Education news

Linda Ervine celebrates A grade in A-level Irish

Linda Ervine 
Rebecca Black, Press Association

The sister-in-law of a former loyalist leader has achieved an A grade in A-level Irish.

Linda Ervine said seven years ago she did not speak a word of Irish and was delighted by her result.

She studied the A-level course part-time over two years at An Droichead language school on the Ormeau Road in south Belfast.

Mrs Ervine is married to Brian Ervine, the brother of former Progressive Unionist Party (PUP) leader David who is acknowledged as one of the architects of the Good Friday Agreement.

Mrs Ervine works as an Irish Language Development Officer at the East Belfast Mission.

She described balancing the classes with work commitments as challenging, but acknowledged that the sector she works in was a help when it came to practising the spoken language.

But Mrs Ervine said she was very pleasantly surprised to get an A, after getting a B at the AS stage.

"I did something very foolish in the AS exam, especially for a former teacher - I missed a section of the exam and so ended up with a B with that stage," she said.

"I never expected to get an A, I was hoping to hold on to the B and not slip down to a C so I was absolutely delighted by my final result."

The A-level is the latest stage in both her Irish language and education journey, she said.

"I left school with no qualifications and worked as a cleaner and in a chip shop," Mrs Ervine said.

"In my early thirties I went back to college thinking I might do a qualification in typing to work in an office.

"But I ended up getting all As in my GCSEs, and then went on to do A-levels, an English degree at Queen's University, Belfast, and then my PGCE to teach."

Mrs Ervine taught English at Ashfield Girls' School for nine years.

But she said her journey was still ongoing and that she plans to go back to university to do a degree in Irish.

Read more: 

Linda Ervine: I realised Irish belonged to me - a Protestant - and I fell in love with it

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