AN FORAS PÁTRÚNACHTA
AN FORAS PÁTRÚNACHTA was established in 1993 so that schools would have another patronage choice. AN FORAS PÁTRÚNACHTA provides a choice of characteristic spirits through the medium of Irish. Our aim is to develop and extend excellent Irish medium education throughout the country. AN FORAS PÁTRÚNACHTA is recognised by the Department of Education and Skills as a patronage system acceptable and appropriate for schools the first, second and third levels.
It is a private company without share-capital with a memorandum and articles of association. The Foras has charitable status (CHY No. 12240) as well. AN FORAS PÁTRÚNACHTA is a patron for Irish medium schools with Catholic, multi-denominational and interdenominational (Catholic/Protestant) ethos. It serves, therefore, parents who want their children to have an Irish medium education regardless of their religious background. The number of schools under AN FORAS PÁTRÚNACHTA is growing all the time. There are 59 schools at primary level and 3 schools at secondary level under our patronage at present.
There are 12 members on the board of directors, with broad representation, who are elected democratically, taking the religious categories into account.
Advantages of AN FORAS PÁTRÚNACHTA
• AN FORAS PÁTRÚNACHTA is the largest patron of Irish medium schools at primary and secondary level
• AN FORAS PÁTRÚNACHTA is the only patron established to promote Irish medium education
• AN FORAS PÁTRÚNACHTA protects our schools’ language rights
• AN FORAS PÁTRÚNACHTA protects our schools’ characteristic spirits
• AN FORAS PÁTRÚNACHTA promotes parental rights regarding the provision of Irish medium education
• AN FORAS PÁTRÚNACHTA provides training, advice and all our services through the medium of Irish
• Support for principals and for boards of management
• Support for founding committees
• There is a choice of ethos for schools of AN FORAS PÁTRÚNACHTA
• Representation on groups and committees in the Department of Education and Skills
• Lobbying on behalf of Irish medium education
• Experience in setting up and adminstrating Irish medium schools at primary and secondary level
• AN FORAS PÁTRÚNACHTA provides training for the boards of management
• Legal advice for the boards of management
• Employment advice
Some of the reasons that parents choose Irish medium education are:
• The ability of the children to speak, read and write in two languages
• It is really important for them that their children be able to speak Irish fluently
• They recognise that the child gains a particular perspective on their own culture and on other cultures
• The children are inspired to be proud of their language, of their culture and of themselves
• Development of the childrens’ self confidence and identity
• From the above it is evident that the pupils receive a complete education which means that citizens are being developed who will contribute greatly to society in this country
• An excellent academic education is provided in Irish medium schools. This is shown year after year in the results gained by the pupils of Irish medium colleges according to the transfer rate to third level (Sunday Times, March 2011)
According to research on second level education some of the outcomes for pupils who go through the system are as follows:
• They succeed better academically (Gallagher & Hanna, 2002)
• They succeed in learning third and fourth language easier (Cenoz & Valencia 1994)
• Understanding and openness to other cultures (Gallagher & Hanna, 2002)
• Improvement in cognitive function in creativity and communicative ability (Bialystok et al. 2005)
What is an Irish medium college, Gaelcholáiste?
In an Irish medium college, Gaelcholáiste, the business of the school is conducted entirely through the medium of Irish. The classes are taught through Irish except for the English classes, where the teaching is through English. There is communication through the medium of Irish among the staff, the business of the board of management is conducted in Irish and the pupils speak Irish among themselves in school and at events organised by the school.They are encouraged to speak Irish at home and outside of the school gates. The school reinforces the Irish speaking community in the school and in the wider community.
It is in the ethos of the Gaelcholáiste to be open and welcoming. To that end, they encourage parents to take part in school life through organising social events and various other activities, from Irish language classes to a parents’ committee and much more.
Immersion education system
Comprehensive research has been carried out (MET, 1998) that proves that the best method for acquiring a language is through immersion education. The immersion education system is applied in AN FORAS PÁTRÚNACHTA schools. Immersion education means that all subjects, business and transactions in the school are conducted in Irish. In this way, all apects of the language are drawn in, which means that the pupil is enabled to understand and speak it much more quickly. After conducting a review of all the research carried out on immersion education programmes in the last 30 years, Bournet-Trites & Tellowitz demonstrated that “it appears that the learning of the second language has a positive impact on skills in the first language in every study made”.
Irish and culture in the area
Dundrum and the surrounding area is a lively multicultural region with strong traditional roots. Irish now has boundless good will and there is a considerable interest in the learning and the use of Irish. Irish is very important for people living in south Dublin and a language revival has taken place in the county in the last twenty years.
The following demonstrates the good will and positive outlook on Irish that there is in south Dublin:
1. There are thirteen (13) Irish medium schools operating in south Dublin:
• Gaelscoil Chluain Dolcáin, Clondalkin, Dublin 22
• Gaelscoil Chnoc Liamhna, Lyons Hill, Dublin 16 (An Foras Pátrúnachta)
• Gaelscoil Inse Chór, Islandbridge, Dublin 8
• Gaelscoil Lios na nÓg, Ranelagh, Dublin 6 (An Foras Pátrúnachta)
• Gaelscoil Mológa, Harold’s Cross, Dublin 6W
• Gaelscoil Na Camóige, Clondalkin, Dublin 22
• Gaelscoil Phádraig, Ballybrack, Co. Dublin (an foras pátrúnachta pátrúnachta)
• Gaelscoil Thaobh na Coille, Stepaside, Dublin 18 (An Foras Pátrúnachta)
• Scoil Chaitlín Maude, Tallaght, Dublin 24
• Scoil Lorcáin, Monkstown, Co. Dublin
• Scoil Naithí, Dundrum, Dublin 16
• Scoil Naomh Brighde, Ranelagh, Dublin 6
• Scoil Santain, Tallaght, Dublin 24
There are approximately 3,530 pupils attending Irish medium primary schools in the area at present. When all these schools are operating at their full potential, it is estimated that there will be 5,531 pupils receiving their education through the medium of Irish at primary level in south Dublin. There will be a new Irish medium primary school opening in Stepaside and in Firhouse in 2013.
2. There are sixteen (16) nursery schools in south Dublin. Most of them are linked to the Irish medium schools in the area, which means that children continue their Irish medium education at primary level.
3. Irish medium colleges in the area are: Coláiste Eoin and Coláiste Íosagáin on the Stillorgan Road, Coláiste de hÍde in Tallaght and Coláiste Chillian Clondalkin. Gael-Choláiste an Phiarsaigh is earnestly looking forward to cooperating with them in promoting Irish medium education in the area.
4. There are two youth clubs in the area that organise activities for young people through the medium of Irish weekly in the area.
5. The Irish medium schools and colleges provide Irish language classes for adults.
6. There is a conversation circle in Dundrum Library every Monday Morning.
7. There are branches of Conradh na Gaeilge, Tany area community groiups, a committee of Glór na nGael and Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann operating in the area.
8. Local activities take place during Seachtain na Gaeilge each year.
9. The 2006 Census showed that the number of Irish speakers has grown, from 394,240 (2002 Census) go 410,669 (2006 Census) in Dublin and we believe strongly that this figure has grown since.
Characteristic Spirit of Gaelcholáiste an Phiarsaigh
The Irish language Irish will be the language of communication in the school among pupils, staff and board of management and a very high standard of education will be provided in all subjects, including English. The immersion system applies in schools of AN FORAS PÁTRÚNACHTA because it is recognised that this is the most effective system to acquire the language. There are many advantages associated with bilingual education and they are described below. Advantages associated with bilingualism include the following; higher self confidence, increase in cognative ability and greater ability in the second language (English in the case of Irish medium schools). Immersion education promotes bilingualism in a natural way, as well as developing dual literacy at the same time.
This develops and expands the pupils’ creativity and communicative sensitivity. The child experiences an increase in self confidence as a result of bilingualism, which fosters a deeper understanding of their self identity. The pupils are immersed by the Irish medium college ethos in Irish culture, on both a formal and informal basis. As a result of this, a deeper understanding and respect is fostered for the multiculturalism of today’s society.
Research evidence published by the Department of Education in the North of Ireland has shown that past pupils of Irish medium schools have a very positive view of the educational and cultural experience they gained at school. It was indicated also that they were more open to cultural diversity and that they had deeper tolerance for these cultures because of the experience of cultural enrichment they had gained.
Gael-Choláiste an Phiarsaigh is a multi-denominational, coeducational Irish medium college, which will be socially and culturally inclusive, and which will provide an excellent standard of education through the medium of Irish. It will promote a positive self image of the pupil and respect for all, for culture, for the community and for the environment:
• A welcoming multi-denominational approach will operate in the school. The pupils will learn about various religions and belief systems. There will be an emphasis on the moral, ethical and spiritual development of the pupil.
• The board of management has a duty to protect the characteristic spirit of the school and it is responsible to the patron to do so.
Since Gael-Choláiste an Phiarsaigh has a multi-denominational ethos, pupils from all social, cultural and religious backgrounds will be shown the same respect. In an area as multcultural as this, it would be appropriate that pupils from all the various backgrounds attending Irish medium schools at present should be able to continue receiving their education through the medium of Irish in Gael-Choláiste an Phiarsaigh.
A high value is placed on the input of parents in Irish medium colleges. The involvement of parents and partnership of the staff give a significant perspective to the pupils on practical cooperation in the community. This supports the values that will be promoted in the school and it encourages the pupils to work together in a wide range of settings to acheive agreed aims.
The school will be pupil centred, multi-denominational and coeducational. Particular emphasis will be place on the different parties working hand in hand to create an excellent school. Regardless of social, cultural or religious backgrounds of the pupils they and their families will be a central part of the school community.
The New Framework for the Junior Cycle will apply for September 2014. Gael-Choláiste an Phiarsaigh will provide a programme of work on the New Framework and there will be a full curriculum available as set out below in accordance with the rules of the Department of Education and Skills. Subjects will be made available in accordance with the National Curriculum and in accordance with the approach recommended by the New Framework. The choice of subjects will be increased in accordance with pupil demand. When the school reaches its full potential the broadest possible range will be made available. Proposed curriculum for the Junior Certificate:
• Civil, Social and Political Education
• Business Studies
• Foreign Language, for example: French, Spanis, German
• Home Economics
• Technical Graphics
• Material (Wood)
• Physical Education
Other subjects available at Junior Level include Latin/Classical Studies and Italian/Ancient Greek. Just as with most schools at second level, these subjects may be made available depending on demand. All subjects will be offered as a choice to all pupils regardless of gender.
All pupils have particular needs. These needs will be recognised and individual plans will be provided for them. Education provision will therefore be made for all pupils based on the continuum of assistance recommended by NEPS and adhering to the Education Act 1998, the EPSEN Act 2004, as well as various Department directives and circulars on learning.
Pupils with special needs are fully catered for in Foras schools. Assistance is provided to pupils to ensure they do as well as possible in the school. There are pupils with the same needs as are in English schools receiving their education in schools of AN FORAS PÁTRÚNACHTA. These needs include dislexia, dispraxia and ADHD. Our schools emphasise the whole development of our pupils. This means that each pupil receives the chance to develop and demonstrate their skills and talents in school life. As a result of the process each pupil, regardless of their academic ability, is fully involved in the life of the school. The result of this is that the pupil develops as a self confident person who actively participates in society.