Factors which impact on transitions from Irish-medium Naíscoil to Bunscoil
Keywords:Irish-medium, Early Years, Transitions
The Irish-medium naíscoil (pre-primary) sector is considered the foundation stone on which further sectoral developments at primary and post-primary level are initiated. This paper reports on research commissioned by the Department of Education in Northern Ireland on the educational outcomes of Irish-medium [IM] pre-school settings. The research was undertaken by RSM Mc ClureWatters (Consulting) and the author of this paper was project manager and lead author. The research explored which core components lead to optimum readiness for transition to IM primary school and the extent to which these components are present in IM naíscoileanna in the statutory and voluntary sector in the north of Ireland. The research methods were qualitative including a desk based legislative and policy analysis, a literature review and semi-structured interviews with school staff. Findings indicate that IM naíscoil practice is different from monolingual English-medium practice in a number of ways including transition practices. There are also differences between statutory and voluntary naíscoileanna. A number of recommendations are made in order to ameliorate differences in provision and associated inconsistencies in order to ensure equality in provision and the best outcomes and transition experiences possible for young Irish-medium learners.