Gearóid Mac Ádhaimh, Chairperson of Comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta (the body charged by the Department of Education with responsibility for the development of Irish-medium education in the north) welcomes the recent decision by the Pre-school Education Group to approve the newly established Irish-medium pre-school provision in Swatragh and Toomebridge.
Mr Mac Ádhaimh believes that this new provision is a reflection of the wider community’s appreciation of the benefits of a bilingual education for children.
He explained: “These communities have embarked on an educational journey which will enrich their children’s and their respective communities’ lives. They are opening a door to the educational and cultural benefits that flow from bilingualism and immersion-education.”
He continued, “We endeavour to make Irish-medium education accessible to as many communities as possible in the north and do so within the context of area planning. These newly established preschools (naíscoileanna) enable us to respond to demand within the community for further Irish Medium Education development and provision.
“The establishment and approval of the three new settings is a significant development for our sector as it is the first time that we have established three new Irish Medium settings in the same year. This development is reflective of the growing demand from the community for Irish Medium. There are now over 6000 children being educated in the sector and with overall numbers set to rise again in this coming year.”
Mr Mac Ádhaimh praised the role of those local people who gave of their own time and energy to make pre-school IME available to their communities. He also recognised the commitment and financial support provided by the All-Ireland language body, Foras na Gaeilge and of Iontaobhas na Gaelscolaíochta (the Trust Fund for IME in the north) stating, “the three communities’ desire to have IME provision on their doorsteps would not have been possible without the belief, drive and commitment of those organisations and individuals.
“I would like also to thank and give recognition to the great work and support given to the new Naíscoils by our partner organisation Altram, the support group for Irish Medium early years projects. The support of Altram’s Early Years Advisory service has been invaluable to getting the projects off the ground.”
Comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta looks forward to working with all our partners in assisting the further development of Irish Medium Education in these three communities as we advise and support them to their next stages of provision of Irish Medium Education and the strengthening of the Irish Language in their areas.
For more information or to register your child please contact: John on 07855902093 (Naíscoil na Fíobha, Toomebridge) or Malachaí on 07746930591 (Naíscoil Ghreanacháin, Swatragh).