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SNP to explore creation of a designated 'Gàidhealtachd' as part of measures to support Gaelic

Gaelic-medium education - Image credit: Bord na Gaidhlig

SNP to explore creation of a designated 'Gàidhealtachd' as part of measures to support Gaelic

The SNP will explore the creation of a recognised ‘Gàidhealtachd’, a designated Gaelic-speaking area, as part of a suite of measures to strengthen the Gaelic language if it is re-elected in May.

The aim is to provide more services in Gaelic, raise levels of language competence and increase opportunities to use Gaelic in both everyday situations and formal settings.

Other measures would support Gaelic throughout the whole of Scotland would include expanding Gaelic-medium education.

Because Gaelic-medium schools are most effective where they are fully immersive, there would be a presumption against co-locating new Gaelic-medium schools with English-speaking schools, although existing Gaelic units within English-medium schools would continue to be supported.

The expansion of Gaelic-medium education would be backed by investment to increase the number of teachers who can teach through the medium of Gaelic as well as widening the range of subjects that can be taught in Gaelic at both the lower and senior phases of secondary school.

The SNP says it would also review the functions and structures of Bòrd na Gàidhlig to ensure there is effective leadership in place and it would continue to invest in BBC Alba and BBC Radio nan Gàidheal.

As well as specific measures to support Gaelic, the party plans to bring forward a Scottish languages bill in the next parliament covering both Gaelic and Scots.

Alasdair Allan, the SNP candidate for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, said: “The SNP fully recognises the massively important contribution the Gaelic tradition has and continues to make to Scotland’s rich culture.

“This commitment will be welcomed by both Gaelic and non-Gaelic-speaking Scots alike and will be key to encouraging the use of Gaelic in our communities.

“We will put our money where our mouth is to encourage the creation of new Gaelic primary and secondary schools across the country with major investment to increase the number of teachers who can teach through Gaelic.

“We want to increase the range of subjects that can be taught in GME for both a broad general education and in the senior phase of secondary school.

“That’s why we will explore the bursaries that are available to encourage conversion to Gaelic.

“The pandemic has highlighted the importance and value of e-Sgoil and Stòrlann in making Gaelic education resources available.

“We will ensure they continue to be supported in order to help in school education, adult learning, teacher support and community learning.

“We believe there is value is creating a recognised ‘Gàidhealtachd’ to raise levels of language competence and the provision of more services through Gaelic.

“Supporting the creation of a Gàidhealtachd helps reinforce what is the position in some parts of the country already. A recognition of Gaelic as a primary language of a place.

“Through reviewing the functions and structures of Bòrd na Gàidhlig, we will explore how it can support the formal recognition of a Gàidhealtachd.

“The review will also consider how the Scottish Government and BnG can work with other bodies that have functions in arts, tourism and heritage to explore what more they can do to help deliver faster rates of progress for Gaelic.

“In order to achieve these ambitions, we will ensure that Sabhal Mòr Ostaig’s place as a centre of excellence for provision of Gaelic training is both recognised and supported, with dedicated funding to offer FE/HE courses through and for Gaelic.

“And in the next parliament we will also bring forward a new Scottish Languages Bill which takes further steps to support Gaelic, act on the Scots language and recognises that Scotland is a multilingual society.”

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