Irish GCSE result success

LAST Thursday saw Gaelscoil an Chaistil’s Primary 7 pupils receiving their Irish GCSE results.

This is the third year that Primary 7 children in Gaelscoil an Chaistil have sat their Irish GCSE - an exam that they normally wouldn’t sit until they were 16.

Brídín Ní Dhonnghaile, principal, stated: “These are exceptional results for 11 year old pupils. This year, they achieved 10 A*s, 2As and 2Bs”.

While Gaelscoil an Chaistil is celebrating the GCSE grades, the school’s reputation for excellence is growing, thanks to the high calibre of its governors and staff, explained Brídín.

“We have a great team in place at every level. Our board of governors brings a huge wealth of skill sets and includes a former inspector of schools, a special needs expert, two preschool specialists, a social worker and specialists in immersion education and management skills.

“We also have a very experienced staff team who have taught both in the English medium and Gaelic-medium sectors. They all contribute greatly to our close knit team through sharing teaching and learning methodologies. Indeed, Gaelscoil an Chaistil has invested heavily in ICT both in terms of equipment and up-skilling our staff in the last few years, and we are involved in a number of online and other technology projects which enhance literacy and numeracy.”

Brídín continued: “One of the areas of excellence of which the school is particularly proud is our ‘Core Skills’ (Maths and English / Gaelic literacy). Several years ago we employed a Core Skills Tutor, who works very closely with all our children in conjunction with our Special Needs Co-ordinator and myself.

“This has allowed us to significantly improve the early identification of any potential needs children may have at all levels of the curriculum, from Primary 1 up through the whole school. This work has made a huge difference and the results speak for themselves, with our ongoing assessment results amongst the highest of any school in any sector throughout the North.”

Brídín continued: “This year we are participating in two Special Educational Needs pilot schemes with the NEELB. The main aims of these are to continue to up-skill our staff and to further enhance early detection of needs.”

Not satisfied with two languages, Gaelscoil an Chaistil is now providing Spanish. The school also places a strong emphasis on music and the arts, with a busy extra-curricular after schools programme in traditional music and sport.

Brídín finished: “As a school we are proud of what we are doing here in Ballycastle and we are especially proud that children from the youngest of ages up can gain a real authentic experience of our Gaelic language and culture while attaining the highest standards in education. It is my job and my passion that the wonderful attainments of these children today will spur them on to greater things, not only for themselves but also for their local community.”

The school is this year also celebrating the opening of a full time statutory nursery unit.

Brídín explained: “We are all delighted about the new nursery unit. We’ve been inundated with applications for places and will be running two nursery sessions this year, full time for the pre-school children and a morning session for younger children from 2 years and 10 months old.”

Gaelscoil an Chaistil can be contacted on 028 2076 8883 or on