachers. This will be achieved through a range of measures including the upskilling of student teachers, outreach, online and blended learning opportunities, along with programme enhancement and promotion.

ENDS