Historic New B.Ed Programme for Irish Sign Language will enhance diversity of the profession

The Teaching Council has welcomed the launch of the first B. Ed. programme for ISL (Irish Sign Language) by the Minister for Education and Skills, Joe McHugh T.D.

 Commenting on the historic development, Council Director Tomás Ó Ruairc said:

 “We are delighted to see the launch of this programme which offers a new pathway to teaching for deaf and hard of hearing students. This will enhance the diversity of the profession and support the development of new role models for students of the future.


“The Council provided advice to the Department on the matter of allowing Irish Sign language to be adopted as a standard for Initial Teacher Education programmes of this nature (in place of the Irish language) while recommending that this position be adopted.


“At its meeting in December, the Council approved accreditation for the B. Ed. (ISL) programme and looks forward to welcoming graduates from the programme into the profession in the years to come. Having met the standards for programmes of Initial Teacher Education set by the Council, students of the programme can be assured that they are participating in a high-quality teaching and learning experience which will support them to be the best teachers they can be for the students they will teach.”


The Teaching Council is the professional standards body for the teaching profession, which promotes and regulates professional standards in teaching.



The new B.Ed. (Irish Sign Language) is the first programme of its kind in the history of the State and is receiving funding from the Department of Education and Skills under the PATH 1 inclusion programme. The objective of this fund is to increase access to initial teacher education for students from the target groups identified in the National Access Plan, including students with disabilities. The programme is being provided by Dublin City University’s Institute of Education from this September, and applications are now invited through the current CAO process (closing date: February 1st 2019). This new pathway into the B.Ed. is being introduced initially on a pilot basis from September with six places available, with subsequent intakes of students scheduled for September 2023 onwards.


The existing pre-requisite for Leaving Certificate higher-level Irish is being replaced with an entry requirement at a similar level in Irish Sign Language. While entry to the course is exclusively for members of the Deaf Community who wish to become primary school teachers working in the deaf education sector, core modules will be delivered along with hearing peers in the B.Ed programme, while modules specific to deaf education will be delivered as a specialism. Some deaf education-specific modules will be made available as electives to hearing student-teachers. The four-year, full-time undergraduate course also includes a 30-week school placement. 


The full text of the Minister’s announcement can be seen: HERE