PE to be taught in Irish as new project seeks to boost language
Pupils in English-medium schools and créches are to be taught some subjects through Irish in a new Department of Education project to promote learning in the national language.
PE is among the subjects selected for the partial-immersion programme, which will run as a pilot for three years.
The aim is to increase pupils' exposure to Irish by extending its use beyond Irish classes.
Demand for inclusion in the Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) exceeded expectations, and has led to 19 rather than 12, places selected for the trial, starting this term.
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In schools, it will involve the teaching of three subjects, including PE, partially through Irish. The other subjects have yet to be finalised.
In the seven primary schools, it will be rolled out in junior and senior infants and to pupils in fifth and sixth classes for at least eight weeks a year.
At post-primary level, where junior cycle classes will be targeted, there will be one eight-week period for each of the three subjects in the first year, rising to three eight-week periods for each subject in years two and three.
In the early years' settings, the focus will be on "communicating" and the immersion period will be for eight weeks in year one and/or two of the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme.
Education Minister Joe McHugh said teachers had "seized this opportunity to help promote the language in a novel way". He said it lived up to the Government's commitments around Irish.
He wanted "to see initiatives like this grow and develop to sustain the language and to help schools to instil a love and familiarity with the language in the next generation".
The first year of the project will help to inform the department on the development of the programme including teacher training, assessment and resources.
The following are participating: Post-primary: Coláiste Fionnchua, Mitchelstown and Millstreet Community School, Co Cork; Presentation Secondary School, Castleisland, Co Kerry; St Muredach's College, Ballina, Co Mayo; St Joseph's, Mullingar, Co Westmeath; Clonaslee College, Co Laois.
Primary: Holy Family Senior NS, Ennis, Co Clare; St Oliver's NS, Killarney, Co Kerry; St Mary's NS, Donnybrook and Scoil Réalt na Mara, Skerries, Co Dublin; SN Naomh Colmcille, Kilmacrennan, Co Donegal; St Colmcille's SNS, Kells, Co Meath; St Comán's Wood PS, Roscommon.
Early Years: Teach Abhaile pre-school, Ennis, Co Clare; Mounthawk Montessori, Tralee, Co Kerry; High Hopes Montessori, Harold's Cross, Dublin; Roots and Wings, Donabate, Co Dublin; Fairytales day care, Milford, Co Donegal; Teach Leanbh, Ballinalee, Co Longford.