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For those with DC in the Irish education system, are there any downsides to my DS being excused from doing Irish?

(6 Posts)
SuburbanSpaceperson Fri 14-Feb-14 11:29:41

DS has ASD and is quite difficult and oppositional about school work both in school and at home. I am very persistent about maths and English homework, but tbh I've forgotten all the Irish I've ever knew and can't help him with his Irish homework. I also don't think it's a life skill, and given all the problems he currently has just getting through the day at school it's not worth insisting that he keeps up with it. His teacher has offered to investigate whether he can be withdrawn from Irish (I assume he would need to get permission from the Dept of Ed), and I agreed that it would be helpful if he could give it up.

Are there any downsides? I doubt he's going to be a teacher or a politician, and even if he did want to do that he could probably learn as much on an intensive immersion course for six months as he will be learning in the normal course of his school career.

He's in 3rd class at the moment, so only half way through primary.

everydayaschoolday Fri 14-Feb-14 17:19:23

Hey Spacey! Try posting this in Special Needs:Children. There's lots more traffic so a better chance of someone being able to help. Afraid I have no idea about the Irish Education system. See you on the other board flowers

SummerRain Sat 15-Feb-14 21:49:48

Hi spacey, I have experience of this from both sides.

Personally I gave up Irish after the Junior Cert as it transpired I was exempt from requiring it to get into university due to my foreign birth. I simply had to write a letter to the Dept of Ed during CAO applications and received an exemption letter quite easily... I'm not sure if the exemption criteria extend to ASD yet but that's something that should be easy enough to find out. Non university third level institutions don't have Irish as an entry requirement so the only real issue will be if he wants to go straight into university after school. If he isn't likely to want that, or could wait til he's 23 and qualifies as a mature student it won't be an issue.

Be prepared to fight for it though, schools are funded per student who studies irish (or at least they were in 2001 when I did my leaving) and will often put up a fight. If he has an ASD diagnoses though you should have all the ammunition you need.

One of my boys has ASD too (in fact my youngest is going through dx atm too) and I can sympathise with the added complication that irish homework adds to things (and the inability to help). I'm lucky that ds1 tends towards the sort of mindset that collects and stores information so he does most of the work with very little input from me, his teacher is very understanding too. However he's only in 2nd class so his irish work is limited to learning words and spellings, both his teacher and I anticipate problems arising once we get to the reading comprehension and writing stage as he struggles with formulating written work in english.

I hope I've been of some help, good luck!

SuburbanSpaceperson Mon 17-Feb-14 12:01:15

Thanks SummerRain. DS is not Irish-born and doesn't have Irish citizenship (annoyingly, although I think he might qualify after he's lived here for while) so he might have more than one means of getting out of any Irish requirement for university.

I know that his primary school will be ok with him giving up Irish, they have been immensely helpful and kind about his social problems. With any luck his secondary school will be ok too. He'll be going to a fee-paying Protestant school. The fact that we will be paying a fee will hopefully mean that they don't miss the subsidy as much as a school that's more strapped for money. Prod schools (and parents and pupils) generally tend to treat learning Irish as an academic exercise rather than something of cultural significance, a bit like Latin but not as useful, so there shouldn't be any social issues arising from it, expect for a bit of envy from some of the other pupils.

elliephant Mon 17-Feb-14 12:50:34

Hi Suburb. IME an irish exemption will not necessarily hold your child back . It is an issue for college applications and there are ways around it.

Irish is required for certain jobs , guards and civil service for example but not for all colleges and universities. If you have an irish exemption colleges will take that into account and waive the irish requirement. NUI colleges require irish and sometimes a third language but if you have an exemption you can apply to them for a waive.For some of their courses such as engineering, science, nursing etc you do not need third language anyway.

Other colleges such as TCD expect a pass in English and any other language.Again however you can apply for a waiver.

Obviously if your child decides to study a subject requiring a language this would not be relevant .

Interestingly you can apply for a waiver from NUI if you were born outside the country even if you were educated in Ireland.

A school principal grants the irish exemption but they need a professional report to back up their decision ( grey area - have been a couple of quiet cases where schools/parents have successfully argued with the dept of Ed that teachers are professionals so their word is enough but few principals and parents are willing to go down this route unless they have deep pockets and their own legal firm) Speech and language therapist, ed psych, OT for example. If you need to get any reports or assessments done I would not hesitate to ask about an exemption recommendation.

With regards to school funding schools will receive the same funding for a child with an exemption so there is no financial implication for the school.

SummerRain Mon 17-Feb-14 18:47:44

Spacey, I'm 30 next month and have lived here since the age of seven and still don't have irish citizenship grin

If he was born abroad that should make things even easier.

A fee paying school will probably be quite supportive, it was when I moved to a fee paying school in 5th year that I found out I qualified for an exemption, they actually pointed it out to us and were happy to help me with applying for the dept of ed letter when I was going through university applications.

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