Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar
Gnáthamharc

Irish Language

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 19 October 2021

Tuesday, 19 October 2021

Ceisteanna (546, 547, 548, 549, 550, 551)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Ceist:

546. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education the estimated cost of providing a one-day Irish language training course for all school staff in the State. [50466/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Ceist:

547. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education the estimated cost of providing a one-day Irish language training course for all primary teachers in the State and for all post-primary teachers in the State. [50467/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Ceist:

548. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education the estimated cost providing a one-day Irish language refresher course for all teachers in Irish medium education. [50468/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Ceist:

549. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education the estimated cost of providing a three-day Irish language training course for all school staff in the State. [50469/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Ceist:

550. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education the estimated cost of providing a three-day Irish language training course for all primary teachers in the State and for all post-primary teachers in the State. [50470/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Ceist:

551. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education the estimated cost providing a three-day Irish language refresher course for all teachers in Irish medium education. [50471/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 546 to 551, inclusive, together.

The recruitment and appointment of teachers to fill teaching posts is a matter for the individual school authority, subject to procedures agreed under Section 24 of the Education Act 1998 (as amended by the Education (Amendment) Act 2012). In accordance with Department Circulars 0044/2019 and 31/2011, schools are required to employ appropriately qualified and registered teachers.

The principal of the school, with the support of the board, is responsible for promoting the professional development of teachers in line with the changing priority needs of the school. Schools can access a range of continuing professional development opportunities provided by national support services, higher-education institutes and/or local education centres.

At primary, all teachers must be qualified to teach the range of subjects as outlined in the Primary School Curriculum -1999 (Curaclam na Bunscoile) to children in all classes. The ability to speak Irish proficiently and to use Irish as the language of incidental communication in the classroom is a prerequisite for teaching for all teachers. This is reflected in the Teaching Council’s Criteria and Guidelines for Programme Providers (2011, updated in 2017), against which all programmes of Initial Teacher Education (ITE) are accredited, where Gaeilge is a mandatory element of all primary programmes.

Between 2019 and 2020, the Council reviewed its policy on standards for programmes of ITE in advance of the second cycle of review and accreditation of programmes of ITE. Feedback from this process was incorporated into the revised standards: Céim: Standards for Initial Teacher Education (2020). These revised standards apply to all new programmes seeking accreditation and to all existing programmes’ first year intakes from September 2022.

The new Teaching Council Standards state that all primary level ITE programmes shall address, student teachers’ confidence and competence in Irish, including oral Irish, needs to be developed to a sufficient level to enable them to teach the Gaeilge primary curriculum. (This includes, but is not limited to language learning as part of the Gaeltacht learning period).

Development of revised post-primary subject requirements by the Teaching Council also seek to ensure a meaningful Gaeltacht residency for teachers at that level.

A number of actions under the Policy for Gaeltacht Education are being implemented by my Department to increase the supply and Irish-language proficiency of Primary and Post-Primary teachers who can teach through the medium of Irish, at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. These include:

- A new four-year Irish-medium B.Ed. for primary teachers, which has additional Irish-language entry and exit criteria, and which commenced in Marino Institute of Education in 2019, and

- A new two-year blended-learning Irish-medium M.Ed. in Irish-medium and Gaeltacht Education, also with additional Irish-language entry and exit criteria, for primary and post-primary teachers and principals, that commenced in Mary Immaculate College in 2018.

- Provision for two seconded teachers in the Máistir Gairmiúil san Oideachas in NUI, Galway for post-primary teachers with proficiency to teach through the medium of Irish and availability of COGG bursaries has boosted the uptake of post-primary teachers on this programme.

My Department also proposes to introduce a new Post-Primary PME blended-learning teacher education programme through the medium of Irish.

Following on from the publication of the Teacher Supply Action Plan, since 2019 HEIs have put in place a number of new four-year undergraduate ITE programmes, which aim to increase the supply of post-primary teachers of targeted subjects, including Irish. These programmes provide 120 new places for students annually, who on graduation will be qualified to teach Irish in post-primary schools, with the first graduates expected in 2023. In addition to the new four-year programmes, my Department is currently planning for the introduction during 2021/22 of a new flexible programme to upskill post-primary teachers to teach Irish. I am also pleased that a new Level 9 part-time Certificate course for post-primary subject teachers in Irish-medium schools, Aonaid lán-Ghaeilge or Gaeltacht schools, has recently commenced in Mary Immaculate College.

I also believe that it is important that we provide short term flexible supports to teachers who want to maintain or improve their level of Irish and I am glad that there are a range of these supports available via the Department funded Teacher Education Support Services, local Education Centres, summer courses and indeed programmes offered by other stakeholders such as the INTO, ETBI and school management bodies.

Engagement with the professional development supports and networks, that are available from the Department funded support services and from other bodies, can help teachers to improve their confidence and competence in Irish, as well as their pedagogy.

My Department through its teacher education funded support services, offers high quality and relevant continuing professional development (CPD) through the medium of Gaeilge to teachers and school leaders in a range of pedagogical, curricular, leadership and educational areas. Core CPD and school supports are provided as Gaeilge by the support services to schools which are operating through the medium of Irish.

My Department's is currently focusing on national delivery of the Primary Language Curriculum. A comprehensive continuing professional development programme is in place to support the implementation of the new Primary Language Curriculum. Teachers, as part of this professional development, receive advice on the use of different approaches to teach Irish and to use Irish as the medium of instruction across other aspects of the curriculum.

There are a range of models of CPD support that may be provided to schools such as face to face, on-line or blended learning which all result is varying costs. In general, a face to face event will attract costs for facilitators, venue cost, travel and subsistence and substitute costs. A one day face to face event for 30 teachers can be estimated at €7,500 assuming substitute cover is made available for those teachers attending.

Question No. 547 answered with Question No. 546.
Question No. 548 answered with Question No. 546.
Question No. 549 answered with Question No. 546.
Question No. 550 answered with Question No. 546.
Question No. 551 answered with Question No. 546.
Barr
Roinn