Irish-medium schools

Irish-medium education is education provided in an Irish speaking school. The Department of Education has a duty to encourage and facilitate the development of Irish-medium education.

Number of Irish-medium schools

There are currently 29 Irish-medium schools in Northern Ireland and a further 10 Irish-medium units attached to English-medium host schools. Of the 29 schools, 28 are primary and one is post primary, Colaiste Feirste. Of the 10 Irish-medium units attached to English-medium host schools, 7 are primary and 3 are post-primary. In addition to these, Gaelscoil na Daróige in Derry City is an independent school teaching through the medium of Irish.

There are a total of 5,256 pupils in Irish-medium education in 2014/15. This includes 885 children attending Irish Medium pre-school settings, 3,458 primary school children (Years 1-7) and 913 in post primary schools years (Years 8-14).

If you would like more information about Irish-medium education you can contact Comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta (CnaG).  CnaG was established by the Department of Education in August 2000 and its remit is to promote Irish-medium education.

Review of Irish-medium Education 2009

Sir George Bain, in the Report of the Independent Strategic Review of Education (the Bain Report), December 2006, recommended that DE should develop a comprehensive and coherent policy for Irish-medium education.

The Department accepted this recommendation and initiated a major review of the development of Irish Medium Education to ensure high quality provision and outcomes for all children in the sector. The majority of recommendations are either achieved or progressed considerably. The Department is taking forward work on any recommendations which have not yet been fully implemented.

Review of Irish-medium Post-primary Education 2014

In August 2013, Education Minister, John O’Dowd MLA, appointed an Advisory Group, chaired by Helen Ó Murchú, to review Irish-medium post-primary education.

The Advisory Group was asked to examine the level of demand for post-primary Irish-medium provision and consider how best this could be met.  The work of the Group was to focus on the development of practical and deliverable solutions to increase access to Irish-medium post-primary education.

In April 2014, the Advisory Group presented its findings and recommendations to the Minister for Education.  

Way forward

The Minister has taken time to consider the recommendations in the report and set out his position on the proposed way forward for the Strategic Development of Irish-medium Post-primary Education in a statement to the Assembly on 4 November 2014.  

The Department of Education’s formal response to each of the 33 recommendations in the report can be accessed using the link below:

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