All-Irish Secondary Schools
An Irish-medium school operates like any other second-level school, except that Irish is the chosen teaching language in the school. It is the language of communication between teachers, students and management. Irish is a living language in the school, inside and outside the classrooms. Generally, an Irish-medium primary school is called a ‘Gaelscoil’ and an Irish-medium secondary school is known as a ‘Gaelcholáiste’.
Parents choose education through Irish for various reasons:
- It may be very important to them that their children have fluent Irish.
- They recognise that children receive a unique insight into their own culture and other cultures through attending a Gaelcholáiste.
- Pride in the language and in the child’s culture is nurtured while attending a Gaelcholáiste.
- They wish for their children to speak, read and write in two languages and benefit from the numerous advantages which accompany this skill.
- They want their children to experience the high standard of education that these schools provide.
- They want to develop the self confidence and identity of the child.
There are 179 Irish-medium primary schools outside of the Gaeltacht area, with 305 altogether. There are 43 Irish-medium secondary schools outside of the Gaeltacht area, with 71 in total.
Gaelscoileanna Teo. and Comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta have made a map of Ireland, showing every Gaelcholáiste in the country.
Of course! Pupils from all linguistic and cultural backgrounds are welcome in Irish-medium schools. Parents without Irish are encouraged to use as much Irish as they can in the home, through use of specific phrases or by using the language for specific periods each day. This helps the pupil understand that Irish is not spoken in school alone and that the parents have an interest in the language.
Gaelscoileanna Teo. is the lead organisation in the Irish-medium Immersion Education and Pre-school sector. The organisation’s new role also includes the provision of support services for Irish-medium schools in Gaeltacht areas. Gaelscoileanna Teo. provides advice, assistance and support to people who wish to have their children educated through the medium of Irish, as well as support services for those working in the sector.
Comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta is an organisation responsible for representing Irish-medium education in Northern Ireland. The Department of Education founded the organisation in 2000 in order to promote and support Irish-medium education in the north.