Bunscoil Mhic Reachtain, an Irish-medium Primary located in North Belfast, has cause for celebration with the publication of an inspection report in July which attests to the great strides taken by the Bunscoil to provide a bilingual education to children in the local community.
The Education and Training Inspectorate report highlighted the strengths of Bunscoil Mhic Reachtain in educational and pastoral provision and acknowledged important improvements in literacy and numeracy training, and in developing children’s thinking skills and personal capabilities. The inspectorate observed “consistently very good teaching throughout the school” and praised the children’s deep understanding of Irish. The report also highlighted the pupil’s “enjoyment and enthusiasm for learning”.
“It is very heartening to receive this report from the Education and Training inspectorate as we start a new school year,” stated Séamas Ó Donnghaile, Principal of Bunscoil Mhic Reachtain. “Our staff members are extremely dedicated and this report is a testament to them and to the support of the parents and school community. We pride ourselves in the Bunscoil in the genuine interest that we take in every single pupil and this engenders enthusiasm for learning!”
Comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta commended the Bunscoil in receiving such a positive report from the Inspectorate and advisory officer Aodán Mac Sheafraidh remarked that the publication of the report comes at a time when a new approach to Education in Scotland is being considered which acknowledges the tremendous benefit and value of children learning languages at an early stage, “Education Scotland, the government agency responsible for developing the school curriculum, has recommended that the Gaelic language be put at the centre of an ambitious plan to teach children two new languages at primary school. The Scottish Government said the new approach to language learning would see pupils introduced to a second language in P1, and a third no later than P5.”
The opening of a brand new Gaelic school in Edinburgh follows calls for every schoolchild in Scotland to be taught the Gaelic language and Principal, Séamas Ó Donnghaile commends the refreshing approach being taken by the educational authority in Scotland, “The benefits of a bilingual education are recognized all over the world and this is based on established good practice and extensive research. The Scottish government are now taking this on board and providing an excellent start for this new Gaelic school in Edinburgh with a state of the art school from day one! In Bunscoil Mhic Reachtain we have been providing this form of education to local children for 15 years. The experience of being taught in an Irish medium school enhances the overall development of pupils. Children have a great confidence and pride that they can speak their own language and that they are part of a very special community and of the young and confident generation of Irish speakers.”
The good news for parents is that it not necessary to speak Irish to send your child to an Irish-medium school; children will acquire fluency and be bilingual at an early stage irrespective of the parents’ knowledge of languages. Anyone interested in benefiting from the advantages of dual languages education for their children can contact Bunscoil Mhic Reachtain on 028 9032 2409 or visit web address: http://www.bunscoilmhicreachtain.com or to find out more about Irish medium education and a school in your area contact Comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta 028 9032 1475.