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Admission to gaelscoils in Dublin - am I a bit sensitive?

Question:

Have to be quick as I'm at work!
Now my Ds is only 6 months, but as we'll be travelling for the next year or two, I thought I'd put him down for schools sooner rather than later. I was quite the whiz at Irish in school, and love the idea of him having two languages - if he's able for it of course, I'll better be able to gauge as he gets a little older! - so I thought I'd put him down for a Gaelscoil primary. Must mention that I have rubbish Irish now, sadly, but presumably it would come back....
Anyway, there are two side by side near where I live in Dublin, so I rang both, and got very different replies... in the smaller one (I think) they couldn't have been nicer, took the name, gave me a phone no to chat to the principle etc - very nice indeed.
In the larger one, which I think is more established, the lady essentially told me that I had better have a back up plan, as they got 200 applicants each year. Well, I'm getting in early as I thought, so does that not count? Evidently not: siblings get first pref (that's fair enough), and after that, children who are being raised through Irish already. She couldn't have sounded less enthusiastic about me and my child. In not so many words, she told me to forget about it.
I guess it is fair that children raised through Irish should get Gaelscoil places - I just feel that its unfair on those kids who don't have that kind of family around them don't get a chance at it at all! And I suppose you could say to me that if its that important to me, I should start some Irish with DS myself - and I will. But I was wondering if anyone has any experience with these two schools? And is the bigger one worth my while to keep trying at? I'm sure you know where I'm talking about...
I think I'm just so offended that a school wouldn't want my wonderful little boy! Don't they know what they'll be missing out on?!!
Answers:
that is the exact same thing that happened to me in bray. the more established one did not want to know me as i dont have much irish even the fact the the dh is fluent made no difference. I got a great response from the smaller school and he has been there ever since hmmmm i wonder are we talking about the same place or does the same thing happen everywhere.
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Boe - the ones I'm talking about are closer to the city centre. Sounds like a universal thing though.
Does your little guy like gaelscoil?
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he loves it and is great at the irish, His little sister is starting there in september too. they are like chalk and cheese so i hope she enjoys it just as much as he is.
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Even if there wasn't irish in the home, surely you are entitled to start it in the home? If I were you I'd call to the school and ask for their application form, fill it out and at least have the option of him attending there. It's almost the same practice in all schools now, the siblings of the children already in the school get first offer, (makes more sence to be honest, I'd be mad if DD didn't get into the same school as DS), but you should def get his name down.
If the small school is well funded, maybe your DS would get more attention, maybe class sizes are smaller too?
Don't let the attitide of that crabby one put you off, she'll prob be gone by the time your DS is there!!
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Kitty,
Where are you based. It sounds like the same reception I got at both and in my case I have a friend who knows the principal in the smaller one and in the other has a friend who is a teacher.
The bigger one is having issues with the prinicpal and my friend's friend told me not to go for the larger one, if given the option. It seems people are pulling their kids out of it because of her and that teachers are leaving to go to the smaller one. She said her friend was trying to tell me subtly on the day I met her about the issues but obviously couldn't on school grounds and it explained the reception I got from the secretary about having alternative plans. I'm not naming where I am in fairness to the school... but if you PM me I will have a chat about it.
Gillean
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Well I was told that it wouldn't be suitable for my son to attend when they heard that DH Is English, he woudn't be "comfortable" was the term they used!!! Put me righ off!
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Er, is that not discrimination?
Megan
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My thoughts exactly, get onto a memeber of the board of management, usually there's a priest and someone else high in the community, complain. My guess is you're not going to send him not, but you still should complain this, there are plenty of red-headed freckly pure and pure 'irish bred' people in this country who don't give a hoot about the irish language, you shouldn't have to fit into any category to learn a particular language,
Answers:
Hi Kitty.
sorryto hear you are getting the run around from the schools already....your location sounds remarkably like where I am from, established GS and new one almost next door (or will be soon).
Pip&pop, would love the goss so pm me if you can.
My DS goes to the "established" school and I think that they deliberately try and make it difficult (maybe thats the wrong word) for parents, I am guessing there are a couple of reasons, the first being that lots of people put their names down for loads of schools because of the crisis in getting places...if this is the same school, when I first put DS name down there was a huge waiting list but there are only 29 in his class now so you can see how many people drop out (they have capacity to be a 2 stream school but only have 1 class this year, presumably as a result of the bouncer like attitude of the secretary. Anyways, I would disregard the secretary trying to put you off and if you feel its the school for you then persist. My irish is pretty brutal but DH is quite good...I started taking parents classes to improve my conversational irish and will try and speak to DS as gaeilge about his day etc. I can assure you that there is only limited irish spoken by the parents in the yard and that although the school like you to make an effort with the Dia dhuit, slan stuff, all communication with the teachers is in english (and irish). The second reason I think they try to put people off is that it is such a huge choice to make, educating your child through irish, and will definitely require committment from you to help make the transition easier for your child. If parents are anyway half hearted (not that saying of course that you are or would be) then the child may struggle a bit through these crucial years. i am only surmising that perhaps some kids have left the school for reasons like this previously and I am sure it was traumatic for kids and parents alike to have to make a choice to change schools etc and perhaps they are trying to prevent it happening (a dubious method in any case).
Anyway, this is just my tuppence worth..if it is the same location, then I believe that both schools are very good and don't be put off by the secretary in one or influenced by the enthusiasm of the other (they are not open a year yet so keen to get as many kids on the roll as possible as funding is based on class size).
You won't need to make a decision until approx easter before your child is due to start and you can then make your decision based on other criteria, like class size, location, facilities, sports hall/area, other children/parents you know attending etc. It is at this point you can start schmoozing up to the school and convince them how committed you are. At the end of the day, its siblings first and then children being raised through irish!!! em hello, how many of them would there be! All you need to do is tell them why you think its important, I wrote a letter along with my application (well actually my gaelgoir friend wrote it, I dictate dit!) and little things like that will help your application stand out if thats what you want. Good luck in whatever happens and hope this helps in some way. lucky you going travelling! PM me if you want any specifics...by the way, am very happy with DS and the school so no hesitation recommending it to you (haven't seen the secretary since I enrolled!)
S
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Just adding this article link as found it quite amusing...
http://www.skoool.ie/skoool/parents.asp?id=3835
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Frankly I wanted nothing more to do with them. He went to an ET school instead, I like inclusivity!!
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Ironically he's got flaming red hair!!! And I grew up in an Irish speaking household, studied Irish at college for a bit, and DH speaks 4 languages including Irish!!!! However the gansey wearing shinners repulse me!
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Annie, that's disgraceful. How racist.
What were they going to talking about / learning that was going to make your child un-"comfortable"??
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I didn't bother asking, frankly if they are bothered about having english kids in the school I'd rather not have any dealings with them.
Since we moved back her ee've found people in general here are pretty racist but I just avoid them life is too short for me to try to convert the general public.
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annie,
that is disgraceful.
my husband is african, and my kids were welcomed with open arms into their gaelscoil.
in fact, before they started i was having reservations that they might have problems because one parent had no irish, and the other only had a little.
the principal reassured me that the kids would do fine, and really encouraged me to send them!
there is a lovely family atmosphere in the school, and the kids are so happy there.
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Clearly not the same school, or perhaps a change in principal!!
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no, i dont think it's the same school.
pity all gaelscoils aren't as welcoming!
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Kitty; I think I know the 2 schools you are referring to - both on the same road? The bigger, older one is taking no new entrants this year, except 1 child. The remainder of the places are being offered to siblings and children who have attended the Naoinra attached to the school. They have huge numbers of siblings on the waiting list due to the policy they had in the last 4 years of taking in 60 Junior Infants rather than 30. In fact, their class sizes are generally bigger than the average - there are 37 in this years Senior Infants class.
Answers:
Pip&Pop, I'm interested to read your message and will PM you as I'd also rang the two schools (presuming they are the ones near you) and had exactly the same thing.
Sadie, I know where you're coming from, but I think their attitude is totally unjustified.
This was my experience.
I got a really negative attitude from the "established" school when I said we weren't Irish speakers at home. I'd already explained that my Irish is rusty, but I got a B in honours in the Leaving and while dh's isn't great, we're both prepared to go to classes to be able to use Irish with dd. We also already had her name down for a naíonra (she was 5 months old at this stage) and gaelscoil was the only option we were considering. So no question of us putting her down for all schools or not being committed.
The other school couldn't have been nicer. They chatted to me in Irish, which encouraged me to use my Irish in the most positive way and when I needed to ask something and hadn't the vocabulary and had to swap into English, they were equally nice. They were also deligheted when I said dd was down for the naíonra and they hope to have the naíonra in the same building when they move (Grace at the naíonra also told me this), so they're really connected, which is great.
I know they have better facilities in the established school, but I really feel they need to do something about their attitude as the negativity really put me off. My natural instinct is to want my dd in a school which is supportive and encouraging and GNP came across as neither. I also expect my dd to be welcome in a school, not allowed under suffereance, as if she's somehow lesser than children of parents with fluent Irish. I have left my dd's name down for both, since a change of management in either school might change things, but my inital impressions weren't good.
Answers:
Hey Bookworm, I hear you on the attitude and know exactly what you mean, I think it might be down to the actual secretary in question as I can honestly say that I have had no issues with any of the staff since DS started. I do remember when applying, feeling a bit 2nd class and that I should be considering myself lucky to have his name down. This was when we first put his name down 3 years ago (at the time there were no other options as the other schools in the area were either full or not what we wanted).
When we actually ended up with a choice of 2 gaelscoileanna, we were fully tempted to go with the new school as they were so enthusiastic/friendly and helpful but we were also speaking to friends of ours who had their kids in a different school/different area where the facilties were basically prefabs/shared sports ground etc and they recommended not undervaluing the "facility" itself as the kids/parents have very little interaction with the secretary/principal once they are in.
It really is a tough one and this sort of "elitist/anti-non gaelgoir" attitude is digraceful, especially with the history of country and our language, but I know I can say, hand on heart, I am happy with my choice, his teacher is just gorgeous (you know one of those teachers with a real vocation) and I know that teachers in NM are also lovely) and it might not be the best basis for choosing a school but I know he is happy to go in and sure thats all you can ask at this age!
Would be very interested in hearing more about the naoinra so if you do have details can you let me know? Have a 2yr old and a bun in the oven that I would love to get into a naoinra to try and make things easier for starting school for them...
thx
Sadie

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