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Frequently Asked Questions

Parents are very welcome to contact us in Irish or English and the staff of Gaelscoileanna Teo. will be happy to answer questions and offer advice on Irish-medium education for your child. You can call us on 01-8535195 or email oifig@gaelscoileanna.ie.

How will learning everything through Irish affect my child’s development in English?

Parents sometimes worry that Irish-medium education will have a negative impact on their child’s development in English. The results of research done by the Educational Research Institute in Ireland and published in November 2011 show that the standard of English in Irish-medium primary schools is well above the national average, as is the standard in maths. Further information and research findings are available on www.gaelscoileanna.ie.

Is Irish-medium education suitable for children/pupils with special needs?

Naíonraí and Irish-medium schools cater for children/pupils with special needs just as preschools and schools teaching through the medium of English do. All evidence shows that children/pupils with special needs do just as well in an Irish-medium setting as they do in the English-medium system. Total early immersion is recognised as the most successful model for children/pupils with special needs.

Here’s a helpful article on language learning and special needs: Can children with language impairments learn two languages?

Will my child understand the stiúrthóir/múinteoir?

In the early years, naíonra directors and schoolteachers realise that the children/pupils will not understand everything they say. They use body language, visuals, exaggerated facial expressions, and expressive intonation to communicate their meaning. At preschool level and during the early years of primary school, it is common for children/pupils to speak a mixture of English and Irish with each other and when responding to their director/teacher. This applies especially to those who don’t speak Irish at home. As they progress, the children/pupils naturally begin to use more Irish. To encourage them, teachers often use songs, useful phrases, chants, and rhymes and carefully structure the day with familiar routines.

Do I need to have Irish in order to register my child in a naíonra or Irish-medium school?

No. It is, however, an advantage to the child/pupil if Irish is spoken at home, even if it’s just used at a certain time of day or certain phrases are used, so that the child/pupil understands that Irish is not spoken in school alone and that the parents have an interest in the language. Children/pupils from all linguistic and cultural backgrounds are welcome in naíonraí and Irish-medium schools.

How will I help my child with homework?

Irish-medium schools recognise the importance of engaging parents in all aspects of their child’s learning, including homework. Teachers are aware that many parents may not speak Irish and homework is designed to reinforce what the pupil has already covered during school hours. Contact the school you’re interested in to enquire about the supports available for homework and for parents who might wish to learn Irish themselves.

Is this kind of education available anywhere else?

It is estimated that between 60-75% of the population of the world are bilingual and immersion education is a common educational approach used throughout the world in countries such as Wales, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Catalonia, the Basque Country, Finland, Hungary, South Africa and Scotland.

What support is available for parents?

Gaelscoileanna Teo. provides information and support services for parents, as well as:

  • Providing publications, frequently asked questions and comprehensive information in English and Irish on all aspects of Irish-medium education
  • Campaigning and representation on parents’ issues
  • Developing a school community in which parents have a central role
  • Protecting parents’ rights to Irish-medium education for their children
  • Providing encouragement, advice and practical support for parents on founding new naíonraí and schools, and promoting continuity from Irish-medium pre-school to primary and post-primary level