Education Grants funding programme for Gaelic Teaching Students open

Gaelic teachers who have received assistance from the Education Grants funding stream have been singing its praises, as the scheme opens up for new entrants again this year.

The initiative is funded and administered by Bòrd na Gàidhlig, the national Gaelic development agency, in recognition of the need to provide additional assistance to meet the growing demand among parents and pupils for Gaelic medium education across the country.

Applications are now welcomed from those undertaking a post-graduate degree in education, primary or secondary, and those studying undergraduate Gaelic education degrees.

Grant assistance of £500 / £1,000 is available, plus assistance for course fees if required, up to another £1,820.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig may also consider applications from qualified teachers who wish to transfer over to GME and those who wish to undertake a course to switch careers to Gaelic education. The level of assistance will depend on the personal circumstances.

Last year assistance was provided to 33 individuals and it is hoped the take-up will be equally high, if not higher, this year.

Shona MacLennan, Chief Executive of Bòrd na Gàidhlig, said: “Gaelic education is a success story and that success drives the need for more teachers. The Bòrd has run this scheme for a number of years to support those who want to be teachers. Joanne McHale, our development officer (Teachers) works with students, colleges and the universities to attract more to teaching and she’s very happy to talk to anyone interested in teaching.”

Those who have received assistance have hailed the benefits of the scheme. Among those who received assistance last year was Alison Ni Dhorchaidhe from Dublin. She now teaches in the Gaelic Secondary School in Glasgow.

“I always wanted to do teaching but I was enjoying the work I was doing with Comunn na Gàidhlig (youth officer) so much,” she said. “But the desire eventually came back and it was just something I wanted to do. English and Irish were my subjects at university and I did some Scottish Gaelic, but not enough to teach.

“The Glasgow Gaelic School were looking for an English teacher, so I enrolled in a course and applied to Bòrd na Gàidhlig for funding and they were very helpful. I got the money and to tell you the truth I don’t think I would have got through the year without it. I know others who had to make do with a student loan and it was a struggle for them. So, the help I got from Bòrd na Gàidhlig was enormously helpful as it meant I didn’t have to overly worry about financial matters.”

Lauren Stewart (24) found herself in a similar situation. She had been working full-time in the Fort William pre-school unit, before the BnG grant scheme offered the opportunity to enter teaching training. She is now preparing to start life as a primary teacher in Glasgow after the holidays.

“I really wanted to do a PDGE course and I approached the head of the school for some advice,” she said. “He told me I should really speak to Bòrd na Gàidhlig; that they might have some assistance I’d be able to get. I spoke to Joanne McHale from Bòrd na Gàidhlig who has an office in the same building. She told me that as I had been in employment for some time that I’d be entitled to a lot of assistance and that was incredibly helpful.”

As Lauren had been working full-time she got a total of £5,000 in assistance.

“I had been working for seven years so just to stop work and go on a course was going to be really difficult,” she said.

“You’re so busy with the course it’s difficult financially. I didn’t work for the full year and without that assistance from Bòrd na Gàidhlig I don’t know how I would have managed.”

For more information contact Joanne McHale

More information on the scheme can be found at

Gaelic set for big boost as public bodies reveal range of new, key commitments

Bòrd na Gàidhlig has today (Thursday 9 August 2018) revealed a series of key commitments from a range of public bodies in Scotland which will significantly accelerate progress in the development and use of Gaelic across the country.

This follows a milestone meeting chaired by Deputy First Minister, John Swinney MSP, in Perth this morning, at which many of Scotland’s key public bodies were represented.

In signing off on this series of pledges, Scotland’s national agency for the promotion of Gaelic language and culture believes that it can engineer a faster rate of progress.

Each will underpin the objectives of the National Gaelic Language Plan 2018-2023 which was launched in April, this year. The new plan aims to ensure Gaelic is used more often, by more people, and in a wider range of situations.

Key commitments revealed today include:

  • VisitScotland will publish the first ever Gaelic tourism strategy for Scotland in the autumn, bringing together the tourism industry and Gaelic more effectively to ensure that each benefits the other
  • Scottish Qualifications Authority, Education Scotland, Stòrlann, representatives of the Gaelic Local Authorities Network and the Scottish Government will support schools in strengthening the secondary GME curriculum by developing a planned approach to increasing the National Qualifications offered through the medium of Gaelic in the senior phase
  • Skills Development Scotland and Bòrd na Gàidhlig will convene a Working Group to consider and take into account the recommendations of the “Gaelic Language Labour Market – The Evidence Report” that was published in June 2018
  • Comhairle nan Eilean Siar have offered to provide Gaelic learning through e-Sgoil to all local authorities across Scotland
  • Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Bòrd na Gàidhlig and the Scottish Government will work together to deliver a community offer in the Western Isles
  • MG ALBA and Bòrd na Gàidhlig will work together on LearnGaelic, the partnership resource for Gaelic learning – this will involve the revision of the website, the creation of new content, and new support for Gaelic adult learners
  • Highlands and Islands Enterprise will undertake new research on ‘The Role of Gaelic Language and Culture in Economic and Community Development’ which will further build the evidence base to support new approaches and future planning. HIE will also offer to support Scottish Enterprise in developing their first Gaelic Language Plan
  • MG ALBA will launch Gaelic YouTube material – This will involve what they describe as ‘curated content’ in the form of small sections from programmes – music, comedy, and short film. In addition, ‘digital participation’ initiatives will encourage people to create their own content in Gaelic

Deputy First Minister John Swinney MSP comments:

“The Scottish Government has set out a clear mandate for the support of Gaelic. Today’s meeting shows that there is a variety of activities being undertaken by a wide range of public bodies across Scotland in support of the language and it is important that we capitalise upon this to move the agenda forward.

“I am pleased that agreement has been made on these key commitments and I hope that we can all work together to develop further commitments in the coming months.”

Bòrd na Gàidhlig chairman Allan MacDonald comments:

“These commitments are to be warmly welcomed. They reflect a deepening commitment from a range of public bodies to Gaelic language and culture in Scotland. Gaelic no longer sits at the periphery of our nation’s consciousness because the cultural, educational and economic benefits are clear.

“These pledges will significantly aid our plans outlined in the National Gaelic Language Plan 2018-2023. We look forward to working with our partners across the country in delivering these innovations for the good of the country.”

Gaelic focus for Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn (Galson Estate Trust)

Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn (Galson Estate Trust) is set to recruit a Gaelic Development Officer as it undertakes a three-year project which will see the Gaelic language and culture being actively supported and promoted throughout the community. The Trust manages 56,000 acres on behalf of the community in the North West of Lewis.

The £102,513 initiative is backed by Bòrd na Gàidhlig and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). The project will see Galson Estate Trust focus on providing a range of Gaelic language and cultural activities which will aim to build on the “sense of belonging” and the interest in Gaelic heritage and culture that exists in the community. It will include increasing access to the language, supporting the learning of the language and addressing the needs of the people who live and work in, and visit, the Trust area either for business or leisure purposes.

In the longer term the Trust, which came into being in 2007, would also aim to explore how Gaelic could act as an asset to help business growth and create employment and opportunities for volunteering in the area.

Agnes Rennie, Chair of Galson Estate Trust said “This project will enable the Urras to work with partners in the community to build on our rich Gaelic heritage and recognise its place as a key economic driver. Organisations such as Comann Eachdraidh Nis and local businesses will be supported to explore new initiatives to develop their enterprise whilst nurturing and strengthening the language in the community.”

She went on to say “It has been a long held ambition of the Urras to find ways to support and nurture the language of the community and a draft local language was created by the Urras and Comann Eachdraidh Nis in 2015.  We are delighted that this new funding package will let us realise that ambition.”

Daibhidh Boag, Director of Language Planning and Community Developments with Bòrd na Gàidhlig said “Bòrd na Gàidhlig places great emphasis on the importance of having strong links with local communities like those served by the Galson Estate Trust. We are delighted to be supporting this project which will address some of the Board’s key strategic objectives in relation to increasing access to the Gaelic language and the learning and promotion of the language. This project also sees the Gaelic language, culture and heritage as being at the heart of the community and its long-term future”

Rachel Mackenzie, Area Manager for HIE in the Outer Hebrides, said: “We are pleased to be supporting this project to employ a Gaelic Development Officer at Galson Estate Trust. Our investment supports the Trust’s vision to promote the Gaelic language as an economic asset within the community. The area is home to one of the highest concentrations of Gaelic speakers and there is potential to grow the contribution the language makes to the economy of the region. We look forward to working with the Trust as it capitalises on the significant opportunities arising from the potential of the Gaelic language.”

Scottish Gaelic Awards 2017

Lifetime Achievement award for Dr Finlay Macleod at Scottish Gaelic Awards

The 5th Scottish Gaelic Awards were held at the Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow this week (Wednesday 15 November) with over 200 guests in attendance.

The main award of Lifetime Achievement was bestowed on Dr Finlay MacLeod from Lewis who is well known as an author, broadcaster, teacher and historian as well as having many other talents.

The award was presented to Dr MacLeod on behalf of Bòrd na Gàidhlig by Donald MacLeod, Board member of Bòrd na Gàidhlig who said “Dr Finlay has been involved from early on in key developments in Gaelic education, broadcasting, the arts, writing, publishing and much more. Dr Finlay has spent a lifetime studying many of the aspects of life in the Western Isles and he has worked tirelessly on a range of initiatives which have contributed to life in Lewis and further afield. He is an expert on a wide range of topics including chapels, healing wells, place-names, the Lewis Chessmen, island photography, archaeology, the land struggles and the place of religion and education in communities. Over the years Dr Finlay has provided many people with detailed information, advice and, most importantly, encouragement to pursue different projects. Dr Finlay and his wife Norma have welcomed many students, journalists and writers to their home where they provide support, guidance and friendship. Many individuals and groups have recognised the immense contribution Dr Finlay has made to Gaelic. Tonight we recognise the contribution he has made and we are delighted to present him with this Lifetime Achievement Award

Among the other award-winners were Arthur Cormack who was awarded the Best Contribution award which recognises his efforts in standing up to ill-informed and often incorrect media criticism of Gaelic while Pàdruig Morrison from Grimsay North Uist and who is a student in Edinburgh won the Young Gaelic Ambassador award.

The Scottish Gaelic Awards were first staged in 2013 by the Daily Record newspaper with support from Bòrd na Gàidhlig and support also comes from HIE, Creative Scotland, MG ALBA and the private sector company Thorntons Investments. The full list of winners can be seen below.

Learner Award 

Organising Committee – Buidheann Disathairne

Arts & Culture Award

Sponsored by Creative Scotland

Alex MacDonald

Event Award 

Comunn Eachdraidh Nis

Community, Heritage & Tourism Award

Sponsored by Highlands and Islands Enterprise

Fife Gaelic Development Group

Best Contribution Award

Sponsored by Bòrd na Gàidhlig

Arthur Cormack

International Award

Sponsored by MG ALBA

Robert Currie

Innovation in Education Award 


Young Gaelic Ambassador of the Year Award 

Pàdruig Morrison

Gaelic as an Economic Asset Award 

Sponsored by Thorntons Investments

Fèisean nan Gàidheal

Lifetime Achievement Award

Dr Finlay MacLeod



For further information about this Press Release please contact Murdo Morrison, Communications and Events Manager at Bòrd na Gàidhlig on or 01463 225454 / 07525 893367

Bòrd na Gàidhlig Annual Report published

The 2016-2017 Annual Report of Bòrd na Gàidhlig, the principal public body in Scotland responsible for promoting Gaelic development, has been published today (Monday 30 October) at a meeting of the Convention of the Highlands and Islands in Oban.

The report highlights the key developments undertaken by the Bòrd over the past year which have included the development of the third National Gaelic Language Plan; the Gaelic provisions of the Education (Scotland) Act 2016 being implemented; collaboration with a growing number of public bodies on the production and implementation of Gaelic Language Plans; support for the promotion of Gaelic language, music and culture nationally and internationally; support for early years and Gaelic medium education; the provision of funding for professional development for teachers and for students undertaking teacher training.

Key outcomes highlighted in the Annual Report include:

  • 52 public bodies with Gaelic Language Plans including Police Scotland, Aberdeen City Council and The Scottish Ambulance Service among those to have had their Gaelic Plans approved this year
  • Over £4.3m financial support provided to 300 organisations through various funding streams
  • 75 0-5 years Gaelic groups running each week in Scotland
  • Increased numbers of children in Gaelic medium primary education
  • Growth in the number of pupils taking at least one subject in Gaelic in secondary school
  • 15,000 children engaging with Gaelic at various levels in schools throughout Scotland
  • Gaelic provisions within the Education (Scotland) Act 2016
  • Publication of new Statutory Guidance on Gaelic Education
  • The successful introduction of e-Sgoil in the Western Isles which aims to provide greater online access to curriculum subjects in Gaelic to students throughout Scotland
  • Partnership working with MG ALBA on the development of more resources for learners through and its continued success with over 10,000 likes on Facebook

Commenting on the Annual Report Allan MacDonald, Chairman of Bòrd na Gàidhlig said “Bòrd na Gàidhlig, working together with the Scottish Government and key partners and communities throughout Scotland, continues to present a strong and positive case for the increased use of the Gaelic language and culture, its development and its promotion. We increasingly recognise the importance of Gaelic to the Scottish economy, to the levels of attainment in education and to increasing community confidence and empowerment. While there are undoubtedly some major challenges to be faced, there are also opportunities and as a Board we are confident that, by working together, these challenges can be met and the opportunities taken. The Board wishes to place on record its thanks to the many people and organisations in communities all over the country who work towards a sustainable future for Gaelic. We will continue to support them, in conjunction with key partners, so that the Gaelic language and culture continues to make progress.”

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “I welcome Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s Annual Report, which highlights a number of key initiatives it has supported over the past year. In particular it is encouraging to see increasing numbers of children in Gaelic education and solutions being provided to address gaps and support existing provision, such as the e-Sgoil. I look forward to seeing this success built upon as Bòrd na Gàidhlig develops the next National Gaelic Language Plan.”

Allan MacDonald continued “Launching Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s annual report in Oban at the Convention of the Highlands and Islands is particularly appropriate for a number of reasons – Argyll has been the cradle of Gaelic language and culture; economically because of the opportunities that Gaelic offers for economic growth; and educationally as parents in Oban have been calling for a Gaelic school and Argyll and Bute Council has supported them through funding for a feasibility study from their innovative participatory budgeting funding.”

Annual Report 2016-17

Photograph credit: Kevin McGlynn Photography

For further information please contact Murdo Morrison, Communications and Events Manager, Bòrd na Gàidhlig: or 01463 225454 / 07525 893367

Bòrd na Gàidhlig team strengthened with two new appointments

Bòrd na Gàidhlig, the lead organisation responsible for the promotion of Gaelic in Scotland, has announced the appointment of two new members of staff in their Inverness and Fort William offices.

Tasha Madigan is from Uig on the Isle of Skye and after learning Gaelic at Portree High School, and graduating in Gaelic and History at the University of Aberdeen, Tasha recently completed a Gaelic and Communications course at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig. Tasha will be based in Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s Fort William office working as an Early Years Officer.

Christie MacLean is from Beauly and attended Charleston Academy in Inverness and then graduated with a degree in Gaelic and Development at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig and previously worked at Highlands and Islands Enterprise as a Graduate Gaelic Development Officer. Christie has taken up the post of Gaelic Plans Implementation Officer and will be based at Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s office in Great Glen House in Inverness.

Welcoming Tasha and Christie to Bòrd na Gàidhlig, Chief Executive Shona MacLennan said: “We are delighted to have Tasha and Christie join the team and I am sure that their talents will be put to good use in our work on the promotion and development of the Gaelic language, along with our partners.”

National Museums Of Scotland – Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites

Bòrd na Gàidhlig, the lead organisation responsible for the promotion of Gaelic in Scotland has outlined its response to concerns raised within the Gaelic community with regard to the Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites exhibition which opens at the National Museum of Scotland this weekend.

Shona MacLennan, Bòrd na Gàidhlig Chief Executive, said: “Bòrd na Gàidhlig works with National Museums Scotland and many other public authorities to ensure that Gaelic language and culture is actively promoted in their respective organisations and throughout Scotland. The development of Gaelic Language Plans is one of the key measures outlined in the Gaelic Language Act as a means to achieve equal respect for Gaelic in Scotland.
“In their current Gaelic Language Plan, National Museums Scotland make a commitment to include side-by-side English and Gaelic interpretation for exhibitions that have a Gaelic-related theme or connection and the forthcoming Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland seems like an ideal opportunity for National Museums Scotland to build on their good practice established in such exhibitions as Fonn ’s Dùthchas and Lewis Chessmen Unmasked.

“We are aware that concerns have been expressed by members of the Gaelic community at what is seen as a lack of Gaelic content in the exhibition. Recognising and acknowledging the views of the Gaelic community is another important principle contained within the Gaelic Language Act and Bòrd na Gàidhlig sees this discussion as an important part of that.

“There are also fantastic opportunities for National Museums Scotland to engage with Gaelic medium schools and the wider community through the Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites exhibition and we are happy to offer support and advice to help them maximise the Gaelic experience for all who take part.”