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GAA Future Leaders programme a huge success in Laois school

The GAA Future Leaders Transition Year Programme is a joint initiative from the GAA and the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST).

The modules being completed at Portlaoise College are Nutrition as a part of the Home Economics course, Wellbeing as a part of Social Studies and Gaisce, Sports Journalism in English and Event management as a part of their PE classes.

The modules chosen give the students a broad range of skills and the opportunity to gain experience in all areas.

This is the first year of the Programme at Portlaoise College and it has proven to be extremely successful. One of the excellent aspects of the programme is that it is inclusive.

There is no requirement from this programme to be involved in GAA or to play a GAA related sport. The programme takes the fundamentals of GAA and incorporates them into one programme.

Students learn the importance of teamwork, getting involved, being responsible, having good attitudes, realising their potential and using their own unique skills.

Teachers of the programme have noticed students’ confidence increasing as they volunteer themselves to take on certain aspects of the programme from creating and designing logos, crests and posters, to using their organisational skills to run and manage events. Students develop an awareness of themselves and the areas they excel in.

The programme gives students ownership of their learning as it encourages them to document their progress by individual reflection which occurs through their own ePortfolios where they are able to record what they have achieved in the programme and reflect on their experiences.

Social media is used throughout the programme in the form of an instagram account which the students have total control of while being monitored by the teacher.

A positive approach to social media is shown through their instagram account as they encourage each other to share their accomplishments.

The Portlaoise College GAA Future Leaders account is available for parents, students and staff to follow.

The account exhibits students’ work from recipes they have prepared and presented from the GAA ‘Recipes for Success’ booklet to Hurling and Football challenges.

The account gives great insight into the work being completed by the students and also fantastic effort they are putting into being active and creative during lockdown.

One of our T.Y. students Ben Campbell who is participating in the programme gave his own insight into the programme.

He said: “From the perspective of a student, I can say that having the Future Leaders module is a very good thing.

“The programme is designed to inspire and motivate students and during this, our second major lockdown it is really great to have something to do every day.

“The challenges range from fun, to challenging to informative.

“Whether it’s working on GAA skills, cooking or making TikToks, the programme is very inclusive to all students and is very helpful and positive during this time.

“Overall, I find the project to be a great benefit for students at this current time and would recommend that as many students as possible get involved with it if and when they have the opportunity to do so.

“You have nothing to lose, so you may as well try it!”

SEE ALSO – Planning permission granted for new €24 million Garda station in Portlaoise

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.