Conradh na Gaeilge has hailed the achievements in the Irish-medium education sector (IME) as the highlight of this year's Seachtain na Gaeilge, an Irish-language ‘week’ that celebrates the language around the world each March. Bunscoil an tSléibhe Dhuibhe situated in Ballymurphy, Co. Antrim, recently received an outstanding inspection report from the Education and Training Inspectorate (ETI). The announcement that enrolment figures are set to double at Gaelcholáiste Dhoire, the second full-immersion IM post-primary school in the north, is another significant development for the sector.
Two IM primary schools – Gaelscoil Aodha Rua in Dungannon, Co. Tyrone, and Gaelscoil Éanna in Glengormley, Co. Antrim – have also been placed on the Department of Education’s capital list by the Minister due to the schools’ rapid growth and expansion.
Gaelcholáiste Dhoire, the second Irish-medium post-primary College in the north, was officially opened on Thursday, 10 March 2016, by Education Minister, John O’Dowd MLA. At the event, Diarmuid Ó Bruadair, Principal of Gaelcholáiste Dhoire, announced that there were 33 pupils registered for the 2016-2017 academic year with a further 6 pupils registering the school as their second preference choice. They will join the first year intake of 16 pupils at the school in Dungiven Castle, Co. Derry, this September.
The inspection report for Bunscoil an tSléibhe Dhuibh was published on 11 March 2016, and the report clearly indicates that the school is attaining the highest standards in all aspects including learning provision, leadership and management, and in the nursery provision. At the end of key stage 2, the pupils are 'reading with fluency and expression in both Irish and English', endorsing the 'bilingual additive' according to Ciarán Mac Giolla Bhéin, Advocacy Manager for Conradh na Gaeilge, who said:
“The continued growth of Gaelcholáiste Dhoire and the outstanding inspection report received by Bunscoil an tSléibhe Dhuibh are a cause for celebration. There has been a clear gap in post-primary IM provision outside of Belfast and the County Derry Irish-language community has laid a strong foundation for the future of this provision. The enrolment figures for the incoming school year indicate that the community is supporting this development which is providing a high quality educational provision and building and supporting the emerging language community in rural Derry.
“The publication of the inspection report on Bunscoil an tSléibhe Dhuibh is evidence of the high standard of education the Irish-Medium Sector provides, and critically, in areas of socio-economic disadvantage such as this. A bilingual education is an excellent education and IM schools serve their communities extremely well."
The official press release made by the Department of Education regarding the official opening of Gaelcholáiste Dhoire is available at: https://www.deni.gov.uk/news/odowd-officially-opens-new-post-primary-irish-medium-school-dungiven
The official inspection report for Bunscoil an tSléibhe Dhuibh is available at: http://www.etini.gov.uk/index/inspection-reports/inspection-reports-primary/inspection-reports-primary-2016/primary-inspection-bunscoil-an-tsleibhe-dhuibh-belfast.pdf