The press release from An Foras Pátrúnachta in relation to the Action Plan for Education is available here.
Thursday, 15th September 2016
An Foras Pátrúnachta welcomes measures to increase educational choice and tackle disadvantage
The largest patron of Irish medium schools in Ireland, An Foras Pátrúnachta has today welcomed commitments by the Government to increase the number of multi-denominational schools to 400 by 2030 and the targets set out to tackle educational disadvantage. The three year Action Plan for Education published today by Minister Bruton also includes welcome commitments on promoting wellbeing in schools, improving teacher education and a commitment to strengthening Irish language learning in Gaeltacht areas.
However, the Irish medium schools’ patron has highlighted concerns about the lack of focus
on the provision of increased Irish medium education.
Commenting today, Caoimhín Ó hEaghra, General Secretary of An Foras Pátrúnachta, said: ‘‘This action plan is a welcome strategic approach to education in Ireland and we look forward to working with the Minister on its implementation. The Action Plan outlines that the Government’s 20 Year Strategy for the Irish Language 2010-2030 will underpin and be integrated into this plan, however, An Foras Pátrúnachta is deeply concerned at the lack of emphasis in the plan in relation to Irish medium education provision.
“As the largest patron of Irish medium schools in Ireland, An Foras Pátrúnachta schools are now educating 15,000 students per annum and our schools are open to all children. Our aim is to provide an excellent education through the Irish language to every child in Ireland who wants it, regardless of faith or geographical location.”
‘‘Every parent should have the choice to send their child to an Irish medium education school if they wish. Demand and support from the public for the expansion of Irish medium education is increasing. We know from ESRI 2015 research that 23% of parents asked would send their children to an Irish-medium primary school if one was available close to their home, an increase of 10% since 2001.
“We also know that immersive education is excellent education. The benefits of this type of education through the medium of Irish are well documented – students perform better academically, find it easier to learn a third and fourth language and also recent research indicates that students learning through Irish are achieving higher scores in English and Maths.
‘‘We are eager to work with the Minister and with other education stakeholders to ensure that this Action plan is implemented and monitored. We look forward to continue to work with the Government to make sure that Irish medium education is a priority and that the Strategy for the Irish Language is implemented.”
Contact: Sarah Harte / Laura Harmon DHR Communications, Tel: 087-9858259 / 086-1738455 / 01-4200580
About An Foras Pátrúnachta: An Foras Pátrúnachta is a national patron for both primary and second level schools with a range of spiritual ethos i.e. Multi-denominational, Inter-denominational or Catholic. They seek to develop, strengthen and promote education through the medium of Irish throughout the country. www.foras.ie