Gaelscoil Ráth Tó, the Irish-language school in Rataoth, Co. Meath which will open on 30 August without official recognition, held an Open Day for parents in the school premises on Wednesday, 21 July 2010.
Sporting personalities such as boxer Bernard Dunne and Meath football players Patrick O'Rourke and Caoimhín King came along to show their support for Gaelscoil Ráth Tó's founding committee's decision to open the first new gaelscoil since 2008.
In spite of the Department of Education and Skills' refusal to grant recognition to the school, the first pupils will begin their education through Irish in Gaelscoil Ráth Tó this year, with the support of Aitheantas.
The Aitheantas campaign was established by four national Irish-language organisations - Comhluadar, Conradh na Gaeilge, Glór na nGael and An Foras Pátrúnachta - to support the parents of Gaelscoil Ráth Tó and the national demand for all-Irish education.
Seán Ó Buachalla
Gaelscoil Ráth Tó Founding Committee
+353 (0)85 7788486
Feargal Ó Cuilinn
+353 (0)87 2908391
History of Gaelscoil Ráth Tó
Efforts to set up Gaelscoil Ráth Tó (Ratoath Gaelscoil) began in August 2008, when a number of parents and Irish-language enthusiasts came together to try to set up a gaelscoil in Ratoath. Ratoath is an area in which there is a burgeoning population, but which is the only town in South-East Meath without a gaelscoil to provide Irish-language education for local children.
A founding committee was set up shortly afterwards and efforts began in earnest to make the school a reality, with a target date of autumn 2010 for the opening of the school. Those involved with the project noticed a huge local interest in the venture and over 30 local children were soon signed up as the school's first junior infants class. Other achievements during this period were the pledging of a site for the permanent school structure by a local landowner in Ratoath and the agreement of Foras Pátrúnachta na Scoileanna Lán-Ghaeilge to become the school's official patron.
The Department of Education announced in late 2009 that a new school would be needed in Ratoath, based on demographic projections and those involved in lobbying for the gaelscoil were confident that they would be recognised as the new school for Ratoath. However, the Department changed this analysis in February 2010 and announced that no new school would be established in Ratoath in 2010, despite their earlier claims, something which was a deep disappointment to all involved in the gaelscoil campaign, especially to those wishing to send their child to the gaelscoil in 2010.
It was then that a group of four Irish-language organisations came together to support and encourage the establishment of the school on an unofficial basis with the founding committee and all the parents involved, in an effort to pressurise the Department into recognising the school. The organisations involved are Glór na nGael, Foras Pátrúnachta na Scoileanna Lán-Ghaeilge, Comhluadar and Conradh na Gaeilge. These four organisations came together to create a campaign called Aitheantas (Irish for recognition) to support and assist with the setting up of the new gaelscoil in Ratoath.
Gaelscoileanna are the fastest growing sector in Irish education today, however no new gaelscoileanna have been given official recognition since 2008 and many involved in Irish-language education and promotion felt that the growth of Irish-language education was being hindered by the official authorities and that a stand had to be taken on the issue of the recognition of Gaelscoil Ráth Tó, not just as a local issue, but as a national one about official facilitating of Irish-language education. Not only does the campaign seek to see Gaelscoil Ráth Tó officially recognised by the Department, but also to see a change in the criteria used for the recognition of new schools by the Department, specifically in relation to language choice and the language rights of both parents and children to Irish-language education if they so wish.
This campaign is primarily concerned with raising the necessary funds to run the school on an unrecognised basis and on lobbying both educational and political authorities to see Gaelscoil Ráth Tó given full state recognition as soon as possible. Given our current status, all donations would be greatly appreciated.
Gaelscoil Ráth Tó is delighted to announce the appointment of its first teacher, Tricia Ní Mhaolagáin. This was achieved with the assistance of the above-mentioned Irish-language organisations. Gaelscoil Ráth Tó will be opening in the Ratoath Community Centre. The school is still accepting registrations for this coming school term; classes will begin on 30 August 2010.
Gaelscoil Ráth Tó
39 An Seanmhuileann, Bóthar Thigh na Sióg, Ráth Tó, Co. na Mí.