Associate Feature: Opportunities for all with Gaelic Education
Bòrd na Gàidhlig welcomed the findings of the 2021/22 Scottish Social Attitudes Survey (SSA), with the number of Scots able to speak some Gaelic having doubled over the last decade and support for Gaelic seen to increase greatly. The SSA found that more than half of those surveyed would like to see the number of Gaelic speakers in Scotland rise in the future, with 56% giving their backing. The SSA also highlighted a major shift of attitude towards education, with 55% of those surveyed believing that all children in Scotland between five and 15-years-old, should be taught Gaelic as a school subject for between one and two hours a week. This is a marked rise from just 38% support in 2012.
Gaelic Medium Education (GME) is one of the key priorities identified within the National Gaelic Language Plan (NGLP) and it is currently available in 16 Local Authorities in Scotland. As demand increases, there is professional support and advice available from Bòrd na Gàidhlig for all councils as they develop their GME provision. The Statutory Guidance on Gaelic Education contains information on the assessment process Local Authorities must follow when they receive applications from parents who wish to establish GME in their area.
The first successful application from parents resulted in the establishment of new GME provision in North Ayrshire in August 2020, where Bòrd na Gàidhlig provided Local Authority Officers and the School Leadership Team with the support & advice required to recruit staff and source funding to design and deliver GME within their local context. Subsequent applications from parents have resulted in Renfrewshire offering GME for the first time in 2022; while East Renfrewshire will begin their GME provision in 2023.
A further commitment in the NGLP to prioritise Gaelic teacher promotion and retention resulted in Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s #DèanDiofar (make a difference) campaigns, encouraging people to consider a career in Gaelic teaching and Early Years. Showcasing videos and information from practitioners currently working in Gaelic education, the campaign highlights the advantages and opportunities of a career in Gaelic education.
Bòrd na Gàidhlig offer funding schemes to support those who wish to teach in GME, from the Gaelic Education Grants Scheme supporting student teachers and early years practitioners into GME, to funding for Gaelic language courses at each level including courses offered by Sabhal Mòr Ostaig and a full-time immersion course delivered by the University of Glasgow.
Padlets have been created as a guide through the different routes into Gaelic teaching, and the digital noticeboards can be accessed by scanning the QR codes on the education pages of our website. Users can assess their level of Gaelic and choose a suitable Gaelic language course to support them to teach in GME. Whether users are looking to study Gaelic at undergraduate or postgraduate level, teach Gaelic as a subject, teach a secondary subject through Gaelic or are a qualified teacher looking to transfer into GME, the Padlets contain all the information they need.
In addition to GME, Bòrd na Gàidhlig recognises the importance of Gaelic Learner Education in ensuring that young people from accross Scotland can access and be exposed to the language. Bòrd na Gàidhlig are currently working with Local Authorities renewing their Gaelic Language Plans to ensure ambitious targets are set for the delivery of Gaelic as L3. Organisations such as Fèisean nan Gàidheal support L3 delivery through their Fèis Sgoil project; and there are also training courses and resources available such as Go!Gaelic, produced by Stòrlann Nàiseanta.
Further information on Gaelic education is available on Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s website www.gaidhlig.scot or by contacting the Education Team at email@example.com
Ann Morrison is an Education Manager at Bòrd na Gàidhlig.
This article is sponsored by Bòrd na Gàidhlig.