All Students in Year 8 have the opportunity to study three languages, French, Irish, or Spanish.
In year 9 students will continue to study two of the above languages and in Year 10 each student will study one language. At the end of Year 10 students may opt to continue their language study in Key Stage 4 to GCSE level.
Throughout Key Stage 3 students grow in confidence in each of the four skill areas (attainment targets) of listening, speaking, reading and writing. They become familiar with the sounds, written form and grammar of the language and use this knowledge with increasing confidence and competence to express them-selves in role-play, conversation and writing.
ICT is used increasingly in our language teaching allowing students to tap into the internet as a language learning resource.
We try to make language learning a positive experience for all students who are made aware of the relevance of learning a language in an increasingly global society. Students celebrate the diversity of language every year on ‘European Day of Languages’ — with a European breakfast and quiz. Students also have the opportunity to celebrate the diversity of cultures and language which exists in the College with taster lessons in languages such as Polish and Portuguese. Year 10 pupils participate in workshops as part of the “Opportunity Europe” event held in St George’s Market in Belfast.
We aim to develop the students’ cultural awareness as an important aspect of their language learning. A great many students will avail of the opportunity to practice their language skills during their time at the College by participating in an educational visit to the ‘target language’ country. Students from all year groups have participated in enlightening and enjoyable school trips to France which take place regularly in the College.
Annually pupils take part in numerous Irish Language events. Year 10 students take part in the ‘Gael Linn’ Quiz; over the past few years winners from each category have proceeded to the Ulster Finals.
The College hosts ‘Feis Bhéal Feirste’, which is attended by schools from throughout Belfast. Our ‘Gaeilgóirí’ have been winners in all year groups, in both the conversation and poetry sections. Coláiste Phádraig has previously held the ‘Gradam Uí Chréagáin’, which is awarded to the secondary school with the best overall proficiency in spoken Irish. The college also currently retains the ‘File Feirste’ Shield, awarded to the school with the best overall performance in poetry; Coláiste Phádraig has also been awarded the cup for the best individual poetry performance in a specific year group. First-prize winners from the Feis have obtained scholarships to various Donegal gaeltacht colleges, as a result of their performance.
Cumann Cultúrtha Mic Reachtain undertake speaking tests with all students of Irish in Key Stage 3, where students can obtain their ‘Cúpla Focal’, ‘Bunteastas’ and ‘Fáinne Airgid’ awards; Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5 Irish students can proceed to undertake the ‘Meánteastas’ and ‘Fáinne Óir’ award. Guests from the world of education and the media have acknowledged, and presented these, at the annual awards ceremonies.