The 21st of July's open evening in Gaelscoil Ráth Tó was confirmation for the local community in Ratoath that the new school has a bright future ahead of it. A great crowd came to visit the new classroom in the Ratoath Community Centre and to meet the school’s teacher, Tricia Ní Mhaolagáin. Amongst those who gathered to wish the new school the best of luck was the boxer Bernard Dunne, the footballers Patrick O’Rourke and Caoimhín King (with the Delaney Cup in tow!) and the jockey Barry Geraghty, whose daughter is due to attend the school when it opens in September 2010.
There has been huge local interest in the new Gaelscoil. The school’s founding committee and GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. - the organisation which represents 138 Irish-medium primary schools - were very disappointed with the decision made by the Department of Education and Skills in relation to recognition for new schools for 2010. Ratoath had been included as one of the 9 areas identified in the Department of Education's plan for the provision of primary education where new schools were to be opened there in September 2010, but unfortunately Gaelscoil Ráth Tó was not granted recognition, in spite of the great demand for a new gaelscoil in the area. The school’s founding committee made the decision to open without the official recognition of the Department of Education and Skills, which means that the founding committee will be under some pressure to deliver an excellent standard of education to children in the area whose parents have chosen Irish-medium education for them.
Míchéal Ó Broin, the President of GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. has said that “the support that the local community and the public in general has given the founding committee shows that there is a real need for a gaelscoil in the area to facilitate the demand for Irish-medium education. The public has an increased awareness of the advantages of Irish-medium education in terms of the social, academic and communicative development of children. I’m very grateful to all of the Irish-medium schools who have been very generous with their donations; financial contributions, furniture, and more. I applaud the voluntary work that the members of this founding committee have dedicated themselves to for so long in order to make their vision a reality in Ratoath”.
The founding committee was very happy with the turn out at last night's event and its members are hopeful that it might increase enrolments for 2010, 2011 and subsequent years. They have received much support from Irish-language organisations, local politicians and businesses, the community in Ratoath and other Irish-medium schools around the country to help them to make the school a reality and the hearty celebrations in Gaelscoil Ráth Tó last night were evidence of that.
GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. is the national co-ordinating body for schools teaching through the medium of Irish. It helps parents and local groups to set up new schools and supports the established all-Irish schools. There are 169 primary schools and 38 secondary schools currently providing education through the medium of Irish.
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