On the 30th November, Richard Bruton T.D announced his plans for a package of additional supports for schools whose participation in the Gaeltacht School Recognition Scheme is confirmed for 2018.
The policy on Gaeltacht Education was an action in the Minister’s plan for Education, which aims to make Ireland’s Education and Training service the best in Europe by 2026.
Speaking about this upcoming plan, The Minister stated, “I have set the overall ambition to make Ireland’s education and training system the best in Europe within a decade. Ensuring schools in our Gaeltacht areas are properly supported to flourish as centres of excellence for education through the Irish Language, is important to achieving this ambition. I was also pleased to over double the funding allocated to the Policy in Budget 2018 and I look forward to seeing the further success of its implementation.”
The Gaeltacht School Recognition Scheme is one of the actions in the policy, which has invited schools in Gaeltacht areas to transition into Irish-medium schools-which means full spoken Irish language. Almost 80% of primary schools in the Gaeltacht area have opted into being part of this scheme and 96% of secondary schools.
The package for these schools that are taking part in the scheme consist of:
A grant of €1000 for materials to assist in teaching the Irish language
Additional language support hours
Additional professional development for teachers with substitute cover.
Extra advisory visits from school inspectors
The opportunity to take part in a pilot project that joins secondary Gaeltacht schools digitally to extend subject choice through the Irish language.
The Minister was granted funding of €1.3 million in the recent Budget for 2018, with this additional funding for Gaeltacht education resulting in €2.3 million in funding for Gaeltacht Education in 2018.
He stated: “I’m delighted to see the success of the Policy to date. The Gaeltacht School Recognition Scheme has clearly been very warmly received, with nearly 80% of primary schools and 96% of post-primary schools choosing to opt in and receive extra supports. I urge the remaining schools to look at the benefits of the Scheme and to carefully consider participating in it”.
The remaining schools in the Gaeltacht areas that have not opted into the scheme will have another opportunity next year. A package of supports will be provided to schools that intend on joining in 2018/2019.
By Aimee Walsh