Description of the Scheme

This is a scheme to promote the use of spoken Irish. It is aimed at mainstream primary schools where the language of instruction is English.

Its purpose is to:

  • Support the work of the teachers following the Conversational Course for the Irish language as laid dow by the Department of Education and Skills and which forms part of the School Plan and the daily program.

  • Encourage use of conversational Irish as a natural part of school life;

  • Ensure certain language formulae relevant to school routine, e.g. roll call, lunch, clean up, lining up etc., are agreed in the school plan and used progressively from class to class and from year to year;

  • Promote regular opportunities for the school community, both staff and children, to enhance their vocabulary and to use the Irish language.

  • Recognise the central role of the parents and encourage their support and participation by keeping them informed about the scheme, by providing material to help them and by welcoming relevant material from them.

Year 1:

A certificate will be presented to schools whichregister and participate in the year 1programme of the Gaelbhratach scheme.

Application will be made for a certificate before May 15 indicating that the appropriate criteria have been met.

N.B. Feedback –This scheme is based on selfassessment. It will be necessary therefore to provide feedback so that we can assess progress in the schools, ascertain what help is required and what difference or improvement has been noticed. We require feedback twice yearly, on Blog if that suits or other system with a soundtrack. (See Assessment below) Feedback is a central part of the scheme and the Year 1 Certificate cannot be awarded unless this requirement is fulfilled. N.B. No feedback – no Gaelbhratach! Should any school have a problem for one reason or another, contact an tOifigeach Tionscadail and begin again at an agreed level.

Year 2:

A Gaelbhratach will be awarded to be flown by the school to indicate their achievement in the use of Irish as a living language by both staff and children.

The school will apply for a Gaelbhratach when the chosen targets have been met, necessary feedback has been provided twice during the year at the time agreed and their self assessment file is prepared. Call an t-Oifigeach Tionscadail if you have a

Having earned a Gaelbhratach a school will have it for two years. They may then apply to retain it for by achieving further chosen goals.

During the 3rd year there will be opportunities to:

(i) improve the Irish learned to date
(ii) acquaint new children in the school with the scheme
(iii) revisit elements /targets which could be of further benefit or which could be approached in a different way
(iv) begin work on a new target to maintain interest in the scheme and to begin work towards year 4. Feedback will be welcomed but not essential.

Renewing your Gaelbhratach During the fourth year An Gaelbhratach will need to be renewed to ascertain that Irish is still being used as a living language by both children and staff. It will be necessary to provide Feedback twice during year 4 and to send a self-assessment file to the Gaelbhratach office before the end of the school year in order to keep the Gaelbhratach for another two years.

How will we set to work on the scheme?

  • Register with Gaelbhratach

  • The whole school community will participate – children, teachers, ancillary staff and parents.

  • The question of Language Awareness will be discussed with the school community including the pupils. It is recommended that this be undertaken to begin the work towards a Gaelbhratach.
    (See Language Awareness in Tacábhar)

  • Listen to the children’s spontaneous interactions to select their most frequently used phrases and topics which will be integrated into the Irish conversation course. The functions and themes of the course will need to be adapted to accommodate the needs of the children.

  • Staff will select language functions, a phrase/phrases ‘of the week’ which will meet the language needs of the children, the curriculum and the school plan and be used as a staff and as pupils throughout the school. These new phrases or language functions will be used as often as possible in other areas of work, and informally when appropriate.

  • Children will be enabled and encouraged to avail of opportunities to use the Irish learned inside and outside the classroom with their own teacher, with other teachers and with other children in the school. Pride in their ability to use Irish will be encouraged.

  • *Note Children repeat what they hear and if they hear only orders being given in The children need to hear many different forms of the verbs being used naturally and they also need to have them carefully taught in middle/senior classes.

Some examples:

  • Faigh – Caithfidh tú do chóta a fháil; Cuir/bain díot – Caithfidh tú do bhróga peile a chur ort/a bhaint díot; Dún – Caithfimid an doras a dhúnadh. Déan – Caithfimid na sumaí a dhéanamh ar dtús; Féach samplaí eile in Spreag an Ghaeilge le Spraoi

  • The school environment will be used to encourage the use of Irish by displaying phrases of the week and other notices in Irish.

  • Analysis of the Irish learnt and in use will be carried out in conjunction with the children. – “Cad is féidir linn a rá as Gaeilge anois?” (WALT/KWL charts could be used here. –We Are Learning Too/Know Want to Know Learned).

  • The role of the parents will be acknowledged. They will be supported by providing materials to the home or online – materials such as: ‘the phrase of the week’, greetings, social phrases rhymes/songs with commonly used phrases stories on CDs, etc. Parents may, as appropriate, be invited to the school to show their support.

Suggestions for implementation

  • Games, drama, and fun help to teach Irish in an enjoyable way so the children look forward to Irish class.

  • Support the conversation course with useful phrases, rhymes, songs, sketches, games, drama and puppets.

  • Use every opportunity to reuse the Irish already taught/ learnt in various situations, as part of the regular class
    – roll call, assembly, music lessons, during art, in sports, science etc.

See other examples below.

  • Use Irish in a planned manner as part of the school assembly. The school assembly provides an excellent opportunity to use Irish in another context: – e.g. as part of class management

  • Beginning the Assembly; singing a prepared Irish song together; references to seasonal events like Hallowe’en;, announcements like birthdays; school sports results and closing the assembly.

  • Encourage communication in Irish among the children at sports or when playing – e.g. “Mo shealsa anois!” “Liomsa an imirt!” “Fuair mise uimhir a trí.” “Bhí an bua ag…” “Gan chlogad, gan chluiche!” “Caith isteach an liathróid.” “Buail í!” Scaoil uait í; “Cá bhfuil mo chamán?” “Caithfimid na clogaid a fháil.” “Caithfidh mé mo chlogad a chur orm.” “Go gasta!” “Go tapa!” “Go beo!” “We must hurry!”

  • Use stickers associated with nature and with spoken Irish.

  • The staff decide on a daily/regular activity to be associated with Irish – e.g. preparing for assembly, roll call, lunch time – “Is gearr /ní fada go mbeidh sé in am…” “Tá sé ag tarraingt ar… “Caithfimid an seomra/na boird a ghlanadh” “Tá cead… a fháil anois” “Cé a bheidh chun tosaigh/ ag barr na líne?” N.B. You will notice that the imperative form of the verb has not been used above. The alternative form is more useful for the children.


  • Plan suitable occasions to provide the school community with opportunities to speak Irish – e.g. a quiz (for the children), storytelling session, reading session, drama session.

    A special occasion, perhaps at Christmas, Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, or during a local festival, where a concert, drama, or show could be staged for parents of particular classes.

  • School Ancillary Staff Seek support from ancillary teachers who come to teach music, games, dancing etc. Explain the scheme to them. Some social phrases, greetings, rhymes and songs relevant to their subjects/ responsibilities might also be made available, as well as material being sent to parents. Similarly support should be sought from the secretary, caretaker and other ancillary staff who have contact with the children.

Available Support

  • An tOifigeach Tionscadail in the office of Gaelbhratach will provide ongoing support

  • A booklet Tacábhar will be available containing practical suggestions to help with the work.

  • Workshops will be held during the year to support the work.

  • If you have any doubt about the accuracy of Irish you have prepared to teach in a conversation class please text or call an tOifigeach Tionscadail.

  • A special online page/ blog will be available with some current phrases as appropriate for festivals/ daily routines/ special occasions. An tOifigeach Tionscadail will help those schools interested in blogging. This blog will facilitate: displaying children’s work in Irish; making contact with children in other schools listening to stories, music etc. showing their own videos…

  • Contact details will be available to facilitate networking A Whatsapp thread and a Facebook Page will be available for teachers. Some support material will be made available in the school and on line.

  • Teachers will be informed of a range of resources available on-line, including interactive resources suitable for use with
    interactive whiteboards. Internet links will be available. See the sites listed below:

    http.//www. e.g. Spreag an Ghaeilge le Spraoi; a folder of material for Irish in Primary Schools. There is a lot of suitable material available on this site; Céimeanna Beaga (practical Irish & 4 CDs, FNT 2006)
    Amhráin do Pháistí (Rhymes and songs with CD, FNT) Bróga Nua (Book with 100 rhymes & songs and 2 CDs, FNT) Dánta Duitse (Gabriel Rosenstock) Rabhlaí Rabhlaí (eag. R. Ó Catasaigh Báidín Fheidhlimidh (Éabhlóid) Gugalaí Gug (Futa Fata) Birthday calendar/ nature calendar; stickers; Séideán Sí (Irish language course for primary level gaelscoileanna), etc. Grammar books; Gaeilge Bheo, Gael Linn. “Cluiche Gaeilge Smarty Cats” will be available @ 20% discount when you mention Gaelbhratach. See other references in Tacábhar.

  • A support visit will be arranged by An tOifigeach Tionscadail as appropriate.

Assessment Scheme

Assessment for a Certificate (Year 1) In order to gain a certificate the following is necessary: the school is registered with Gaelbhratach from the previous September

All, or the majority, of the school staff have attended a workshop provided by Gaelbhratach;

Feedback twice yearly – No feedback – no Gaelbhratach – A self-assessment folder is completed containing an appropriate record (on Blog or other recording device) to demonstrate: (a) that Section A as laid out below has been completed during the year;
(b) the 6 targets from Section B chosen by the school are listed;
(c) the 2 targets, at least, which have been achieved as well as a plan for the other 4 targets chosen;
(d) the children speaking/conversing in Irish;
(e) the school is ready to present the selfassessment file to the Gaelbhratach office before May 15.
N.B. It may take more than one year to become familiar with the approach involved in this scheme. Contact An tOifigeach Tionscadail if you have a problem.

Assessment for a Gaelbhratach (Year 2)

It is necessary for the school to have a Teastas from Year 1.

An application for a Gaelbhratach must be made on or before the first week in April accompanied by the Self- Assessment Folder.

The Self-Assessment Folder will contain:

(a) Section A targets: showing changes/development of targets during year 2 e.g. The current committee. Teaching Irish through Irish, planning for development of Irish in the school etc.
(b) Feedback (a necessary part of the scheme) You will be required to provide feedback twice during the year (using Survey Monkey questionnaires, blog or other means with soundtrack) to show your progress.
(c) Section B targets: A record and demonstration showing each of the 6 targets achieved by the school. It must show the school children using Irish naturally. A lot of this material may be on record/Blog already. Following is a complete list of the assessment criteria.
Assessment Criteria A General requirements:

1. Participation by the whole school
2. Committee with pupil participation
3. Designated staff member(s) as Contact(s)
4. That Irish be taught through the medium of Irish
5. Language awareness to awaken understanding, respect and interest in languages in general and particularly in Irish
6. The school plan for the Irish language Conversation Course including a list of forms agreed by the staff, of greetings, social phrases etc.
7. A plan for the use of Irish in the school environment – phrases to be displayed and actively used.
8. Participate in Lá/Seachtain/Coicís na Gaeilge.
9. Teachers supporting parents’ participation in the scheme.
10. Support visiting teachers as well as ancilliary staff – the Secretary, Caretaker… participating in the scheme.