Statement on Spòrs Gàidhlig

A spokesperson for Bòrd na Gàidhlig said: “The Spòrs Gàidhlig project, run by Comunn na Gàidhlig, has been supported by Bòrd na Gàidhlig since its inception 18 months ago because we recognise how sport contributes to using Gaelic and the value that brings.  Our initial funding was to establish the project and subsequent funding was for equipment.  We have also funded groups of young people to take part in Spòrs Gàidhlig activities.  To date Bòrd na Gàidhlig has committed more than £60k to this project.

“Bòrd na Gàidhlig and Comunn na Gàidhlig have been in discussions about further funding for the project.  The board is supportive of providing additional funding and required more financial information and projections to progress this further.   Bòrd na Gàidhlig remains willing to continue discussions in collaboration with Comunn na Gàidhlig and other funding partners about the future of the Spòrs Gàidhlig project.”

New Director of Gaelic Education at Bòrd na Gàidhlig

Bòrd na Gàidhlig is delighted to announce the appointment of Jim Whannel as Director of Gaelic Education who takes up his appointment on 04 September 2019 on a part-time basis. Jim will lead the education team at Bòrd na Gàidhlig and work with them to lead the education policies of the Bòrd. Bòrd na Gàidhlig provides advice to the Scottish Government on Gaelic Education, works with education authorities and other bodies involved in the delivery of education in order to achieve the Bòrd’s objectives, and Jim will oversee the work of the Bòrd in the implementation of Statutory Guidance in the various agencies.

Jim has been involved in Gaelic education for many years, most recently as an Education Tutor at University of Edinburgh on the MA Gaelic Primary Education course. Prior to that, he was an Advisor with Glasgow City Council, with Gaelic Medium Education as part of his role. He was involved in many projects such as Glasgow Gaelic School and the expansion of the primary school and the opening of the secondary school; the development of plans through the Scottish Futures Trust for a second primary school, Glendale Primary School; and developing the first programme in the Authority and working with other officers on GLPS training courses. He was also a board member of Bòrd na Gàidhlig for three years, where he chaired the Learning Committee.

Mary MacInnes, Interim Chair of Bòrd na Gàidhlig, said, ‘We are sorry to lose Jim on the board but we are extremely fortunate that someone with such extensive experience is going to strengthen the education team at the Bòrd. In particular, this will support local authorities and other bodies in realising the benefits of GME in their areas and in meeting the objectives set out in the National Gaelic Language Plan.”

Gaelic Medium Event in Perth

Growth and development of Gaelic Education to be discussed at Special Gaelic Medium Education (GME) Event in Perth

Around 45 educators from across Scotland are set to take part in a special day-long event on Friday, 1st March 2019 to develop a new action plan for Gaelic education in Scotland.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig, in conjunction with Education Scotland, Scottish Government, and Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), has invited education representatives and teaching staff from local authorities to the Battleby Conference Centre in Perth.

Also present will be further education and higher education providers, and representatives from the six Gaelic schools in Scotland, based in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness, Lochaber and Portree. The day will provide an opportunity to take part in in-depth discussions on shaping the future curriculum for GME in S4-S6 and also address the growth in Gaelic learning.

The day – which will be opened by Jim Whannel, chair of Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s Learning Committee – will take the format of workshops and discussion panels, among which will be the chance to learn first-hand from schools developing their senior phase curriculum.

Ultimately the aim of the event will be to develop an action plan laying out the next steps for developing the curriculum. It will also focus on career pathways for staff involved in Gaelic medium education.

Jim Whannel said: “I am delighted to open this special event focusing on the way forward for GME Secondary Education. I am particularly pleased that an encouraging aspect of the event is the gathering together of key practitioners to shape an effective strategy, which will deliver the next phase of development. Engaging teachers and local authority leadership teams in developing the new strategy will be a key factor in ensuring success.

Minister for Gaelic, John Swinney has led the setting up of the Faster Rate of Progress Initiative, which draws together national organisations around a set of themes supporting the Gaelic language and we look forward with excitement to this latest initiative focusing on the GME secondary sector. Gaelic medium education is of growing interest to parents and young people across Scotland and we look forward to widening the appeal of GME secondary, ensuring it is an integral part of the successes we are seeing across Scottish Education.”

Gillian Campbell-Thow, Chair of Gaelic Local Authorities’ Network (GLAN) said: “It is particularly appropriate that this event, which aims to increase subject choice, is taking place at the same time as the Education and Skills Committee of the Scottish Parliament is taking evidence on subject choices in the curriculum. Today’s discussions will be very useful for local authorities, particularly with the inclusion of Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) agenda as part of the day.”

Jane Renton, Assistant Director, Education Scotland said: “We are pleased to be involved in Friday’s conference. We look forward to discussions on how the senior phase of Gaelic Medium Education can be enhanced to ensure young people benefit from stimulating learning experiences across all aspects of the curriculum and attain as highly as possible.”

Robert Quinn, Head of Qualifications – English, Modern Languages and Business at the Scottish Qualifications Authority, said: “It is of vital importance that students who have experienced Gaelic-medium education throughout their broad general education in primary, and in the first three years of secondary school, are able to have full access to Gaelic-medium education in the Senior Phase – S4 through to S6. Without this continuum, the consolidation of their language skills will not be complete. SQA fully supports the development of a coherent national strategy to ensure that this happens.”

Bòrd na Gàidhlig appoints Interim Chairperson

Mairi T MacInnes has been appointed as Interim Chairperson of Bòrd na Gàidhlig following a recent Board meeting held in Inverness. Mrs MacInnes who is from South Uist takes over the Chair from Allan MacDonald who is moving to become Chair of MG ALBA (The Gaelic Media Service).

Mrs MacInnes joined Bòrd na Gàidhlig in March 2016 and will take up the Interim post with effect from 1st January 2019.

Mairi T MacInnes is currently Chair of Ceòlas and she has extensive experience and knowledge of community development, education, Gaelic and Adult Learning. She was latterly Head Teacher of Iochdar School and has also served as a member of the board in various Scottish organisations including The Scottish Arts Council and Comataidh Craolaidh Gàidhlig.

Allan MacDonald said: “I welcome the appointment of Mairi MacInnes as Interim Chair of Bòrd na Gàidhlig and I wish her and the team every success in the months and years that lie ahead. I thoroughly enjoyed my time as Chairman of Bòrd na Gàidhlig and Màiri now has the opportunity to lead the organisation until a new permanent Chair is appointed next year.”

Mairi MacInnes said: “I am delighted to take on the role of Interim Chair of Bòrd na Gàidhlig
and I would like to thank Allan MacDonald for the work that he has done in taking Gaelic forward at local community level and at national level throughout Scotland during his tenure as Chairman. I am very much looking forward to working with Board members, the Chief Executive and her team and communities throughout Scotland and also the Scottish Government and others for the benefit of the Gaelic language.”

Allan MacDonald had previously served as Deputy Chairman and also Interim Chair of Bòrd na Gàidhlig and was appointed Chairman in 2015.

The Scottish Government has begun the process of recruiting a new Chairperson.


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

Information for Editors:

The remit of Bòrd na Gàidhlig is to support, promote and develop the Gaelic language in Scotland and internationally. Our vision is that Gaelic is seen and heard on a daily basis across Scotland, such that it is widely recognised as an integral part of Scottish life and a national cultural and economic asset.
We prioritise an increase in the numbers speaking Gaelic and increased opportunities for using the language in addition to raising the profile of the Gaelic language in Scotland and internationally.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig works with public bodies in the preparation and implementation of Gaelic Plans and with community groups and others through providing project funding. The Bòrd also provides advice and guidance to the Scottish Government Ministers and other agencies on the different aspects of Gaelic development.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig partnerships for Year of Young People

As Scotland continues to celebrate the Year of Young People 2018, Bòrd na Gàidhlig has welcomed the opportunity to work throughout the year with a number of national and community organisations to increase the use of Gaelic nationally. These collaborations have resulted in the appointment of young Gaelic speakers to a range of national and community organisations to develop their Gaelic offering as well as raising the profile of Gaelic in national and local communities.

Among the young people is Shona MacMillan who took up the post of Gaelic Development Officer in September with the community-owned Galson Estate Trust based in Ness on the island of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. Shona, who is from Carloway, Lewis, is working with local organisations and businesses, helping them to use Gaelic in everyday life to strengthen and nurture it and identifying opportunities to work in partnership.

Agnes Rennie, Chair of Galson Estate Trust said “Shona’s post, which is jointly funded by Bòrd na Gàidhlig, HIE and Galson Estate Trust is the first step towards our Trust developing a range of initiatives which will reach out across the community to recognise the value of the Gaelic language and culture. There is no doubt that the opportunity to appoint an energetic young Gaelic speaker sends out all the right messages and we are delighted to have her join our team in Galson.

Shona Macmillan said “I am really looking forward to working with the businesses and organisations in the local community helping them to raise and develop the profile of the Gaelic language and culture”

Ruairidh Hamilton from Edinburgh works with Young Scot, the national youth information and citizenship charity which provides young people, aged 11 – 26, with a mixture of information, ideas and incentives to help them become more confident, informed and active citizens.

The Shieling Project in Glen Strathfarrar, near Beauly in the Highlands of Scotland has employed Stephanie Campbell from Kyle. The Shieling offers school trips and residentials, holidays, volunteering and an outdoor nursery for 3 to 5 year olds and Stephanie is involved in delivering outdoor learning in Gaelic as well as contributing to the wider potential for Gaelic learning at The Shieling.

During the summer, Kenny Rankin was in post with the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust (HWDT), a Mull-based marine conservation charity that takes action through a programme of internationally-recognised research and education on its dedicated Discovery Centre, aboard their boat, Silurian, and schools visits around the whole of the Hebrides. Kenny’s work included expanding the Trust’s education programme to make it available to pupils in Gaelic medium education, and delivering floating classroom workshops and headland watches as well as community events.

In partnership with Creative Scotland the Bòrd supported creative traineeships at An Lanntair Arts Centre in Stornoway and Taigh Chearsabhagh in North Uist. These are specifically targeted at supporting arts/creative organisations to help them develop their creative work in Gaelic. Calum Fraser (24) is employed as a Trainee Performing Arts Programmer at An Lanntair Arts Centre in Stornoway where his role includes working with An Lanntair’s new Youth Board and the programming team to support elements of An Lanntair’s creative programme work.

Daibhidh Boag, Director of Community Development and Language Planning, Bòrd na Gàidhlig said, “We were delighted to have made a valuable contribution in recognition of Scotland’s Year of Young People and to have been able to support the different range of projects which are employing young Gaelic-speaking people. We firmly believe that all the young people, their employers and the communities they serve, will benefit in the long- and short-term from the support that the Bòrd has provided and that the Gaelic language will reap the benefit in years to come”