Derry Irish and Integrated schools form unique partnership

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Neighbouring Irish medium and integrated primary schools in Derry have formed a unique shared education partnership.

A group of students from Gaelscoil na Daróige and Groarty Integrated Primary School have formed a joint choir and were last week learning festive tunes as gaelige in both Irish and English as part of the project.

The festive tunes are in preparation for a bilingual Christmas Concert taking place at Foyleside Shopping Centre in December 14.

It is part of a wider education project involving the two schools, which are located on either side of the Coshquin Road in the Ballymagroarty area.

Oisín Mac Eo, principal of Gaelscoil na Daróige, said: “It’s a very unique partnership because it’s between the Gaelscoil and an Integrated School.

“We started off with a number of extra-cirricular activities. We have a joint choir, football jointly together as well, and they practice every week on a Tuesday and Wednesday.

“We also work on joint literacy work and CRED Community Relations Education work.”

Mr Mac Eo said the proximity of the two schools meant the project made sense.

He said: “Because we are two schools of similar size, in a similar position, next to each other, and it just seemed natural we should work together to maximise the resources and the provisions we could provide for the children.

“Also as professionals, sharing expertise, there are things maybe that we could do here we could skill their teachers up, and things they had to increase our knowledge too.

“That has been going since last year and it’s great. Teachers love working together.

“Between the two of us we are offering something different and unique in terms of choice for parents in the area- integrated education and Irish medium education. It means the parents in this area have a great opportunity to choose something a wee bit different for their children.”

The schools will be doing their own Christmas shows and have invited each other to watch, while the joint choir is getting in some final practice before taking to the stage at Foyleside Shopping Centre on December 14th to perform some bilingual songs.