Bòrd na Gàidhlig Supports Cnoc Soilleir Project

Bòrd na Gàidhlig has today announced funding for the Cnoc Soilleir project in Uist.

The project is a partnership between both Ceòlas Uibhist and Lews Castle College (UHI) to establish a centre for Gàidhlig music, dance and cultural heritage.  It has been designed to support the growth of Ceòlas, which has been successful in using the Gaelic language naturally within a community setting and attracting national and international audiences to the Gaelic arts and culture.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig has awarded funding of £150,000 towards the £7 million project which has already received Scottish Government funding.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig Cathraiche (Chair), Allan MacDonald, said: “Increasing the use and status of any minoritised language is important in its revitalisation, as is the economic benefit from activities connected with the language.  The Cnoc Soilleir project is an excellent example of the Gaelic language’s unlimited potential in generating both economic and social benefits to Scotland.  Ceòlas has long been enjoyed by a worldwide audience, including strong connections with Nova Scotia, and has played on the linguistic and cultural strengths of South Uist in particular.”

“Cnoc Soilleir will involve the Gaelic language, culture and community in a unique way. The use of Gaelic in the arts is vital to the future of the language in Scotland, playing an important role in encouraging its use, increasing its visibility, strengthening its appeal while maintaining loyalty to it.  The project will also create new large economic and social benefits to Uist, through the creation of jobs and the generation of additional revenue streams. At the same time it will help increase the number of Gaelic speakers and the opportunities to use the language. It is through innovative initiatives such as this that we must look to support the Gaelic language and our rural communities going forward.”

Welcoming the funding, Ceòlas Board Member, Catrìona MacIntyre, said: “The Ceòlas board are delighted that Bòrd na Gàidhlig is supporting the Cnoc Soilleir project with this generous grant. The Bòrd na Gàidhlig grant will enable us to establish new and improved facilities for teaching Gaelic at the forthcoming Cnoc Soilleir centre and will support the growth of Ceòlas’ Gaelic language learning activities in the heart of South Uist’s Gaelic community. Cnoc Soilleir will be hugely important for Gaelic, for Uist and for the Western Isles and the Bòrd na Gàidhlig grant demonstrates the increasing support for this ground-breaking partnership project. I’m pleased to say that we are at a really exciting point right now, so expect more announcements in the next few weeks.”

Response to Press and Journal Article “Gaelic Gestapo forcing Moray to spend £40k” (22/3/2017)

Dear Sir,

I refer to the article prepared by Ben Hendry, Gaelic Gestapo forcing Moray to spend £40k(22/03/2017) and would like to clarify some of the misconceptions in the article.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig works with public authorities across Scotland to support them to develop and implement Gaelic language plans which are appropriate to their functions.  These plans support opportunities for communities to learn about their heritage, to foster interest in learning one of Scotland’s languages and to allow families to participate in bilingual education.

It is clear from place names in Moray – such as Knockando, Elgin, and Kinloss – that the area has a significant Gaelic heritage and Moray Council’s Gaelic plan offers an opportunity to increase people’s awareness of that heritage.  The often repeated complaints about costs and road signs have been proven time and again to be false.  In fact, your caption for the photograph sums up the situation well – “Road signs will now be written in Gaelic and English, similar to what you find in other parts of the country”.

Gaelic language plans can also provide support for people who want to learn about their heritage, learn and use one of Scotland’s languages, and support for families who want to choose a bilingual education for their children.  There is no evidence at all for Councillor Alexander’s statement that people will be forced to learn it; but there is increasing evidence which demonstrates the benefits of bilingualism, both in terms of attainment in education and for health benefits.

We fully recognise the challenges facing public authorities from public spending cutbacks, however, the sum estimated by the Council of up to an average of £8,000 each year for a 5-year period seems a small cost for residents of Moray to be able to play their part in the plans to create a sustainable future for Gaelic in Scotland.  It is, in fact, 0.02% of the Council’s overall budget.

In light of all this, it is extremely disappointing to see the way in which some councillors chose to articulate their concerns, and that you chose to use an offensive quote as your front page headline in reporting the debate.  It is also surprising that you describe Gaelic as ‘a former national tongue’ when many of your readers, growing numbers of schoolchildren, and others across the country use the language every day and when it can be seen in place names and signs across Scotland.

I trust that this will redress some of the inaccuracies presented in the article and that we can all work together in supporting the Gaelic language and culture.

Leis gach deagh dhùrachd

Shona MacLennan
Ceannard (CEO)
Bòrd na Gàidhlig

Public Consultation on the Third National Gaelic Language Plan 2017-22

A public consultation process was launched today for the third National Gaelic Language Plan, setting out a strategy designed to grow the numbers learning and using Gaelic in Scotland.

Launching the Plan in the Old Fruitmarket in Glasgow, ahead of the evening’s popular FilmG awards, Bòrd na Gàidhlig Cathraiche (Chair), Allan MacDonald, said: “This draft Plan sets out a balanced approach to further develop and promote the Gaelic language, highlighting the central roles of Gaelic education, learning, communities, arts, media and heritage, in Scotland for the next 5 years.”

He went on: “While it is Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s duty to prepare a National Gaelic Language Plan, and to take a lead in delivering many aspects of it, the Plan belongs to the whole of Scotland with everyone playing a part in its delivery.  It is only through a sense of shared ownership that it will have the best chance of success.  It is therefore paramount that as many people, organisations and groups take part in the public consultation process so that the final version of the Plan is one for the whole of Scotland inspired by Scotland.”

Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education, John Swinney, said: “We have seen excellent progress with Gaelic language support and development in a number of areas ‎across Scotland over recent years.  This is particularly true in the areas of education, media and the arts and this is down to the continuing hard work and strong effort of individuals and organisations involved.

“We will no doubt continue to build on this great work through the commitments in this consultation draft of the National Gaelic Language Plan.  It will allow Bòrd na Gàidhlig to set out the steps that can help the Gaelic language to grow and flourish over the next 5 years and I would urge people to contribute their views on the Plan.”

The launch comes on the same week as Bòrd na Gàidhlig awards funding towards a new Gaelic drama project.  Theatre Gu Leòr has been successful in the Bord’s recent tendering process in establishing a project to produce a professional Gaelic drama that will tour communities across Scotland, whilst at the same time offering on-the-job career development opportunities for those interested in working in the sector.

Welcoming the news, Catriona Lexy Campbell of Theatre Gu Leòr said: “We are delighted that Theatre Gu Leòr was successful in our application for this extremely important project.  The Gaelic arts, including drama, play a key role in promoting and developing the language, and we are delighted to be able to support this at both community and national levels.  We also would welcome the public consultation of the third National Gaelic Language Plan as it gives us all the opportunity to send Bòrd na Gàidhlig our thoughts and suggestions on strengthening the plan on matters like Gaelic drama and the arts.”

The draft National Gaelic Language Plan 2017-2022 is available for public consultation in booklet form, or digitally on the Bòrd na Gàidhlig website at www.gaidhlig.scot.

The consultation period will close at 5pm on 17 May 2017.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig Publishes Guidance on Gaelic Education

Bòrd na Gàidhlig has today published Statutory Guidance on Gaelic Education. The Guidance offers clarification to the Gaelic provisions in the 2016 Education (Scotland) Act and, for the first time, sets out clearly what parents can expect for their children in Gaelic education.

The Guidance coincides with the launch of new powers which strengthen the rights of parents who request Gaelic medium education for their children.

Welcoming the Statutory Guidance, Deputy First Minister, Mr John Swinney said: “I welcome the publication of this Guidance on Gaelic Education by Bòrd na Gàidhlig.  This Guidance is a first for Gaelic education, setting out what authorities are expected to deliver and what parents can expect to receive for their children.  This Guidance will be valuable for the future growth of Gaelic education and I would now like to see all key interests using this Guidance and thereby making good progress with promoting and supporting Gaelic education in Scotland.”

Bòrd na Gàidhlig Cathraiche (Chair), Allan MacDonald said: “The creation of the Statutory Guidance on Gaelic education is a critical milestone for Gaelic education. It makes clear what parents and carers can expect as well as setting out formally the responsibilities of Local Authorities.   It also establishes clear expectations on a range of elements of Gaelic education from early years through to secondary education.  Demand for Gaelic education is ever growing across Scotland, and in order to further strengthen this sector this Guidance will be crucial. We were delighted with the responses obtained through the public consultation process, and would like to thank those that took time to respond to the questions on this extremely important piece of legislation.”

Dr Bill Maxwell, Chief Inspector of Education at Education Scotland said: “Education Scotland has been pleased to work with our partners on the successes of Gaelic within Scottish education. This new statutory Guidance draws on key messages from inspection and our publication, ‘Advice on Gaelic Education’.   Taken together, this presents a new stage of development in achieving high-quality learning experiences for children and young people in Gaelic Education.  To achieve this, leaders at all levels in education need to have a strong focus and high expectations in identifying priorities to make a difference to Gaelic.”

Comann nam Pàrant said: “Parental engagement and parental commitment have always been strong features of Gaelic medium education. This legislation, which is welcomed by Comann nam Pàrant, will strengthen our parental voice and help support families’ endeavours on behalf of their children and the Gaelic language. Comann nam Pàrant looks forward to working with Bòrd na Gàidhlig in supporting local authorities to put in place measures that will fulfil their obligations under the National Guidance, particularly with regard to promotion and support for GME at all stages.”

The Statutory Guidance has been prepared by Bòrd na Gàidhlig as required by the Education (Scotland) Act 2016, and offers further explanation to the Gaelic provisions in the Act and more generally on how Gaelic education should be delivered in Scottish schools.