Minister Foley announces new language sampler module for third to sixth class pupils in primary and special schools

Gerry O'Sullivan

Posted: 31 May, 2021

Minister for Education Norma Foley TD has invited expressions of interest from English-medium and Irish-medium primary and special schools to participate in a new language sampler module.

The proposed language sampler allows schools identify a modern foreign language of their choice, or Irish Sign Language (ISL).  Schools will be supported by Post-Primary Languages Ireland (PPLI) in providing a six-week sampler module across a range of additional languages including Irish Sign Language (ISL).

This six-week sampler module is targeted at pupils in 3rd to 6th class for up to 1 hour per week within the normal school timetable. It will be open to schools to participate on a voluntary basis. Schools will have the autonomy to determine the language they wish to introduce to the children and to secure a language tutor/teacher e.g. language teacher/language assistant from a post-primary school /a member of the school/wider community who is fluent in the target language.

All language tutors will work under the guidance of the class teacher in terms of advice provided in Circular 0042/2018, around Garda vetting and other child protection requirements.

The new sampler module aims to:

  • Generate awareness among pupils of the range of languages used by their peers, including Irish Sign Language, in their schools and communities which may help support greater inclusion and appreciation of diversity in society
  • Encourage uptake of  languages at post-primary level
  • Provide opportunities for increased levels of collaboration among the school community with regard to the celebration of languages and cultures
  • Support implementation of Languages Connect, Ireland’s Strategy for Foreign Languages in Education 2017 – 2026.

Minister Foley said: “This exciting new initiative will provide pupils with opportunities to expand their experience with languages and also give them confidence in engaging with new languages.

“The sampler module will also inform future developments in the area of language acquisition and development of the Primary Curriculum Framework. I would encourage primary and special schools to explore this opportunity to take part in this new module.”

Interested schools should complete the Application Form available at no later than close of business on Wednesday 23 June 2021.

The Minister announced that some €200,000 is being provided to support this six week sampler module. Schools selected to participate in the module where it involves one classroom will be provided with a grant from the Department of Education of €400.  Schools selected with two classrooms participating will receive a grant of €600. Schools selected with three classrooms participating will receive a grant of €800. Finally, schools selected with four participating classrooms will receive a maximum grant of €1000.  .

The Department/PPLI will establish a panel to evaluate applications based on the following criteria:

  • a geographical spread of schools
  • a range of school contexts
  • diversity in the target languages
  • access to a language tutor
  • the school’s rationale for involvement in the project

Participation will be confirmed with schools by 27th August 2021. The module will take place over a six-week period towards the end of the first term of the 2021/2022 school year.

Languages Connect promotes the personal, social, professional and economic benefits of foreign language skills to principals, teachers, guidance counsellors, parents, students and wider society. Funded by the Department of Education and facilitated by Post Primary Languages Ireland, as a key objective of the strategy Languages Connect – Ireland’s Strategy for Foreign Languages in Education 2017 – 2026. For all the latest updates check out or follow on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

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