Meet the Irish department
Robbie Keenan has been the Head of Irish for 10 years now. For these past 3 years we are also lucky to have Ciara Booth working with us one day a week as language assistant, assisting the GCSE / A-Level students with their oral work. As well as that, we have Ian Mc Millan teaching at KS3 class.
We currently offer full GCSE, AS and A level Irish. All courses are based on a wide range of topics, very applicable to the age of the students at each stage. The students study these topics using the four main language skills; speaking, reading, listening and writing. All students are encouraged to use Irish as much as possible, both in and outside the classroom, which leads to an excellent ability in all four areas. The Irish department has an excellent academic record at all levels, with 100% A-C at AS and A-level over these past 10 years.
Throughout the year in the Irish department, all students take part in a varied programme of events to suit all abilities and tastes. Every summer the students get the opportunity to spend 3 weeks in the Donegal Gaeltacht, parent-free, making friends for life, all while improving their language skills. During Irish week in March, the students get a greater taste of the language, as well as the culture which surrounds it. A lot of the students will perform on stage during Irish week assembly, which usually is a full hour of singing, dancing, drama and instrumentals. Every year in February we re-tell the story of St Brigid, and make the crosses which she made so famous the world over. Throughout the year we have different baking/cooking demonstrations in Irish, the results of which can be seen on social media. For our older students there is the chance to visit the Donegal Gaeltacht for a weekend during the year, when we stay with a local family and visit local organisations and businesses to get a better taste of what it is like to live all year in a Gaeltacht area. We also offer work –experience opportunities in Irish language organisations such as local schools, businesses and TV companies to name a few. Just this year, Conor Quayle in Yr 13 spent four days working with BelowTheRadar TV, making a programme for the BBC, which aired during the month of March.
What we do well
In the Irish department we pride ourselves on our ability to encourage students to think independently. From year 8 onwards, many of our lessons are focused on independent learning and fostering an ability in each student; to think for themselves, to work independently, to use their initiative and push themselves constantly.
All our students are fully informed and expertly guided throughout the course, in full knowledge of what is expected of them, but also, that I am always there to help in whichever way I can.
Websites for independent learning