Gaelscoil

A Gaelscoil (Irish pronunciation: [ˈɡeːl̪ˠsˠkɛlʲ]; plural: Gaelscoileanna) is an Irish language-medium school in Ireland: the term refers especially to Irish-medium schools outside the Irish-speaking regions or Gaeltacht. Over 50,000 students attend Gaelscoileanna at primary and second-level on the island of Ireland.[1] A further over 13,000 students are receiving their primary and second level education through Irish in the Gaeltacht.[1] Gaelscoileanna and Irish-medium schools in the Gaeltacht are supported and represented by Gaeloideachas and An Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta & Gaelscolaíochta or COGG in the Republic of Ireland and by Comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta in Northern Ireland.

Sign for primary Gaelscoil in Newry, Northern Ireland
County Dublin has over 50 Irish language-medium schools attended by over 13,000 pupils.

Students in the Gaelscoileanna acquire the Irish language through language immersion, and study the standard curriculum through it. Gaelscoileanna, unlike English-medium schools, have the reputation of producing competent Irish speakers.[2] English-medium schools, in contrast, produce relatively few fluent Irish speakers, despite the Irish language being an obligatory subject in the Republic of Ireland in both primary and secondary school. This has been attributed in part to the lack of Irish-language immersion programs.[3]

Gaelscoileanna and Irish language-medium schools in the Gaeltacht are supported and represented by Gaeloideachas and An Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta & Gaelscolaíochta or COGG in the Republic of Ireland and by Comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta in Northern Ireland.

Gaelscoileanna have undergone a striking expansion over the last few decades, although there are now concerns that rules limiting the founding of new schools is affecting the establishment of new Irish-medium education in areas where there is a competition amongst educational patrons. Their success is due to effective (though limited) community support and an efficient administrative infrastructure. They are distinguished by being the product, not of state policy, but of a genuine community movement.

In 1972 there were only 11 such schools at primary level and five at secondary level in the Republic of Ireland. As of September 2018 there are 180 gaelscoileanna at primary level, attended by over 40,000 students, and 31 gaelcholáistí and 17 aonaid Ghaeilge (Irish language units) at secondary level, attended by over 11,000 students in non-Gaeltacht areas across Ireland.[4] 35 of these primary schools, 2 of the postprimary schools and 4 of the postprimary units operated are in Northern Ireland.[4] Additionally, some 4,000 children attend Irish-medium preschools or Naíonraí outside the Gaeltacht with around 1,000 children attending Naíonraí within the Gaeltacht.[citation needed] There is now at least one gaelscoil in every county in Ireland with over 50 in County Dublin; 30 in County Cork and 13 in County Antrim included.


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