New initiative to give primary school pupils a taste for languages

New initiative to give primary school pupils a taste for languages

The sample language modules will run in the first academic term of the 2021/2022 school year.

The Department of Education is rolling out a new six-week “sampler” initiative to give senior primary school pupils an opportunity to learn a new language, including sign language.

Under the initiative, all primary schools and special schools are being invited to sign up for a sampler module in which they can opt to learn a foreign language of their choice or sign language.

The scheme, announced by Minister for Education Norma Foley, will be open to schools on a voluntary basis and is aimed at pupils from third class upwards.

The six-week programme, which is being supported by Post-Primary Languages Ireland (PPLI), is designed to foster greater inclusion and appreciation of diversity in society and encourage the uptake of languages at post-primary level.

The initiative also supports the government strategy on foreign languages in education, ‘Languages Connect’.

Schools will have the autonomy to select the language they wish to introduce and to secure a language tutor or teacher, such as a language teacher from a post-primary school or someone from the school or wider community who is fluent in the language of choice.

The initiative will provide one hour of language tuition per week and will be supported by €200,000 in government funding.

For schools with one class taking part, a grant of €400 will be made available over the six weeks, with financial support rising to €1,000 for schools with four classes taking part.

Applications will be assessed by the Department and PPLI on the following criteria: a geographical spread of schools; a range of school contexts; diversity in the target languages; access to a language tutor; and the school’s rationale for involvement in the project.

Announcing the new language module, Ms 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.”

Interested schools are invited to submit a completed application form by close of business on Wednesday, June 23.

Forms are available at

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

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