In light of the Budget 2009 decision my Department has now published a circular for schools which sets out how the new arrangements will operate for the allocation of language support teachers from September 2009. The circular sets out a structured and transparent approach for the operation of the alleviation measures that were announced in the budget for schools that have a significant concentration of newcomer pupils. The alleviation measures mean that these schools can qualify for up to 4 language support posts with the possibility of additional posts also being approved through the independent staffing appeals mechanism.
Schools can now apply to my Department in the normal way for language support posts. These posts are approved on a provisional basis initially and will be confirmed in September 2009 following receipt from the schools of actual enrolments of pupils requiring language support. It is estimated that notwithstanding the budget measures there will be approximately 1,500 language support teaching posts in our primary and post-primary schools in September 2009. By any standards this is a very significant resource and the challenge will be to ensure that it is used to maximum effect.
Additional supports are provided for children in primary schools who do not meet the qualifying criteria for the appointment of full-time teachers in the form of grant aids for the employment of part-time English language support teachers. 443 schools have benefited from this type of financial support in the current school year.