Gaelic education & learning are key priorities within the National Gaelic Language Plan 2018-23 and are essential to the future and wellbeing of the language. We work in partnership with various organisations & individuals to improve and develop Gaelic education and learning at all levels – for both young people and adults, and for fluent speakers and learners.
Gaelic Medium Education
Gaelic Medium Education (GME) is an option within the Scottish Education system and is based upon the principles of immersion. Young people are taught through the medium of Gaelic to enable them to gain fluency in the language. The early years of GME consists of total immersion moving onto immersion from P3/4 onwards. The principles of immersion should then continue throughout Primary & Secondary education. GME is inclusive and available both to families who use Gaelic within the home and families who have no prior knowledge of the language.
Early Years Provision
Gaelic Early Years education consists of several different provisions and is a first step for many when considering GME. From voluntary run Parent & Toddler Groups to Local Authority provided Early Learning & Childcare, there is an opportunity for children & families to experience Gaelic in fun, informal settings.
More information on the different types of provision is available here.
Gaelic Medium Primary Education (GMPE) is available in over 60 schools in 15 Local Authorities across Scotland.
Although encouraged, there is no requirement for young people to have experienced Gaelic Early Years provision prior to enrolling in GMPE and many families begin their Gaelic learning at Primary 1. GMPE offers the opportunity for young people to become fluent in Gaelic while experiencing the many associated benefits of the Curriculum for Excellence.
Gaelic Learner Education (GLE) is also available in over 50 schools as part of the Scottish Government initiative ‘Language Learning in Scotland: A 1+2 Approach’. Although this provision will not enable fluency, it can often be an important first step in the learning of Gaelic, where GMPE is not available.
More information on GMPE, GLE & support for parents is available here.
More detailed data on Gaelic Primary provision is available in our Education Data.
Gaelic Medium Secondary Education is available in over 30 schools across 12 Local Authorities in Scotland.
The Gaelic Medium curriculum in secondary remains one based on the principles of immersion both in Broad General Education (BGE) and into the Senior Phase. For Gaelic Medium Secondary Education there are two main aspects: Gaelic as a subject & subjects through the medium of Gaelic. Currently, the provision available is varied across Scotland however, the expansion of the availability of subjects through the medium of Gaelic is a priority for Bòrd na Gàidhlig and work with partners is ongoing to ensure provision is developed across the country.
Gaelic Learner Education is also available in over 30 secondary schools across Scotland. GLE is offered as part of the Modern Languages curriculum in the same was as French or Spanish. GLE is available at both Broad General Education level, as part of the 1+2 Languages Initiative and into the Senior Phase with qualifications available at every level.
More information regarding GME & GLE in Secondary Education, including information specifically for parents, is available here.
As with Primary education, more detailed data on Gaelic Secondary provision is available in our Education Data.
Further & Higher Education
When it comes to opportunities for adults to learn Gaelic in post-school education, there is a range of choices available.There are numerous higher education institutes and organisations which offer adults the chance to learn Gaelic through various means, from full-time and part-time courses to distance learning. You will also find that there are often courses, conversation classes and other ways to learn Gaelic or enhance your language skills in your own community.
Jobs in Gaelic Education
The Gaelic Education workforce is integral to the development & revitalisation of Gaelic and it is a priority for Bòrd na Gàidhlig and partners to ensure the needs of the sector are met. You can find more information about jobs, training & support available throughout the education section of the website.
Statutory Guidance on Gaelic Education
A range of online resources to help with Gaelic learning during the coronavirus lockdown is available here.
Stòrlann Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig is the principal organisation tasked with providing and creating learning resources and materials for Gaelic Education in schools. Bòrd na Gàidhlig also supports other organisations such as the Gaelic Books Council and publishers such as Acair Ltd to produce a wide range of written materials and other resources in Gaelic or for Gaelic, and many of these are used in Gaelic education and learning. There are also numerous websites which can help with education and learning including: Learn Gaelic, Gaelic4Parents, Gàidhlig nan Òg & Go!Gaelic.
Support for Parents
Comann nam Pàrant is the National Organisation which offers advice and support for families with children & young people in GME.
- Advice on Gaelic Education
- Gaelic Education Data
- So You Want to Teach in Gaelic – GTCS Guide
- Comann nam Pàrant – GME Parental Organisation
- Language Learning in Scotland a 1+2 approach
- Gaelic Education: Building on the successes, addressing the barriers
- Satutory Guidance on Gaelic Education
- ‘Gaelic-medium Education in Scotland: choice and attainment at the primary and early secondary school stages’ (Aithisg air soirbheachadh ann am Foghlam tron Ghàidhlig) 2010
- Modern Languages Excellence Report
- Case studies from funded groups
- United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child