Granting Exemptions from the Study of Irish

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The Minister for Education and Skills has set-out new criteria for schools to grant students an exemption from studying Irish.

The revised circular, associated guidelines and forms were issued in September 2019 and are available here.

Key changes in the revised circulars include:

  • The new criteria will only apply in English-medium schools.
  • Students in special schools or special classes attached to mainstream schools will not be required to apply for an exemption.
  • Psychological assessments will no longer be necessary to process an application for an exemption.
  • Students will be granted an exemption from the study of Irish only in rare and exceptional circumstances.
  • Age-related criteria for decisions on exemptions are being changed from 11 years of age to 12, which brings the circular into line with the final year of primary education.
  • The decision to grant an exemption will continue to be made by the school principal.
  • The decision should only be taken following detailed discussion with the student’s parent or guardian, teacher, special education teachers and the student.

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