03 September, 2019 – Minister for Education and Skills announces measures to increase access to Irish-medium education as part of the patronage process

Five new primary schools designated as Irish-medium 

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: 

School   planning area

Establishment   Year

Donabate

2020

Newcastle_Rathcoole/Saggart*

2020

Donaghmede_Howth_D13

2021

Dublin2_Dublin4

2021

Sallynoggin_Killiney_DLR/Cherrywood

2020 or 2022**

 * 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.

 ** 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. 

1-     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. 

2-     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.”

ENDS

Notes for Editors

A total of 13 new primary schools are to be established between 2020-2022.

Five are being designated gaelscoileanna. When the patronage process for the new primary schools commences through the OPPS, parents of eligible children in the relevant school planning areas will be given the opportunity to indicate their preference for the patron body to run the school. As regards the remaining eight primary schools announced to open from 2020-2022, parents will be surveyed through the OPPS and will be able to express their preferences for both language of instruction and the patron body of each school.

For the September 2019 primary schools, it has already been decided that thee  schools will be Irish-medium - in Blackrock_Booterstown in south Dublin, Drumcondra_Marino_D1 in central Dublin and Maynooth, Co Kildare. 

Overview of language position on 13 new primary schools announced to be established from 2020 – 2022 (where a patronage process has yet to be run) 

School   planning area

Year

Language   position

Carrigaline

2020

To be determined after the OPPS*

Donabate

2020

Designated Gaelscoil

Newcastle_Rathcoole   / Saggart

2020

Designated Gaelscoil

Sallynoggin_Killiney_DLR   / Cherrywood

2020

To be determined after the OPPS

Bray   / Woodbrook   Shanganagh

2021

To be determined after the OPPS

Clondalkin_D22

2021

To be determined after the OPPS

Donaghmede_Howth_D13

2021

Designated Gaelscoil

Dublin2_Dublin4

2021

Designated Gaelscoil

Gurranbraher_CorkCity

2021

To be determined after the OPPS

Kilkenny/City,     Western Environs

2021

To be determined after the OPPS

Naas

2021

To be determined after the OPPS

Sallynoggin_Killiney_DLR   / North

2021

To be determined after the OPPS

Sallynoggin_Killiney_DLR   / Cherrywood

2022

Designated Gaelscoil (unless 2020 OPPS results in a Gaelscoil)**

* Online Patronage Process System

** One of the two new primary schools for Sallynoggin_Killiney_DLR/Cherrywood will be designated as a Gaelscoil.  It is planned to run the OPPS in the normal way for the 2020 school before deciding the order.   

Overview of the 14 new primary schools announced to be established in 2019  (the patron and language of these schools have previously been announced)

County

Area

Patron

 

Language   of   Instruction

Cork

Glasheen_CorkCity

Educate   Together

 

English

Dublin

Booterstown_Blackrock

An   Foras Pátrúnachta

 

Irish

 

Drumcondra_Marino_D1

An Foras     Pátrúnachta

 

Irish

 

Donaghmede_Howth_D13

Educate   Together

 

English

 

Dublin   6_Clonskeagh & Dublin 6W

Educate   Together

 

English

 

Goatstown_Stillorgan_DLR

Educate   Together

 

English

 

Killester_Raheny_Clontarf

Educate   Together

 

English

 

Swords   North*

DDLETB

 

English

 

Swords   South

DDLETB

 

English

Kildare

Leixlip

Educate   Together

 

English

 

Maynooth

An Foras Pátrúnachta

 

Irish

Meath

Ashbourne

LMETB

 

English

 

Dunshaughlin

LMETB

 

English

Wicklow

Kilcoole_Newtownmountkennedy

Educate   Together

 

English

 *Opening deferred to 2020.

Details on the arrangements which applied to the patronage of these new schools and the detailed Assessment Reports for each of the areas concerned are available on the Department’s website http://www.education.ie/en/Schools-Colleges/Information/Establishing-a-New-School/ 

The patronage process for the primary schools and post-primary schools to be established in September 2020 commenced on 19 August last, with applications invited from school patron bodies who wish to apply for patronage of these schools.  The Department will shortly open the online patronage process system (OPPS) website for parental preferences for the 2020 post-primary patronage process.  This will provide objective information to all parents which will allow them to make an informed choice in expressing a preference for their preferred model of patronage for their child’s education.

The patronage process for the primary schools to be established in 2020 will commence later this year.

The patronage process for the remaining primary and post-primary schools will follow.  Updates will be announced on the OPPS website and the Department’s website.

All of the schools are being established to meet an identified demographic need. 

New Schools Establishment Group  

The patronage process for new schools is overseen by the New Schools Establishment Group (NSEG). This independent advisory group was set up in 2011 to advise the Minister on the patronage of new schools following its consideration of a report prepared by the Department on the applications received. 

The members of the NSEG are:

  • Mr. Joe Hamill (Chairperson), Retired Secretary General of the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs; 
  • Professor Gerry Mac Ruairc, Head, School of Education, National University of Ireland Galway;
  • Professor Sarah Moore, Professor of Teaching and Learning, University of Limerick. 

What are the criteria to be used in relation to designating the language of a new primary school as Irish? 

  • In the case of new schools established to meet demographic demand, prior to the opening of the OPPS if there is no existing Irish-medium provision in the school planning area, the new school will be designated as an Irish-medium Gaelscoil, unless there are particular local circumstances where this would not be appropriate. 
  •  
  • Where a number of new schools are due to be established in the same school planning area during the period 2019-2022, at least one of these schools in each relevant school planning area will be an Irish-medium school, unless there are particular local circumstances where this would not be appropriate.  
  • Such particular local circumstances may include situations such as:

-        where there is apparently sufficient Irish-medium provision in close proximity to the school planning area;

-        where there is no English-medium multi-denominational provision;

-        where there are specific demographic profile factors or specific geographic factors which would indicate that the language decision should be taken following the OPPS patronage process rather than designating the language as Irish.