A new Government policy on Gaeltacht education envisages that children in all Irish schools will be totally immersed in the language for the first two years of their education.

During this time, no English would be taught.

The five year plan, launched today in An Cheathrú Rua, Co Galway aims to make Irish schools the first choice for parents of children in all Gaeltacht areas.

The policy seeks to extend Irish language learning at second level by moving towards a full immersion approach for all subjects, apart from English and other languages.

This would involve online tuition in remote areas, with plans for e-learning included in the policy.

The 50 page document outlining detail of the proposals says there needs to be recognition of the different needs of native speakers and those learning the language.

Gaeltacht schools will be classified as those where every subject and activity takes place through Irish.

These schools will be eligible for additional teachers and other extra resources.

In addition schools in Gaeltacht areas will be able to opt for this status and will be given five years to achieve this.

The Government is aiming to fully implement the aims by 2022, at a cost of around €1m per year. It may involve the reconfiguration of some smaller schools in the Gaeltacht.

The policy also commits to providing additional funding and staffing resources for naíonraí or other Irish medium pre-school education providers. It provides for the establishment of new naíonraí where there is demand.