Small beginnings … | Coleraine Times


It is recognized that the establishment of Shaw’s Road School was the initial spark that generated interest and fueled the growth of teaching in Irish, which has continued to develop since then.

The sector grew and developed from these very humble beginnings and is now among the most successful education sectors across the country.

“Irish Language Education (IME) has become the preferred educational choice for a growing number of parents across Ireland. Our schools follow the ‘immersion’ teaching method which allows children to acquire the language naturally by being ‘immersed’ in the Irish linguistic environment of an Irish language school ”, said Ciarán Mac Giolla Bhéin, Príomhfheidhmeannach , Comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta.

“In the north, the same curriculum is provided in ALL schools, which are subject to the same rigors of inspection by the Education and Training Inspectorate.

‘Irish language schools, however, offer children the distinct advantage of acquiring a second language, while offering the highest standards of learning English as a core school subject, alongside all the other subjects of the basic program.

“With over 800 children entering Primary 1 in Irish language schools each year – the highest number ever in the sector – a sharp increase from around 450 children per year in 2011 – the sector has experienced a Phenomenal growth of 68% in primary schools alone over the past ten years.

“The boom in numbers is not confined to Irish-language primary schools, the total number of IME post-primary students is now over 1,500, almost double 10 years ago,” he added.

“In total there are over 7,500 children educated in Irish daily and given this growth pattern these numbers will continue to increase with over 80 IME providers at nursery, primary and post-primary levels.

This growth reflects not only the success of students in the sector and the high quality education and strong pastoral and community ethics provided by IM schools, but also the ever increasing number of parents seeking to take advantage of the many benefits of immersive education. which naturally develops bilingualism for our children.

“As the majority of IME schools are independent, multi-faith or non-denominational, attracting a growing number of children of Protestant and other descent, it is clear that the benefits of bilingualism are open to everyone throughout the community,” Ciaran continued. .

This year, the first IM Integrated offering was launched in East Belfast and the sector continues to innovate as it grows.

“In addition, it shows the strong personal commitment of more and more parents who choose the IME to offer their child #GiftOfIrish and the well-established benefits of early bilingualism. Be part of this journey, ar aghaidh linn! »Ciaran concludes.


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