§ Sir John Biggs-Davison
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what encouragement and assistance are being given to Gaelic studies in the Province.
§ Mr. Scott
Irish is studied by more than 20,000 pupils in Northern Ireland secondary schools and is developing in a proportion of primary schools. The curriculum, however, is essentially a matter for school authorities and head teachers and is not dictated or controlled by the Government or the Department of Education for Northern Ireland. Bunscoil Ghaelach, an Irish language primary school, obtained grant-aided status in September 1984, and a special unit in which tuition is provided through the medium of the Irish language has been approved at Steelstown primary school, Londonderry.
Irish is also available in the Province's two universities and St. Mary's and St. Joseph's colleges of education. As with any other interest areas which meet Department of Education criteria, support is granted to extra-mural courses in Irish or aspects of Irish culture.