Plans to teach subjects through Irish at a Donegal school are dropped

Lack of interest among students in Irish programme

Declan Magee


Declan Magee


Plans to teach subjects through Irish are dropped

Abbey Vocational School in Donegal Town

Plans to have students study up to seven subjects through Irish at a Donegal secondary school have been suspended due to a lack of interest.
It had been announced in January that an Aonad Gaeilge was to be established in the Abbey Vocational School, Donegal town, under the management of Donegal Education and Training Board (ETB).
However, a lack of interest in the programme has lead to its suspension and the programme is to be reviewed.
Only if there is sufficient interest next year will the Aonad Gaeilge begin.Donegal ETB chief executive Anne McHugh said the absence of a viable cohort of students opting to enroll in the Aonad in September contributed to the decision to postpone the introduction. The situation will be reviewed over the coming year.The ETB director of Schools Dr Martin Gormley said that a huge effort has gone into the programme from the school staff and board of management, but there was not enough interest to make the programme viable for September.
“When push came to shove the numbers don't add up and it did not represent a viable cohort,” he said.He said the programme was suspended for this year and postponed until next year “if there is firm interest”.
The Donegal ETB had met with parents and students from two local feeder schools - Gaelscoil Éirne in Ballyshannon and Gaelscoil na gCeithre Máistrí in Donegal Town and also held open nights.
The Aonad Gaeilge is planned to cater for students who wish to be educated in Irish. When announced in January, the ETB said the Anonad had developed from an identified need by a community of parents to have their children educated in an Irish-medium post-primary setting.
The initial commitment by the school was to offer the curriculum up to the completion of the Junior Cycle.
The subjects offered in the Aonad Gaeilge would include: gaeilge, maths, history, geography, science and religion. Physical education; civics, social and political education; and social, personal and health education, will come under the new wellbeing subject in the Aonad.