Press release: Specification for Leaving Certificate Irish

Feb 24, 2021

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For immediate release 24.02.2021

Specification for Leaving Certificate Irish – crucial that consultation period be extended as well as analysis of Junior Cycle Specification undertaken. 

Gaeloideachas welcomes yesterday’s publication of the new draft specifications for Leaving Certificate Irish by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA). 

The proposal is for two specifications, one for Irish-medium schools (L1) and another for English-medium (L2) schools, a distinction that has not been made to date at Leaving Certificate level, though there are two specifications at Junior Cycle level since 2017. A public consultation on the draft specifications has also been announced, which will run until the 31st of August 2021. 

President of Gaeloideachas, Seán Ó hArgáin, says 

“We believe that consultation on these new specifications should be postponed because, due to the pandemic, the current circumstances in post-primary schools don’t allow for proper consultation on such an important subject. Teachers and principals are under enormous pressure to tackle the new arrangements that have just been announced for the 2021 Leaving Certificate”. 

In addition, although distinct specifications for L1 and L2 schools were introduced for the Junior Cycle in 2017, no examinations for these specifications have taken place“They were cancelled in 2020, and again this year. This means that their impact has not been reviewed; we have no analysis or feedback on their benefits or challenges. Gaeloideachas maintains that it is good practice to have evidence-based research to support such a significant change at Leaving Certificate level, especially as it’s such an important examination for students says Bláthnaid ní Ghréacháin, CEO of Gaeloideachas. 

Gaeloideachas recommends that the NCCA should do more to clearly define the standard to be achieved by students undertaking the L1 and L2 specifications. At present these standards are unclear. If we want students in Irish-medium schools or pupils with a high competence in Irish in English –medium schools to undertake a more challenging specification in Irish, we need to consider how to compensate them for the extra work. An appropriate incentive must be provided in the form of extra points or equivalent. It is crucial to the success of the Policy for Gaeltacht Education that students do not see the L1 specification, aimed at enabling them to achieve a high standard of Irish, as placing an additional workload on them without adequate compensation. 

Gaeloideachas, in partnership with the NCCA, will host a virtual consultation with Irish-medium and Gaeltacht schools on the new specification on March 4th at 16.30The session will be an opportunity to collect valuable feedback and suggestions from the schools, and Gaeloideachas will report these to the NCCA. An invitation to schools to participate will be sent out in the coming days.   




Blathnaid ní Ghréacháin, Gaeloideachas CEO | 01 8535190 | 086 8050335 

Seán Ó hArgáin, Gaeloideachas President 087 4192322 

Anna Ní Chartúir, Gaeloideachas PRO | 085 1351097 

Fíona Uí Uiginn, Educator 087 2341785 

Gaeloideachas is the national lead-organisation that supports the development of Irish-medium and Gaeltacht schools at primary and at post-primary level. 

Gaeloideachas provides advice, assistance and support to people who wish to have their children educated through the medium of Irish, as well as support services for Irish-medium schools in Gaeltacht and non-Gaeltacht areas and naíonraí outside the Gaeltacht.