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School Curriculum

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 28 September 2021

Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Ceisteanna (465)

Michael Creed

Ceist:

465. Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Education her role or that of school inspectors with regard to the procurement of a certificate of exemption from studying Irish; if such certificates can be procured retrospectively in circumstances in which the de facto situation for a number of years has been that the student involved has been informally exempt from studying Irish in their primary school and in cases in which this has in fact been documented in annual school reports; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46513/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

As set out in Department Circulars 0052/2019 (primary) and 0053/2019 (post primary), an application for an exemption from the study of Irish must be made to school management. School management are required to consider applications in accordance with the procedures and processes set out in the Circulars. Additional guidance is provided to accompany the circulars together with guidance on test selection and Frequently Asked Questions: www.gov.ie/en/service/irish-exemption/.

The only exceptional circumstances in which a school can grant a Certificate of Exemption are those set out in Section 2.2 of the circulars.

If school management are satisfied that a pupil/ student meets the criteria for granting an exemption from the study of Irish then they are required under the circulars (and under previous circulars) to issue a Certificate of Exemption, signed by the Principal, to the parent/ guardian and to retain a copy of the Certificate on file.

The authority to grant exemptions from the study of Irish has been devolved to school management and the process of considering applications does not involve Department Officials.

All applications for Certificates of Exemption since the start of the 2019/20 academic year, must be made under the terms of Circular 0052/2019 (primary) and Circular 0053/2019 (post primary).

As provided for in the Circulars, where the application for an exemption is refused, a parent/ guardian can appeal the school’s decision to the Irish Exemptions Appeal Committee (IEAC). The deliberations of the IEAC will focus solely on the process the school engaged in reaching its decision. The IEAC will consider how the school followed the process as prescribed in this Circular and the accompanying Guidelines for Primary Schools. The IEAC comprises a Principal, an Inspector and an Educational Psychologist from the NEPS service.

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