Episode 004: Make a decision on Gaelscoileannaanseo's podcast add
Let’s call a spade a spade. As much as Gaelscoileanna don’t encourage it, they have become an unofficial “private school” for Middle Ireland. Everybody knows it but saying it out loud attracts vitriol like no other. So, I’m saying it. I can only go on my own experiences but if you go to almost any area where there is a Gaelscoil built next to a non-Gaelscoil, it won’t be too long before you’ll see.
It’s not a criticism of Gaelscoileanna and, in fairness, there’s nothing they can really do about it. Their aim is to have as many people in Ireland learning through the Irish language and, I guess, it doesn’t really matter what the motivation is. The problem, unfortunately, is that for all the increases in Gaelscoileanna, there is still very little Irish being spoken from day to day in this country, even by those who send their children to Gaelscoileanna (and from what I hear also from children in Gaelscoileanna on yard!)
Anyway, even if I am wrong, we still face a massive problem with our native language in that almost nobody speaks it on a daily basis. However, ask anyone on the street, you’re likely to find people would like to be able to speak it.
Why don’t we kill two birds with one stone? How about we make all primary schools into Gaelscoileanna? This will ensure everyone has access to their native language and there will be no need for parents to drive past several schools to get to the only Gaelscoil.
However, maybe we should decide not to have Gaelscoileanna at all and teach Gaeilge in all schools in the same way – as a subject?
Episode 003:Fund ICT properly, not as part of minor worksanseo's podcast add
We’re well used to cuts in primary school. Over the last decade or so, funding to primary schools has been chopped at every angle, sometimes very obviously and sometimes in a kind of invisible way.
The Minor Works Grant is paid to schools for minor repair work that needs to be done. This has been the case for a long time. However, the Minor Works Grant is now issued to include the purchase and maintenance of ICT equipment.
In this episode I track the history of technology in education leading to this "cut" by stealth. I also acknowledge the latest round of funding and give some advice on how best to spend it.
Special Episode: Cumasú is Coming at Youanseo's podcast add
Joe McHugh used to be famous for being the Minister for the Gaeltacht despite not speaking Irish. He then became famous for re-learning the Irish language to fluency. Now he just can’t stop talking Irish, so it’s no surprise that the latest Action Plan for Education has an Irish name, Cumasú, which sounds a lot more interesting than its English translation.
Thankfully, McHugh has kept his big promise of ensuring a slowdown to the initiatives in education as his Action Plan has only 280 of them! In fairness to him, not all 280 of them are relevant to primary level, so I decided to go through them and you can too! Here’s the link to the document: https://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Corporate-Reports/Strategy-Statement/action-plan-for-education-2019.pdf
Episode 002: Give equal funding to primary and second levelanseo's podcast add
In some ways, everyone probably already knows that secondary schools are funded better than primary schools. However, to what extent is this true? In this episode, I explore the different areas where primary schools are left behind and I argue that in most cases there is no good reason.
Before that, we look at any relevant news that hit the newspapers this week including: why we aren't teaching Irish badly, a new General Secretary and a senator's plans to get us all teaching yoga!
Main episode content starts at 11 minutes.
Episode 001: Separate Church and Stateanseo's podcast add
For our first episode I thought we'd start with a light, unemotive topic! In 2019, 97.5% of Irish primary schools have a religious patron body, with all but 3 of these schools under a Christian patronage. However, with Ireland already a diverse country, with 20% not falling under the Christian umbrella, and many people turning away from traditional Christian values, how is this still happening, and why?
Even more strangely, publicly the Taoiseach has stated he would like complete church and state separation, and even the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland has declared there needs to be more diversity in schooling in the country.
This episode explores the history of our education system before delving into why religion is so rooted in our primary school system.