New Primary Language Curriculum

Sep 13, 2019

Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh T.D. today launched the Primary Language Curriculum/Curaclam Teanga na Bunscoile – a fundamental change in how children learn English and Irish in school.

The new curriculum is being introduced for pupils of all abilities in all primary schools, from junior infants to sixth class in English-medium schools, Gaeltacht schools, Irish-medium schools and special schools.The curriculum has the same structure and strands for both English and Irish, supporting children’s learning in both languages while also acknowledging the diversity of languages spoken in our primary schools. Minister McHugh said: “This is a really exciting development which will transform how both English and Irish are taught in our classrooms and will shape the learning of our pupils for years to come.

“Everyone learns better when the material is engaging and relevant, and when the methods of learning are enjoyable. The new curriculum recognises teachers as skilled professionals making key decisions about teaching and learning, while providing the tools and support that they need to ensure our children can grow and develop, and are prepared for their next stage in their education and beyond.”

The Primary Language Curriculum was introduced in junior infants to second class on a phased basis from September 2016.

It is recognised internationally that developing skills in one language will help children to develop similar skills in another language. An important part of this language-learning environment through the new curriculum will be an emphasis on playful and engaging experiences for younger children. In the classroom children are encouraged to talk and respond with opinions, thoughts and ideas alongside the work to develop of reading and writing.

The curriculum is designed to support and allow children to progress at their own pace and through relationships that are supportive, engaging and inclusive.Feedback from the introduction of the Primary Language Curriculum from 2016 has informed development and resulted in a more streamlined and accessible curriculum which facilitates engaging and rich language learning experiences for children in our schools.

The Primary Language Curriculum is now being rolled out to all classes.

It will provide for continuity of experience and progression as children make the transition from pre-school to primary to post-primary. For children with special educational needs, a differentiated approach is taken through the curriculum which focuses on the identified needs of each child to ensure that they reach their full potential.

Minister McHugh said: “I hope that all teachers who will be working with the new curriculum will enjoy the new opportunities that it brings to instil a love of language and learning in our children. I know that this is going to take time to ensure that everyone is familiar with the new curriculum and the many supports available. To get things right we need to work together – I have listened to the feedback from teachers and school leaders for time and support to embed this new learning outcomes-based curriculum.

“We are providing teachers with a sustained form of school based support to include in-school visits from our support services and with new and updated support material.“Language learning happens all the time, not just in the classroom, so I am delighted that today we are also launching new information online to help parents understand the new curriculum and to provide assistance to their child on their language learning journey.“A huge amount of work has gone into the development of the curriculum and the supporting resources, and I would like to thank everyone involved, and those who have given valuable feedback over the last three years on the curriculum, to enable us to continue to improve it and enhance our children’s learning experience.”

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