Cork Camogie player Julia White, Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael John Horan, and former Clare hurler Colin Ryan pictured at the launch of the GAA/PDST Future Leaders TY Programme at Croke Park.
Cork Camogie player Julia White, Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael John Horan, and former Clare hurler Colin Ryan pictured at the launch of the GAA/PDST Future Leaders TY Programme at Croke Park.

More than 260 schools sign up to GAA/PDST Future Leaders TY programme

The GAA/PDST Future Leaders Transition Year Programme is being rolled out in over 260 Post Primary Schools as of September 2018. The cross-curricular programme comprising of eight Modules in subjects as diverse as Coaching, Sports Journalism and Event Management, is designed to provide a learning experience based on the practical application of the skills from each module, by empowering every student to play an active role in the organisation of a Gaelic Games opportunity in their school or community. As such it aims to bring the GAA value of ‘Inclusion’ to life in every Post Primary School undertaking the programme.

We want these students to have a lifelong involvement in the Association as coaches, referees, administrators and players. The programme will develop life skills in the students, supporting them to be more physically active, to be more focused and aware, to be better communicators and team workers and to have a sense of belonging in their community and their place. There are benefits to the pupil, the school, to local clubs and communities, and to the country as a whole.

Through our partnership with the PDST, the country’s largest single Continuing Professional Development Service for primary and post-primary schools, the programme is supporting school leaders and teachers in meaningfully embedding the use of digital technologies into teaching, learning and assessment practices. The involvement of the PDST has been invaluable and indispensable to the development and rollout of the programme. Through the PDST Associate model our GAA Future Leaders PDST associates provide CPD training to Teachers across the Country, supported by a digital repository of multimedia resources.

The GAA Learning Platform is also allowing the GAA to support the development of our young people by providing them with a safe online environment to produce and share records and reflections of their learning experience while encouraging them to be active in Gaelic Games. We hope to be able to use this platform to work with the Dept of Education and Skills and the PDST to support the rollout of the new Junior Cert Well-being Curriculum as well as the Leaving Cert PE Pilot Programme.

The GAA Learning Platform is already engaging over 1000 Post Primary Teachers and over 15,000 students in over 260 Post Primary Schools across the country and as such is proven to be able to engage the Post Primary School system in the evolution of education in Ireland.

The GAA is delighted that through this partnership with the PDST we are able to align this programme with the Digital Literacy strategy as well as the broader aims of the evolving Junior and Senior Cycle curricula.

Yvonne McKenna, CEO Gaisce stated that: “The President’s Award is a personal development programme for young people. Participants set and achieve their own goals across four challenge areas: physical activity, personal skill, community involvement and a team/adventure journey. Gaisce is a direct challenge from the President to all young people in Ireland to dream big and fulfil their potential.

“Young people participating in the Future Leaders Programme can use their involvement towards their Gaisce award. There’s an obvious fit between Gaisce and the Future Leaders Programme because in many respects, the objectives are similar. Gaisce exists to provide young people with an opportunity to explore their passions, test their limits and unlock their potential.

“In addition to confidence and wellbeing, participation in Gaisce is proven to develop the ‘soft skills’ that are central to young people making positive life choices and taking their rightful place in the world: from self-management to leadership.

“It’s wonderful that, right from the get-go of this partnership, Gaisce will be part of the e-portfolio of the Future Leaders Programme through the ‘reflective journal’ element. The opportunity to reflect on the experience of the Future Leaders Programme and their Gaisce journey will enhance not only the sense of achievement, but the reality of what has been achieved.

“There will be a permanent record from which participants will be able to draw on long after their award has been achieved – hopefully taking it on to their Silver and Gold Gaisce Awards!”

Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael John Horan speaking at the GAA/PDST Future Leaders TY Programme Launch at Croke Park.
Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael John Horan speaking at the GAA/PDST Future Leaders TY Programme Launch at Croke Park.

Programme Overview

The “Future Leaders Transition Year Programme” is a joint initiative from the GAA and the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST). It is a cross-curricular programme comprising of eight modules, each designed to encourage maturity, initiative, responsibility and leadership skills in pupils. The Programme gives pupils the knowledge and skills to support all roles required in the effective staging of Gaelic Games. As part of the Programme pupils are challenged to organise and run a GAA Super Games Centre for younger students.

The PDST have been involved in the preparation of the Future Leaders programme providing advice on curriculum links, ensuring alignment with the TY programme, embedding the core concept of Physical Literacy, developing educational resources and delivering training to the participating schools.

Ciara O’ Donnell, National Director of the PDST stated: “The PDST team are delighted to be part of this wonderfully innovative project which provides rich opportunities for students to develop in the most holistic sense in line with the principles of the TY programme. I believe that this initiative provides a unique and creative learning pathway for young people to acquire skills which are both sports related and transferable not only across the curriculum, but beyond TY itself. It is a privilege to work with the schools involved and our colleagues in the GAA."

Course Structure:

  • The Programme is comprised of 8 modules.
  • All modules are between 6 – 10hrs long, stand alone and individually certifiable. Pupils will receive a certificate for each completed module.
  • A school can choose to deliver one or more modules. Delivering five modules plus the organisation of a GAA Super Games Centre through the pupils, results in them being awarded the “GAA/PDST Future Leaders Award”.
  • When registered, each pupil gets an online e-Portfolio to store and share documentation and to submit tasks. Pupils receive certification for each module when all the tasks are completed and submitted to their e-Portolio.


  • Future Leaders FMS & Coaching of hurling / Gaelic football Module
  • Future Leaders Refereeing Module
  • Future Leaders Administration Module
  • Future Leaders Sports Journalism Module
  • Future Leaders Performance Analysis Module
  • Future Leaders Event Management Module
  • Future Leaders Wellbeing Module
  • Future Leaders Nutrition Module


  • There is a competition element to the “Future Leaders Programme” also. For example, the best “Sports Journalist” will shadow a sports journalist in Croke Park on a big match day.
  • These will be national competitions and the winners will be picked from the work submitted to the pupils’ e-portfolio.

Role for Everyone:

  • There are many jobs that need to be filled by Transition Year pupils to ensure the successful running of the Super Games Centre. This is the practical application of the skills pupils acquired in the various modules.
  • Future Leaders Committee – This is comprised of a group of pupils who oversee the overall day to day running of the Super Games Centre. The Committee is made up of a chairperson, a secretary, a PRO etc, and oversees everything and organises the weekly roster for the various other jobs.
  • Team Managers – Responsible for ensuring team knows when and where games are on and for the team during games.
  • Referees / Umpires / Linesmen – These are appointed to the various games by the Fixtures Committee.
  • Journalists – The PRO is responsible for appointing a journalist to each game. The journalist then writes a match report which is emailed to the PRO for the Social Media Committee to post on the Super Games Centre Facebook and Twitter account and for the school’s website.
  • Photographers – The PRO is again responsible for appointing a photographer to each game. The photos are then emailed to the PRO for the Social Media Committee to post on the Super Games Centre Facebook and Twitter account and for the school’s website.
  • Performance Analysists – There will be a performance analyst working with each team collecting various data.
  • Nutritionists – These will meet the 1st and 2nd year pupils and discuss healthy eating with them and prepare healthy eating plans for them.

Benefits of Programme:

  • The Super Games Centre allows players to take ownership of the Games and feel a sense of belonging and enjoyment in a fun, safe environment. As the TY pupils themselves are responsible for organising and running all aspects of the 1st and 2nd Year Super Games Centre, this course encourages and empowers the Transition Year pupils to take ownership and responsibility for everything linked to the games, which make the match day experience what it is.
  • By completing the various modules and running a Super Games Centre, pupils really do develop, mature and benefit in so many ways, which can only be achieved by putting their newly acquired skills and knowledge to use in a practical, real life setting.
  • The programme is officially linked to Gaisce the President’s Award, and pupils can do their Bronze Award through the Future Leaders Programme once they are registered for both.

For more information and to register please visit