Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (509)

Gerry Adams

Question:

509. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Education and Skills the terms of reference for an aonad within an English-speaking parent school; the additional supports available to an aonad; the governance structure of an aonad; and the mechanism for achieving aonad status. [32968/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

As part of the 20 Year Strategy for the Irish Language 2010-2030, the Department has committed to creating opportunities for expanding Irish-medium education outside the Gaeltacht in the context of the establishment of 42 new schools from 2019 to 2022, which affords particular consideration to the establishment of Gaelscoileanna, Gaelcholáistí, and Aonaid Lán-Ghaeilge as part of the new patronage process, and to continuing to work with stakeholders to further develop policy in this regard at post-primary level.

Following the April 2018 announcement of the establishment of 42 new schools from 2019 to 2022, the Department has developed a new Online Patronage Process System, which provides objective information and allows parents to express their preferences in relation to the patronage and language of instruction, i.e. Irish or English, of these new schools. Parental preferences, as well as other considerations such as the extent of diversity of provision in an area (including Irish-medium provision), are key to the decision-making process.

A number of Aonaid Lán-Ghaeilge are in operation in English-medium post-primary schools around the country. These Irish-medium units, which teach some students all subjects through Irish, vary in size in accordance with local circumstances. Arrangements for the teaching and learning of students in an Aonad and organisational structures within the school are managed by the relevant school authorities. It is open to school authorities to engage with relevant Sections of my Department as required in relation to these Irish-medium units.