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Irish Language

Volume 264: debated on Monday 23 October 1995

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To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what new proposals he has to improve the access to Irish medium education and teaching of Irish as a second language. [38638]

I am prepared to respond to proposals for grant-aiding Irish-medium schools where they are clearly viable in terms of parental support and where financial support would be compatible with the provision of effective education and the avoidance of unreasonable public expenditure. The teaching of Irish as a second language is a matter for individual schools within the common curriculum requirements. A wide range of support is available to schools to assist them in making such provision.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what proposals he has to use expertise from Wales and Scotland on second language education in Celtic languages to improve the teaching of Irish. [38643]

None. In Northern Ireland, teachers of Irish, and other European languages, as a second language have a range of curriculum support material available to them, and the education and library boards' curriculum advisory and support services provides in-service training in the teaching of modern languages as for all other aspects of the curriculum. These local materials and services are designed to meet the needs of teachers in Northern Ireland, and the boards commission any external contribution to the services they provide as they consider necessary.