Written answers

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Department of Education and Skills

School Curriculum

Photo of Jonathan O'BrienJonathan O'Brien (Cork North Central, Sinn Fein)
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406. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the way she has supported the teaching of Irish Sign Language within the education system to date; and her plans to improve upon this. [47171/14]

Photo of Jan O'SullivanJan O'Sullivan (Limerick City, Labour)
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Sign language is an option in the Leaving Certificate Applied. There is also an opportunity for students to learn sign language in the course of Transition Year. In addition, the Post-Primary Languages Initiative is developing a short course in sign language in the context of the new Junior Cycle.

Furthermore, there are specific supports in place for students learning through Irish Sign Language (ISL). There are a number of initiatives in place which seek to promote, develop and implement ISL in order that it will achieve greater recognition and use in the education system. These include:

- the special schools for the deaf/hearing impaired have been encouraged in relation to the use of sign language in class.

- funding for an ISL weekly home tuition service whereby deaf tutors visit the homes of deaf pre-school children and deaf school-going pupils to provide training in ISL for the deaf children, pupils, their siblings and parents.

- funding is also made available through the Special Education Support Service (SESS) to enable individual teachers and whole school staff to undertake courses in Irish Sign Language which are available throughout the country through a variety of providers.

- my Department, through the Higher Education Authority (HEA), has established and funds a Centre for Deaf Studies in Trinity College, Dublin which provides diploma courses for ISL/English interpreters, deaf tutors and in deaf studies.


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