Speaking about the new specifications launched today Fitzgerald commented; “The strengthening of Irish is a core goal of the Government’s 20 year strategy on the Irish Language. The introduction of new specifications for Junior Cycle Irish represents a significant change from existing approaches to the teaching, learning and assessment of Irish at junior cycle level.
“The new Junior Cycle specifications for Irish will place a strong focus on the spoken language. Emphasis will be put on Irish as the language of learning and communication in classrooms as well as an emphasis on the skills required to communicate effectively with other users of the language. Communication, opportunities for use and interaction are central to classroom tasks. It is particularly pertinent that this new specifications are being launched here in Clondalkin, which has a strong community of Gaeilgeoirí based around Aras Chronain.
“The new Junior Cycle gives students better learning opportunities, and rewards and recognises non-academic performance and achievements, with a central focus on the student’s quality of life, wellbeing and mental health.
“My colleagues and I in Government are strongly committed to implementing the actions in the 20-Year Strategy for Irish and the Gaeltacht Education Strategy, the first ever strategy for Gaeltacht Education which was launched last year. The new specifications which are being launched here today will encourage and promote more spoken Irish in the home, school and community.
“A central part of being the best is our ability to support our students with the skills to be global citizens, to understand other cultures and societies, as well as the skills to function and thrive in the modern economy. The study of modern foreign languages enables students to develop these skills and their enjoyment of these languages.
“Through practical engagement in the areas of art, craft and design students will develop self-confidence, inquisitiveness, imagination, and creativity. They will also develop authentic, real-world problem-solving capacities and the capacity to work over time, as an individual and in groups, on the design and execution of artistic and aesthetic tasks.
“Student mental health and wellbeing are key goals in the Government’s Action Plan for Education. The wellbeing programme will include learning opportunities to enhance the physical, mental, emotional and social well-being of students. It will enable students to build life skills and develop a strong sense of connectedness to their school and to their community.
“As local TD, I know that Coláiste Bríde has a strong track record of promoting wellbeing amongst students. It is now important that all students throughout the country will have the opportunity of partaking in a wellbeing programme from this September.”