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Title: An exploration of the demand for Irish within the primary controlled sector in Northern Ireland
Author: Gault, Graham
ISNI:       0000 0004 6425 3293
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2017
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This study sought to explore the demand for access to the Irish language within the parent body of the primary controlled education sector in Northern Ireland; a de-facto Protestant sector of a divided education system in which little or no access to Irish is currently provided. Following a mixed methodological approach, this project employed an online survey which was delivered to every controlled primary school in Northern Ireland to distribute to parents. The resulting sample size was 374, representing schools from across all 6 counties and all 5 education boards. Quantitative analysis of the data sought to identify if a demand for Irish exists and, if so, what other factors, which are already in the public domain, might correlate significantly with it. Regression analysis facilitated the exploration of whether other such factors could accurately predict any demand for Irish amongst the sample group. Qualitative data was also obtained through the instrument which elaborated some of the perceptions of respondents to wider language issues within the Northern Ireland context. This study identifies the existence of a demand for Irish within the sample, correlating significantly to wider contextual issues, such as the political and religious affiliations of parents and their sense of national identity. It also points to some of the significant difficulties which must be considered in seeking to address issues of the Irish language in the controlled primary sector in a meaningful way. Whilst no identifiable structured provision is currently made within the primary controlled sector in Northern Ireland, this study identifies that a demand for access to Irish is present within the sample and concludes that further research must now be conducted across all controlled primary schools. Given that both the British and local governments have legally committed themselves to promoting Irish and to removing obstacles which prevent its development, this study is of particular importance.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ed.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available