Virtual Gaelic school gets funding boost

Written by Tom Freeman on 24 August 2016 in News

Pupils in Western Isles to be offered greater range of subject choice through new virtual Gaelic school

Virtual classroom in second life - credit Fleep Tuque​

A scheme to widen the availability for subject choices for teenagers in the Western Isles is to benefit from a £700,000 funding boost.

Gaelic virtual school the E-Sgoil, announced by Gaelic agency Bòrd na Gàidhlig in March, will be based in Stornoway and initially focus on Highers, Advanced Highers and supporting teachers in training.

This may include some classes being delivered online and creating networks for those studying the same subjects far apart.


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Initial funding of £150,000 from Bòrd na Gàidhlig will be boosted by £550,000 of Scottish Government funding, education secretary John Swinney has announced.

“We have committed to improving the use of digital technology through our digital learning and teaching strategy. The new E-sgoil is an excellent example of how we can do this for pupils living in rural communities,” he said.

“This innovative project will address many of the issues identified by the island councils last year including teacher recruitment for certain subjects and subject choices for pupils in the senior phase of school.”

Western Isles council (Comhairle nan Eilean Siar) welcomed the announcement and pledged match funding.

Councillor Catriona Stewart, chair of education and children’s services for the local authority said partnerships were being sought with Highland Council, Argyll and Bute Council, Orkney Council and Shetland Council.

“The E-Sgoil will also provide a national online professional community for Gaidhlig teachers and an online central resource for all learning and teaching resources,” she said.

“The programme will also support Gaelic Medium Education in primary schools and, more importantly, provide pupils in small rural primary schools access to a wider peer group and facilitate a more collaborative approach to learning and teaching between schools and across authorities.” 

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