Donegal Gaeltacht schools are to get extra funding and more resources as government investment in Gaeltacht education is set to double next year.
The funding package was announced by government Chief Whip and Gaeltacht Minister Joe McHugh today at an event in Co Meath with Minister for Education Richard Bruton. €1,000 will be provided to every Donegal Gaeltacht school for the purchase of Irish-language teaching materials, among other additional resources.
The extra funding is part of the Policy on Gaeltacht Education, which was the first of its kind, and was championed by the Donegal TD.
One of the key actions in implementing the Policy is the Gaeltacht School Recognition Scheme, which invited schools in Gaeltacht areas to opt into becoming Irish-medium schools meaning full immersion in the Irish language.
Minister McHugh said the package includes:
- A grant of €1,000 for the purchase of Irish-language teaching materials.
- Additional language support hours, which will be equivalent to providing an extra 40 whole-time teachers in Gaeltacht schools
- Additional professional development for teachers, with substitute cover, provided by COGG, and the opportunity to participate in a new part-time M.Ed. in Irish-medium and Gaeltacht Education
- Extra advisory visits from School Inspectors
- The opportunity to take part in a pilot project to link post-primary Gaeltacht schools digitally to extend subject choice through the medium of Irish
Nearly 80% of primary schools in Gaeltacht regions have opted into the scheme and over 96% of post-primary schools.
All remaining schools (28 primary and 1 post-primary) will be given another opportunity to participate in the Scheme in 2018/2019 and a package of initial supports will be available to schools who indicate that they would like to join.
The Minister secured additional funding of €1.3 million in Budget 2018 for the Policy on Gaeltacht Education, bringing the overall additional funding for Gaeltacht schools to €2.3 million.
Speaking at an event to mark the one year anniversary of the Policy in Scoil Náisiúnta Uí Ghramhnaigh in Ráth Chairn, Minister McHugh said: “This is great news today for schools in the Donegal Gaeltacht.
“A grant for every school in the scheme of €1,000 will help purchase teaching materials and extra resources through teaching hours are also part of the scheme.”
Minister Bruton said: “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. 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.”