Sunday 17 December 2017

Ethnic pupils 'not being taught enough English' in our schools

Katherine Donnelly

CHILDREN from non-Irish backgrounds are not being taught enough English in school to allow them to learn other subjects, primary principals said yesterday.

Failure to provide necessary support to schools with up to 90pc of pupils from non-Irish families is causing frustration, a lack of integration and leading to ghettoisation they warned.

Principals told the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Education and Science they were not being given the resources to deliver a proper education to their pupils.

Teachers and principals faced their own challenges dealing with cultural differences "they do not know or fully understand", the committee heard. But if the principals were hoping to engage with the main Government party about the hard facts of life in schools they were disappointed.

Of the seven Fianna Fail committee members, five were absent without explanation. Senator Brian O'Domhnaill had sent an apology, while Donegal TD Cecilia Keaveney put in two brief appearances -- one after the collective absence of Fianna Fail members was noted.

Embarrassing

The other Fianna Fail members are TDs Beverley Flynn, Mary Wallace, Michael Moynihan, Tom McEllistrim and Sean O Fearghail.

Fine Gael deputy Ulick Burke said the poor attendance was embarrassing, while the chair, Green Party education spokesman Paul Gogarty, said it "beggared belief". Tony McGinley, principal of St John the Evangelist national school, Adamstown, west Dublin, said the schools were dealing with "cultural differences they did not fully know or understand, including discipline issues, and in some instances, complicated further by tribal differences from within the one country".

Brendan Forde, principal of St Nicholas national school, Claddagh, Galway, said the lack of English-language support meant children failed to progress, sometimes became frustrated, and developed a dislike of school.

Treasa Lowe, principal of Scoil Choilm Community National School, in Porterstown, Dublin 15, said the majority of her pupils had very little interaction with after-school activities and a large proportion of parents struggled with reading and writing.

Irish Independent

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