Guidance for members re Irish Exemption Consultation.

The department of Education and Skills DEC has published details of a public consultation on Exemptions from the study of Irish.



The key proposed changes are outlined below along with our opinion on how they affect students with dyspraxia.


  1. A psychological report will no longer be required, neither will any measure of IQ or cognitive ability. We see this as a positive change which will alleviate the financial burden on parents. We believe that there is no significant reason or purpose in linking dyspraxia to IQ.


  1. Exemptions will only be available from 3rd class. Previously there was no cut off age. If a student’s difficulties with studying Irish have been identified, then delaying an exemption doesn’t make any sense. 


  1. The draft revised circulars set out that an exemption may be granted in circumstances where students present with significant learning difficulties where a student has at least reached third class and presents with a Standardised Score on a discrete test in Word Reading or Reading Comprehension at/below the 10th percentile. We believe that this proposed change does not cater for the specific needs of students with dyspraxia.



Students with dyspraxia who do not have difficulties reading do not meet the criteria for an exemption. These tests do not reflect the areas where dyspraxia may impact on ability to study a language. The majority of students who have dyspraxia have difficulty writing quickly enough. With adequate support some students learn to type which can help with speed. Many students do not receive intervention early enough to be proficient typists in time for State exams. Students with dyspraxia often have difficulties with organising their thoughts and planning what they want to say. Problems in the areas of essay writing, memory, formulation of thoughts and being easily distracted can often be experienced. These problems present as a significant difference between oral answers and written ones.  Reading tests will not identify any of these difficulties and therefore these students will not be eligible to apply for an exemption. However many of these students genuinely need  an exemption from studying Irish.


We would appreciate it if you could respond to this consultation, as the needs of students with dyspraxia in studying a language are not recognised and therefore not catered for.


Suggestions on filling out the survey (


Section 1: Fill out as you see fit.


Section 2: Complete with more detailed comments. Please consider the above text outlining difficulties which can impact a student with dyspraxia’s  ability in studying a language. If you find that they reflect your own difficulties please give your account of these or any other experiences which make studying Irish difficult for you.

For students who have coexisting dyslexia please refer to the Dyslexia Association of Ireland guidance for members.


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