The Irish school of excellence was founded in 2004/2005 by Kieran O’Brien.
“I was teaching in the deaf unit as a volunteer having just got over 2 years of serious illness. The students that I was dealing with were in their leaving certificate in the Community College in Ennis, and I felt that all the young hearing impaired students that were leaving school needed some form of social education one of which was driver education i.e. driver safety, how to purchase a car, how to get insurance, what happens and how do you deal with if you are in an accident and being deaf makes it more difficult. So I explored with the students all the different avenues that would make each student independent and knowledgeable and confident in their ability to deal with any situation that arose.
As the driver theory Cd used English that was different to the students English it was a long and most enjoyable process to pass the theory test! The next step was to take driving lessons and this too was exciting as the instructor had no sign and so the students needed a lot of help here too. All the students passed their theory test and took their driving lessons and are all driving safely now I can report.
This was a huge success and so the local transition year teachers asked would I be able to develop a course for their students. I did so and the next class was thru IRISH. This too proved a huge success and from that the local press gave great coverage and so this as so opened the doors to many more schools. The programme has evolved now further and I am looking forward to the future as now Toyota have been very supportive and come on board as the main sponsor… The programme is taught now thru Sign-language, Irish, polish and English. The future is looking bright.
The course is aimed at getting young people to adopt a common-sense & safety led approach to driving. Year one of the course consists of a 10 week classroom module taught by the Transition year teachers in the school – the focus of which is to prepare the students for the Driver Theory Lesson, and road safety. Practical modules form the basis of year 2 with students taking 10 driving lessons – all of which provided by qualified local driving instructors.
The next step is lessons and we get the local instructors to come in and introduce themselves and offer 1 free lesson per student and the rest of the lessons at a much reduced price. From the talks by the Gardai and the visit to live court to where they will learn the true meaning of responsibility for their actions. All the students of the Irish School Of Excellence are well educated in road safety and consequences and responsibilities that they have when behind the wheel.
Kieran hopes that by the end of the course students will have gained the knowledge and confidence to take a full driving test. Apart from local schools, Kieran has also received a positive response from government departments, local politicians, and particularly the Clare County Enterprise Board who have been supportive in more ways than one.