Key subjects to be taught through Irish under plan to boost standards

PE, art and maths to be taught through Irish in almost 20 schools

Subjects such as physical education, maths and art are to be taught through Irish in about 20 primary, secondary and pre-schools under a new project aimed at boosting the teaching and learning of Irish.

The move has been partly prompted by concern over the quality of teaching and learning of Irish in schools.

Inspectors’ reports have repeatedly found that significant numbers of children are not making appropriate progress in the language, which remains compulsory at primary and second level.

On Monday, Minister for Education Joe McHugh will announce that 19 schools and early-years centres have been selected for a pilot project to promote the teaching of Irish.


“I want 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,” he said.

The new three-year Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) project will see PE and other subjects taught to children across different age groups through Irish.

“Our talented teachers have seized this opportunity to help promote the language in a novel way,” he said. “We will have a lot to learn from the project over the course of the next three years and it will improve all the time.

“I am confident that by introducing Irish across different subjects in schools we will make it more relevant and help young people connect with it in a new and better way.”


The participating schools were selected on foot of an application process.

The Department of Education will assess each of the settings and schools participating in the pilot to identify levels of preparedness and what further supports they will need.

Under the project, the theme of “communicating” will be taught through Irish in early-years settings.

In the primary and post-primary schools, three subjects will be taught through Irish including PE. The other two subjects have yet to be finalised but may include art, maths, science, business, geography, SPHE or CSPE.

The department will use information from the schools to outline the weekly contact time children in the selected settings and schools will learn Irish through CLIL.

Some subjects may be taken through Irish for a full class or part of a class, every day or once a week.

In primary, for example, it will be junior and senior infants and pupils in 5th and 6th classes. In post-primary it will be first years.

This, a spokesman said, will inform the benefits for transition between early years to primary and from primary to post-primary.

Mr McHugh said the project stems from the department’s commitment to the 20-year strategy for the Irish language, and a five-year action plan which he launched as minister of state.

Schools selected for the CLIL project:

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.


Holy Family Senior NS, Ennis, Co Clare

St Oliver’s NS, Killarney, Co Kerry

St Mary’s NS, Donnybrook, Dublin 4

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


Coláiste Fionnchua, Mitchelstown, Co Cork.

Millstreet Community School, Millstreet, 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

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien is Education Editor of The Irish Times. He was previously chief reporter and social affairs correspondent