Irish-language Policy

People involved in the preparation of this policy:

  • Teachers
  • Students
  • Parents
  • Board of Management

Irish will be promoted in the school in an enjoyable and pleasurable manner so that students will understand the value and pleasure to be had from living one’s life through Irish.

To that end, a survey was conducted to give parents and students an opportunity to express their views on the promotion of Irish. As a result, a list of ideas was compiled (see appendix) and we have been using that list since. The list may be amended at any time.

Irish is the first language of Coláiste Phobail Cholmcille and the first language of the people of Tory Island. It has, therefore, a special status in the life of the school.

  • Irish is the language of instruction in the College with the exception of English and other foreign languages. In the case of these languages, use will be made of complete immersion education, i.e instruction will be solely through the target language. It is assumed that learning will be through the medium of Irish except in exceptional circumstances, e.g. when a student has special needs. In such a case, the Board may decide that instruction may be bi-lingual (Irish + ISL)
  • If a teacher does not have fluent Irish, every assistance will be given to him until he achieves fluency.
  • It will, on occasion, be necessary to use English-language textbooks;where this is the case, the teacher must provide a summary in Irish.
  • Extra classes can be arranged for any student who believes he has special difficulties in learning through Irish.
  • All messages, notes, etc. to parents will be sent in Irish only (or, in cases of parents  unable to read Irish, they will be bi-lingual)
  • All communication with the Deartment and with the VEC will, as far as possible, be through Irish.
  • The College will try to avoid damage to its Irish-language ethos by not inviting too many guest speakers and external groups to speak to students through English. The College will make every effort to to find fluent Irish speakers.
  • The College will sieze evey opportunity to promote the Irish language and the culture associated with it.
  • Every teacher and student is encouraged to use the Irish-language version of his name.
  • The Board of Management will, as far as possible, operate throuth Irish.

Promotion of Irish

The teachers are the students’  main source of Irish in the school. It is their responibility to promote Irish among the students. The emphasis is always on encouragement and positive reinforcement. Among the methods used to promote Irish among the students are:

  • Public speaking
  • Drama
  • Oireachtas na Gaeilge
  • Debates
  • Prizes
  • Seachtain na Gaeilge
  • Inter-class competitions
  • inspirational signage
  • Games

Every student and his parents are asked to complete a form stating that they have read this policy and that the students are prepared to abide by the points therein. As students had an input to the policy, they should have no difficulty complying with it.

This policy will be reviewed every two years, or more frequently if necessary.


  • Irish will be spoken all the time in the College except in classes where the target language will be used. Every teacher will work towards motivating students towards this objective.
  • Students will speak Irish in school, on the bus and at school events wherever they may take place. If a student persists in speaking English, he will be treated as being in breach of the Code of Behaviour (see Behaviour and Discipline Policy).
  • Every effort will be made to employ teacher who are fluent in Irish, and every assistance will be given to those who are not fluent.