Bord na Gàidhlig funds unique digital Gaelic education project hailed as ‘Netflix for Reading’

The organisation has backed Giglets Gàidhlig, which provides online learning for students in Gaelic schools throughout Scotland using a cloud-based system, to the tune of £147,000 over three years.


Already more than 90% of Gaelic Medium Education (GME) schools are using or are trained on Giglets Gàidhlig’s system, with 600 teachers and 4,500 pupils registered.


Jim Whannel, Bòrd na Gàidhlig Director of Education, said: “Bòrd na Gàidhlig is delighted that Giglets Gàidhlig is proving such a success story.


“We believe Giglets Gàidhlig is a perfect fit for the ultimate aim of Bòrd na Gàidhlig – to help Gaelic flourish in Scotland through people learning the language in an enterprising, fun yet academically challenging way.


“Its aim is to give children a love for reading and provide teachers with a rich collection of texts and resources. It supports multiple media, such as graphics, pictures, animations at key moments of the story, so every child and teacher can use it in Gaelic.


“We believe Giglets Gàidhlig will continue to help pupils, teachers, schools and the Gaelic community in Scotland as a whole to work towards our goal.”


Headquartered in Kilmarnock, Giglets Gàidhlig is a K-12 company involved in early years, primary and early secondary education. The project is supported by several hundred Gaelic resources aligned with Curriculum for Excellence, with 45 Gaelic voiceovers professionally recorded and published.


It also provides a library of hundreds of texts and thousands of curriculum-aligned resources, and provides educational training and support services. It also partners with Stòrlann Nàiseanta, the organisation which is the main producer of Gaelic educational resources.


It is the brainchild of Dr Karsten Karcher, chairman and founder of Giglets Education. He says Giglets Gàidhlig provides a low cost, scalable, cloud-based learning platform and software-as-a-service (SaaS) that improves learning experiences for teachers and pupils.


Also vital to the edtech system’s success is it is education first and technology second.


He said: “Its content consists of a library of online titles, both fiction and non-fiction. They are delivered in a totally accessible way according to the abilities of the student reading them – be it novel, newspaper or cartoon style.”


Aimed at those aged between three to 14, Giglets Gàidhlig is accessible on tablet, computer, and mobiles. Dr Karcher says texts also have full voiceovers.


He added: “Giglets Gàidhlig is unique in terms of the number of schools engaged – thanks to its aim to reverse a fall in reading standards. It also helps reduce teachers’ workloads by reducing preparation and marking time, and provides data and analytics to teachers, schools, local authorities and governments.


“Ultimately Giglets Gàidhlig helps teachers raise standards and supports them in engaging pupils and involving parents while providing valuable information to reinforce their judgements about a learner’s progress.”


Giglets Gàidhlig is supported by the Gaelic Local Authority Network (GLAN) as well as all 14 Scottish local authorities involved in GME. They are Highland, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Argyll and Bute, Glasgow, Perth and Kinross, Aberdeen City, East Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire, Edinburgh City, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, Stirling, Angus and Inverclyde Councils.


Giglets Gàidhlig is also supported by Gaelic teaching organisations, University of Edinburgh, University of Strathclyde, University of the Highlands and Islands, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig and Newbattle Abbey College in Midlothian.




Media Contact: Elaine Fee on 07540 124245 or Philip Gates on 07525 645350


The Gaelic awards

Bòrd na Gàidhlig and the daily record were proud to host the most prestigious night of the year within the Gaelic community calendar. Celebrating Gaelic culture, education and language highlighting the excellent work undertaken to maintain growth and heritage.

The awards are now in their seventh year and attended by over 200 guests including finalists, event sponsors and members of the Gaelic community. The event itself Celebrates and embraces traditional and modern entertainment. Hosted by Scottish Broadcaster and Producer, Cathy MacDonald the evening which Bòrd na Gàidhlig started supporting in 2013 was held in Glasgow at the Marriot Hotel.

The piper who campaigned against men-only competitions and inspired generations of children was honoured for her life’s work at this year’s Gaelic Awards.

Rona Lightfoot, described as a one-woman ceilidh, was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Daily Record and Bòrd na Gàidhlig Gaelic Awards, which pay tribute to all aspects of Gaelic culture, education and language.

Rona, 83, who was born on South Uist, started playing the pipes when she was nine.

After moving to Glasgow to train as a nurse, she married a sailor and would often go to sea with him, taking her pipes so she could teach herself pibroch.

She was the first woman to take part in the Bratach Gorm, the Scottish Piping Society of London’s premier pibroch competition, and her contribution to Gaelic culture as a singer, storyteller and teacher was recognised at the awards.

Other winners included Lucy Hannah, named Young Gaelic Ambassador of the Year for managing a Gaelic- medium childcare facility on Skye, and Alison Richardson and Claire MacDonald, who picked up the Learner Award for producing two online Gaelic resource banks.

Shona MacLennan, CEO, Bòrd na Gàidhlig, said:

All the winners and nominees are to be congratulated on their work to ensure that Gaelic is used more often, in more situations, by more people.

“It’s truly inspiring to see such passion for our language and culture.”


LEARNER AWARD: Alison Richardson and Claire MacDonald

ARTS & CULTURE AWARD: Whyte (Alasdair Whyte and Ross Whyte)

EVENT AWARD: Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn

COMMUNITY, HERITAGE & TOURISM AWARD: Marisa Macdonald & Sgoil an Rubha


INTERNATIONAL AWARD: Alba Choir at Eurovision

SPORT AWARD: Calum Maclean






For more information go to

Latest Gaelic Language Plan launched

VisitScotland has published its latest Gaelic Language Plan as part of its commitment to ensuring Gaelic has a strong and sustainable future in Scotland.

It comes as a ‘Scottish Gaelic Explained’ video created by the national tourism organisation in the summer reached over 95,000 views, showing an increasing interest in the language.


The revised plan highlights actions to be undertaken by the national tourism organisation to contribute to the growth of Gaelic over the next three years. These include encouraging and supporting more tourism businesses to engage with Gaelic and recording those that do, while raising Gaelic awareness within VisitScotland.


The plan which was first created in 2012, was drawn up by representatives from across the organisation and was circulated for public consultation before it was finalised.


An immediate focus for the 2019-2022 plan is to conduct an audit of Gaelic-speaking VisitScotland staff, which will take place before the end of the year.

The plan follows the launch of the first Gaelic Tourism Strategy in 2018 which aims to increase promotion and access to Gaelic as part of the Scottish visitor experience. VisitScotland lead on the implementation of the strategy and is co-ordinating progress across all actions and partners involved.


Gaelic is part of daily life in Scotland and has been for generations. As a unique aspect of Scottish culture and heritage, Gaelic can provide an extra layer to the authentic Scottish experience and to Scotland’s many visitors. The VisitScotland Visitor Survey in 2016 found that, with no prior promotion, 34% of respondents felt that Gaelic, as a national language of Scotland, enhanced their visit and they would like to find out more about it.


Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “This latest VisitScotland Gaelic Language Plan reinforces our commitments to promote the language’s use throughout the organisation, focusing on key areas of our operation such as supporting the tourism industry to embrace Gaelic, our identity, signage, communication with the public and the use of Gaelic on our websites.


“The language has the potential to be a key ingredient in the Scottish tourism offer, providing visitors with a memorable and unique experience. VisitScotland plays a significant role in seeing that those travelling to our shores have their visits enriched even further by Gaelic.

“With over 600 staff, offices and information centres across the country, and all our visitor communications, our role in ensuring the long-term sustainability of the Gaelic language is a significant one.”


Welcoming the plan, Bòrd na Gàidhlig Ceannard (CEO) Shona NicIllinnein said: “Bòrd na Gàidhlig welcomes the third iteration of VisitScotland’s Gaelic Plan and we recognise and value the significant work that VisitScotland undertakes to promote Gaelic in Scotland and internationally.


“Tourism is very important to the Scottish economy and we recognise the huge potential which exists to grow the use of Gaelic across the industry, for the benefit of communities and visitors alike.”


You can access VisitScotland’s Gaelic Language Plan at:

Scotland’s first Gaelic graduate apprentice

In a groundbreaking move, Bòrd na Gàidhlig is employing student Orla in a full-time salaried position. This new role will see her spend the next four years mixing work-based learning in a fully Gaelic environment with her studies towards a BA (Hons) in Business Management.


Role of Bòrd na Gàidhlig apprentice


This is part of a new link-up between Bòrd na Gàidhlig and Aberdeen Business School at Robert Gordon University, where Orla has begun a new ‘blended learning’ course.


It means over the course of her four-year degree, Orla will become fully immersed in the business environment of Bòrd na Gàidhlig, and familiarise herself with the workings of the organisation through a series of projects each semester.


Despite being a student at RGU, Orla has moved to Inverness and will keep tutors at Aberdeen Business School up to date with her progress through distance learning. She will follow a learning plan – which consists of four modules a year – and which will be matched to learning outcomes.


Orla MacDonald


Before joining Bòrd na Gàidhlig, Orla graduated in July from the University of Edinburgh, where she achieved an MA (Hons) in Celtic.


She said: “I’ve really enjoyed the start of my new working life at Bòrd na Gàidhlig. I am currently familiarising myself with the business environment, how the organisation operates, such as its purposes, structures, functions and core values.


“As the course continues so my work will become even more in-depth and specialist. It’s a fantastic opportunity to learn just how much work Bòrd na Gàidhlig does with the Gaelic and the wider Scottish communities.”


Bòrd na Gàidhlig mentorship support


Orla is receiving mentorship support from Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s senior team, including office manager Carol Johnson, who says through the four years of her study, Orla’s projects will become increasingly in-depth and useful to the organisation as her skills and knowledge increase.


Shona MacLennan, Bòrd na Gàidhlig chief executive officer, said: “Bòrd na Gàidhlig is so excited to have Orla here with us, we already enjoy her being part of our team. Through her four years of study Orla will each semester follow a learning plan which will match up with the different parts of the course which she will follow to achieve her degree.


“It means Orla will quickly integrate and familiarise herself with Bòrd na Gàidhlig, as well as engage with and provide support to key stakeholders. We ultimately hope that she will stay with us and progress even further within the organisation.”