My Department is aware of the issue raised by the Deputy. As the Deputy will be aware, the Teacher Supply Steering Group, chaired by the Secretary General of my Department, is considering the issues that impact on teacher supply in a number of policy areas. The Group is overseeing the delivery of the Teacher Supply Action Plan, which I published in November 2018. In undertaking its task, the Group is cognisant of the requirement that all persons wishing to teach in recognised schools must meet the professional registration standards and criteria set by the Teaching Council, which is the professional regulatory body for the teaching profession. I hope to be in a position to announce further measures to support the supply of teachers over the coming months.
A number of measures which support the supply of teachers to Irish-medium schools have been introduced as part of the implementation of the Policy on Gaeltacht Education 2017-2022. This includes the commencement in 2018 of a new Irish-medium Masters in Education (M.Ed.) for primary and post-primary teachers, including principals, in Mary Immaculate College and the commencement in 2019 of a new 4-year Irish-medium Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) for primary teachers in Marino Institute of Education. The new programmes provide for up to 60 new places for teacher education through Irish annually. Additional staffing has also been provided for the Professional Masters in Education (PME) in NUI, Galway to increase the supply of post-primary teachers who can deliver high quality Irish medium education across a range of subjects.
For Leaving Certificate Examination, candidates shall, except where otherwise directed, have the option of answering either in Irish or in English, except in the case of the subjects Irish and English and questions in other language subjects where the use of the target language is specified.
Candidates will be supplied with Irish or English versions of the examination papers as indicated on their entry forms. Candidates who have indicated in the examination entry process that they intend to answer through Irish are initially suppled with the Irish version of the paper only (by default). The English version may subsequently also be given to them by the superintendent at the request of the candidate.
Allowing provision of the paper in both languages allows them to check they have correctly interpreted any question asked of them by cross-referencing it with the paper in the other language.
A candidate who answers in Irish at the written examination in the various subjects may be given bonus marks in addition to the marks gained in the subject.
Candidates who answer partly in Irish and partly in English will receive no bonus marks.