Gaelscoil na Daróige

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Coordinates: 55°01′23″N 7°20′46″W / 55.023°N 7.346°W / 55.023; -7.346

Gaelscoil na Daróige (Irish pronunciation: [ˈɡeːl̪ˠsˠkɛlʲ n̪ˠ d̪ˠaɾˠoːɟə], "Irish-school of young Derry people"), Ballymagroarty, is an Irish language medium school in Derry, Northern Ireland.

The school was founded in September 2005 as a result of the desire expressed by parents who had children in the local Irish Language medium pre-school (Naíscoil Mhaol Íosa). It was noticed that most of the children who left the pre-school had gone to local English medium schools because the nearest gaelscoil (Irish-medium primary school) was considered to be too far away. Mr. Stephen Kenny, Derry City Football Club manager, who had a child at the Naíscoil, together with eight first year pupils and their parents, officially opened the new Irish Language medium primary school.

The school passed the school inspection and as a result is on the DENI list of Independent Schools. Its funds are raised via collections and public and private contributions. The School's Management Committee forwarded a 'school development plan' to the DENI seeking full recognition and state funding. On 8 August 2007, the minister for Education, Caitríona Ruane approved the school for DE funding from September 2007, pending a minimum year one enrolment of 15 year-one pupils in September 2007. This caused a storm of controversy as it transpired she had done so against the advice of her senior civil servants. The issue was given much milage in the Irish News national newspaper, Talk Back radio show and was even raised in the Stormont assembly. The school subsequently failed to meet the government's criteria over the next two years and remains the North's only unfunded Irish Medium Primary School.

However, the school principal, Oisín Mac Eo, and the school committee succeeded in keeping the school open throughout this period despite the lack of funding and submitted a new development proposal in 2009, confident that the criteria for funding, essentially the enrolment of fifteen new pupils, had been achieved. Despite the lack of government support, the little independent gaelscoil succeeded in registering more children for primary one than any of the other existing fully funded Irish medium schools in Derry City.

In 2008/9 the school's nursery entered into a partnership with the government's early years' organisation for disadvantaged parents, Sure Start. The school began producing and providing courses, resources and services previously unavailable for parents raising their children through Irish in the area.

The school's development proposal was finally approved conditionally by the Minister of Education, Caitríona Ruane in September 2009 and funding was released on 5 November 2009 to the relief of staff and families at the school.

The school has a strong, enthusiastic policy on recruitment with staff and parents regularly going door-to-door in the area to speak to new young parents about Irish Medium Education. As a result of this and the partnership with Sure Start, the nursery was full last year and the two year old programme (creche) had a waiting list, an unusual occurrence for Irish Medium Schools in the North outside of Belfast.

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