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Gaelscoil Aodha Rua, Dungannon

An Gaeloideachas / An Dátheangachas Advantages of Irish Medium Education / Bilingualism


The Irish Medium sector has rapidly become the fastest growing educational sector in Ireland. There are 44 pre-schools (Naíscoileanna), 35 Irish medium primary schools (Gaelscoileanna) and 5 Irish medium post primary schools (Meánscoileanna) across the North and demand for places has risen by 41% in the past ten years. Almost 7,000 children are now being educated through the medium of Irish and the success story of our own school is only one example of the rising numbers of parents now choosing to give their children the gift of bi-lingualism.

We are in the fortunate position to have Irish Medium Education available at all three levels in our own local area:

Naíscoil Aodha Rua - pre-school

Gaelscoil Aodha Rua - primary school

Scoil Iósaef - post-primary school (an Irish medium stream within St Joseph's Grammar School, Donaghmore)

Gaelscolaíocht (Irish Medium Education) is now available in most large towns and with schools now operating locally in Dungannon, Clonoe, Cookstown, Armagh, Portadown, Carrickmore, Omagh, Strabane, Lisnskea, Maghera and Magherafelt, parents and pupils entering the sector for the first time, are entering into a warm welcoming community, where all stakeholders share the common goal of providing a rich cultural and linguistic learning experience for all our pupils. 

Irish medium schools teach the same curriculum as our counterparts in the English medium sector, with the added advantage that the children become bilingual and bi-literate in both Irish and English. The children are immersed in Irish for the first three years, in order to maximise their exposure to the Irish language and to consolidate their literacy skills through the medium of Irish. In the third term of Rang 3 (P3), we introduce English and from Rang 4 (P4) onwards, we follow a full 'bi-literacy' scheme. The children's progress in English accelerates due to the seamless transfer of literacy skills already acquired in Irish in years 1-3, which compliment the learning of literacy in both Irish and English. Learning in one langauge strengthens and supports learning in the other language and by the end of Rang 7 (P7), our pupils emerge as confident bi-literate, bilinguals, whose English attainment is on a par with their English medium counterparts.

The Gaelscoil experience is very much a process of 'value added learning', where children reap not only the linguistic rewards of being bilingual, but also the internationally publicised cognitive advantages of bilingualism. We also immerse the children in all aspects of Gaelic culture and seize every opportunity to develop the children's talents in traditional music, drama, Irish dance and Gaelic sports. We take part in a wide range of local and national Irish cultural events and perform at many local community functions. Our pupils have a wonderful appreciation of Irish culture and develop excellent self-confidence through their ability to communicate with others in two languages.

Please see the two posters above for an outline of the cognitive and cultural benefits of bilingualism.


Please watch this short video, produced by Comhairle na Gelscolaíochta, on the benfits of Irish Medium Education.
Click this link to read about the advantages of bi-lingualism / immersion education from the perspective of pupils, teachers and a range of other educational experts.