Events in Ireland in 2011:
Ireland has also joined the group of countries which would like to get involved in the growing EU TalentDay initiative. In order to raise awareness among teachers of the needs of gifted children, a 'National Gifted Education Awareness Day' is to be held on Friday 8th April. In tandem with this, a group of educators, individual consultants and parents are promoting EU TalentDay on the 9th April and are coordinating some events to run that day under the banner of EU TalentDay. For further information on country events please see here.
Both of the events have been supported by
- Mr. Ruairi Quinn, the Minister for Education and Skills and The Department for Education and Skills,
- the School Principals’ Association,
- Teachers Unions and the Parents Association amongst others providing an incredible show of support for gifted education.
As the Irish Minister for Education and Skills has stated in a newspaper article.
„I very much welcome the initiative to establish the first EU Talent Day on 9 April, together with the National Gifted Education Awareness Day in Ireland on 8 April. We must nurture and support talent and giftedness, if we are to meet the challenges which face today’s society. This is a great opportunity to recognise and celebrate talent in many disciplines, and to promote an inclusive education system which meets all our students’ needs.”
Ruairi Quinn, Minister for Education and Skills (Rep. of Ireland)
Talent Support in Ireland
In Ireland the Centre for Talented Youth Ireland based in Dublin City University, Dublin provides extensive extra-curricular enrichment programmes for Exceptionally Able children. The Director is Dr. Colm O’Reilly. http://www.dcu.ie/ctyi/
The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA), the advisory body to the Irish Government on curriculum and assessment, has issued guidelines for teaching ‘Exceptionally Able’ children and it has run some pilot courses. http://www.ncca.ie/uploadedfiles/publications/Except%20Able_Glines.pdf
There are just over 4,000 schools in Ireland. In the primary school sector, commercial organisations such as ICEPE provide CPD courses for teachers and consequently awareness is slowly improving in this sector. Awareness of the needs of gifted children in second level schools is generally poor however this will change partly as a result of National Gifted Education Awareness day. That said, efforts have been made to pilot models of educational provision for Exceptionally Able children. The Special Education Support Service has delivered in-service (inset) seminars on Exceptionally Able children to practicing teachers. In addition, the SESS has piloted an in-service programme called the ‘Equality of Challenge Initiative’ in 11 schools. In September 2009 the SESS produced a resource on metacognitive skills and strategies as part of the Equality of Challenge initiative. The resource, entitled Metacognition for the classroom and beyond: Differentiation and support for learners, was developed with the input of Dr. Sarah McAlwee of the University of Oxford. More details of this programme can be found here http://www.sess.ie/equality-challenge
There used to exist a national advocacy organisation however, this was dissolved in 2009. There are some individuals who are active in advocacy on a personal basis. Some of their current initiatives are as follows:
Peter Lydon has 16 years experience teaching gifted children as a qualified teacher working for CTYI and has decided to use his expertise to develop advocacy on behalf of gifted and talented children. Peter has founded Gifted and Talented Ireland to act as a catalyst to enable a cohesive approach to increasing the awareness of the needs of gifted and talented children in education. He has set up a new website at http://www.giftedandtalented.ie the aim of which is to provide targeted support for teachers of gifted children. The site contains a register for advocates of gifted children in Ireland. There is no compulsory or required training in the area of gifted and talented children for teachers during initial teacher education and schools are not required to have specific gifted and talented policies. Peter has established a Twitter forum at #gtie on Sundays at 9pm (GMT) to facilitate the exchange of information and ideas on promoting the welfare of gifted and talented children. He has established TEACH Ireland - Teachers of Exceptionally Able Children Ireland - which will develop into the association for teachers of gifted and talented children. TEACH Ireland will provide support for teachers looking to develop their skills in teaching gifted and talented children (http://www.teachireland.org). An important role for Peter has been to act as a catalyst behind Ireland's first National Gifted Education Awareness Day on April 8th 2011. This date was chosen specifically to complement the first EU TalentDay on April 9th. Several events are already in the process of being organised to mark both days.
Dr. Catherine Riordan and Karen McCarthy have established a Gifted Advocacy Group in Wicklow/South Dublin, Ireland to support parents and have an excellent blog at http://www.dazzledandfrazzled.com/ which they use to advocate on behalf of gifted and talented children. Catherine and Karen have also been instrumental in delivering Ireland's first National Gifted Education Awareness Day and have established a Facebook page (EU Talent Day) as a one-stop-shop of events in Ireland on April 8th and 9th.
Organisations supporting National Gifted Education Awareness Day and EU Talent Day include:
- Department of Education and Skills
- Irish Primary Principals Network
- National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals
- Association of Secondary Teachers of Ireland
- Parents Association of Community and Comprehensive Schools
- National Parents Council - Post Primary
- Federation of Parents Councils in Christian Brothers and other Catholic Schools
- ScoilNet Portal for Irish Education
- Gifted Advocacy Support Group - Wicklow/South Dublin
- English Language Support Teachers Association
- Irish Second Level Students Union
- Centre for Talented Youth Ireland
- Institute of Children Education and Psychology
- Dublin Zoo
- National Museum of Ireland
- National Gallery of Ireland
- Wicklow School of Music and Drama
- Happy Hands Art Centre, Cabinteely
- FYI Dance Club, Wicklow
The organisers in Ireland are also greatful to An Post - the Irish Postal Service and Katie McMillan for the use of Katie’s artwork on the poster advertising the day.
Two other individuals have played a signifant role in Irish advocacy:
Margaret Keane operates http://www.giftedkids.ie, an excellent and comprehensive support site on gifted and talented matters for Ireland. The website currently acts as a signpost for resources and offers support for parents, teachers and children, including an online community forum where parents and teachers can share their experience of parenting or teaching a gifted or exceptionally able child. It also runs a Webinar series on gifted issues useful to both teachers and parents.
Leslie S. Graves is Secretary of the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children (WCGTC) and keeps a personal site with reviews of gifted and talented issues at http://innreach.wordpress.com/. She contributes to SEN lectures in University College Dublin, NUI and is a regular contributor of useful links to the Giftedteacherslistserve out of the Belin-Blank International Centre for Gifted Education & Talent Development, The University of Iowa, USA. Leslie was the Irish Association for Gifted Childresn(IAGC) representative to the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) committee which examined the development of it’s „Draft Guidelines for Teaching Exceptionally Able Students”.