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

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.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig: Appointment of Board members

This is a time of very positive developments for the Gaelic language, alongside some significant challenges. The 2011 census showed that the long-standing decline of numbers of people speaking Gaelic had largely stabilised, with an increase in numbers speaking, reading and writing the language between the ages of 3-19. We have also seen a very […]

Statement from Bòrd na Gàidhlig regarding the Closure of Clì Gàidhlig

Bòrd na Gàidhlig Ceannard (CEO), Shona MacLennan said: “Up until March 2016 the Bòrd funded Clì to deliver different projects to support Gaelic learning, including most recently; a programme of Gaelic learning for adults, provision of information and support for the highly successful on-line learners’ resource and to support the Cothrom Ùr publication.

Prior to end of the funding agreement, Clì was one of the members on a working group to create a new learners’ strategy for adults as it had been recognised this area should be reviewed and strengthened. The strategy looks to grow and develop the numbers of adults learning Gaelic in Scotland over a 7 year period in partnership with MG ALBA, Local Authorities and others. Following the creation of the strategy, Clì made no approach for further funding to deliver on any aspects within the new strategy even after the Bòrd made it clear they were more than welcome to do so.

It is disappointing that Clì Gàidhlig have come to this decision. Clì has a proven track record in good work towards supporting the learner journey in Gaelic and I am sure many Gaelic speakers today owe thanks for helping them to reach fluency.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig is committed to supporting Gaelic leaners and increasing the opportunities to learn the language. This year alone we have invested over £580,000 towards supporting adult learning from delivery, to resources and research. We also work in partnership with a number of different organisations and bodies in this area.

We are currently creating an implementation plan for the new Gaelic for Adults Learning Strategy, ‘Ar Slighe gu Fileantas’, which will run in parallel with the 3rd National Gaelic Language Plan and will be published in the New Year.”

Bòrd na Gàidhlig announces new support for Gaelic Drama

Bòrd na Gàidhlig has today announced £115,000 to support Gaelic drama development at professional, community and school levels. From today, the Bòrd will seek tenders from organisations capable of creating a new piece that will tour venues across Scotland.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig Director of Language Planning and Community Developments, David Boag said: “Bòrd na Gàidhlig recognises the valuable part that the arts play in raising the profile of Gaelic across Scotland, whilst providing Gaelic speakers with a valuable opportunity to use the language. The primary aim of this project is 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. In addition, we expect that local community groups and school pupils will benefit from workshops associated with the touring production.”

He went on to say, “Bòrd na Gàidhlig has supported Gaelic drama at both grassroots and professional levels for a number of years through regular funding to bodies including An Comunn Gàidhealach, Comunn na Dràma, Fèisean nan Gàidheal, the Gaelic Books Council, An Lòchran and Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, as well as the annual Drama Network Fund with our partners, Creative Scotland. All of this hard work and investment has resulted in the continuation of Gaelic drama productions in recent years and the aim of this project is to build upon this success.”

The project is based on discussions held with key strategic groups including Creative Scotland, the National Theatre for Scotland and BBC ALBA, along with a wide range of Gaelic drama practitioners and the decision to proceed on this basis was taken at the Bòrd’s recent Board meeting in Islay.

Full details about the project with information on how to tender can be found at

Gaelic and Technology working Hand-in-hand Across Classrooms

Bòrd na Gàidhlig made an announcement earlier this year to invest £150,000 towards the establishment of e-Sgoil, an initiative that looks to access more curriculum subjects in Gaelic through online classes, across the Western Isles, and further afield.

While still in its infancy, the project has already had a positive effect on children currently in Gaelic education by enabling children to access classes through the medium of Gaelic that might not be available to them within their own school.

e-Sgoil classes are currently being provided to Hazlehead Academy in Aberdeen from a teacher based in Shawbost School on the Isle of Lewis. Following an initial face-to-face meeting with pupils, Mrs Cathy Mary MacMillan now delivers her lessons through a video conferencing package known as Vscene three days a week.

Angus MacLennan, Headteacher of e-Sgoil said: “The response from pupils, parents and staff involved in the Hazlehead pilot has been very positive indeed. This is also the case with regard to Higher Religious, Moral and Philosophical Education being delivered from The Nicolson Institute to Sir E Scott School, Harris, and fiddle lessons being taught on-line from Stornoway to Uig primary school. These examples are helping us to test the technology, establish protocols and identify training needs which will be of benefit when it comes to rolling out provision locally and nationally.

e-Sgoil’s aim is to respond to demand from pupils, schools and local authorities in order to provide equity in terms of curricular choice and ensuring that staff and resources can be utilised as effectively and efficiently as possible with regard to Gaelic and Gaelic-medium education. Staff from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Highland Region and Argyll and Bute are working together to identify curricular requirements, staff availability and continuous professional development opportunities which can be dealt with collaboratively.

“e-learning is not about replacing good classroom teaching. It is more a case of providing a service when teachers aren’t available and adding value to what is already being delivered.
It is also about helping schools to embrace the use of technology at which our young people are already so adept and harnessing it for educational purposes. Ensuring that Gaelic is in the vanguard of such developments is something that I’m particularly pleased about.”

Bòrd na Gàidhlig Director of Gaelic Education, Mona Wilson said: “It is extremely reassuring to already see the positive effects the e-Sgoil project is having on the education of pupils, and also on the language within Scotland. It is a significant step in furthering developments in Gaelic education by creating a Virtual School which enables pupils, educators and their supporters to make the full use of technology to achieve the outcomes firmly embedded within the Curriculum for Excellence. It also provides a mechanism for using teaching staff more effectively, providing peer support and creating appropriate timetables.

“The e-Sgoil is quickly and effectively enhancing opportunities for pupils, particularly those involved Gaelic-medium education secondary courses and it is also an excellent example of partnerships between schools and Local Authorities coming together for the benefit of education within their authorities.

“Bòrd na Gàidhlig is delighted to be able to support such an initiative where technology is aiding the education of the younger generation and where pupils are being stimulated by a blended learning approach which complements other studies. We look forward to a continued close working relationship with the project as it further grows and develops in the coming months and years.”

Response to Press and Journal article, 11th August 2016 “Gaelic signs could cost you millions”

The establishment of Bòrd na Gàidhlig was one of the measures introduced under the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act, passed by the Scottish Parliament in 2005, having received cross-party support. Gaelic Language Plans are another key aspect of the Act. The aim of the legislation is to secure Gaelic for the whole of Scotland and Gaelic Language Plans are central to turning this ambition into reality. The Bòrd works constructively with local authorities across Scotland to grow Gaelic, as part of the rich tapestry of language communities which makes up our multilingual and multicultural country .

Aberdeen has a growing Gaelic community and the Gaelic Language Plan aims to ensure that this continues to be the case, in a reasonable and proportionate manner. Signage is replaced periodically due to normal wear and tear, and replacement of these offers a good opportunity to include some Gaelic at little additional cost and not millions of pounds as the headline may suggest.

Consultation on the Statutory Guidance on Gaelic Education

Bòrd na Gàidhlig today launched a formal consultation on the Statutory Guidance on Gaelic Education. The consultation will run from 1 August until 1 November with individuals and organisations nationally being encouraged to respond. The consultation can be accessed by visiting the Bòrd’s website with responses being invited either online or by post.

The Statutory Guidance is an important part of the 2016 Education (Scotland) Act which was passed earlier this year. Once the views of respondents have been analysed, Bòrd na Gàidhlig will complete the Guidance and provide advice to Scottish Ministers on an implementation process.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig Ceannard (CEO), Shona MacLennan said: “This is an important new duty on Bòrd na Gàidhlig which we have been planning for some time now. We hope that there is a comprehensive response to the draft which will also form a significant part of the education element of the 2017-2022 Gaelic Language Plan. We would encourage all those with an interest in Gaelic education and indeed, the Gaelic language to make every effort to respond to this important consultation.”

Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skill, John Swinney said: “Gaelic education is key to the Scottish Government’s commitment to grow the number of those using the language and it is essential that clear guidance is available to all those involved in Gaelic Education to ensure that providers, learners, carers and educators are aware of what they can expect from the sector.” “Demand for Gaelic education is growing across Scotland and, in response, we have brought forward the three Gaelic provisions contained in the Education (Scotland) Act 2016 with this draft Statutory Guidance the first to be enacted.”

Bruce Robertson, Chair of the group which developed the draft Statutory Guidance said: “The Group which has been working on the Statutory Guidance has already taken into account the legislative dimensions of the 2016 Act and the views of those who have attended events across the country. The Group represents Local Authorities, COSLA, Education Scotland, Scottish Government and Bòrd na Gàidhlig. We are now in a position to seek formal responses to the document which, once in place, is going to be 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.”


For further information on the contents of this news release please contact Steven MacIver, Head of Communications, Marketing & IT at Bòrd na Gàidhlig by e-mailing or phoning 07595763071

Bòrd na Gàidhlig appoints Director of Gaelic Education

Bòrd na Gàidhlig has appointed Mona Wilson as the organisation’s first Director of Gaelic Education, one of the most important positions to date in Gaelic education. Mona, who has been working with Strathclyde University since 1999, as Lecturer of Gaelic and then Senior Lecturer of Gaelic, is orignally from the Isle of Lewis. She will take up her new post with the Bòrd on the 20th of this month.

The new post has a wide remit, Mona will lead Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s education team taking lead in education policy, advise the Scottish Government on Gaelic education, work with Local Authorities and other delivery agents to achieve the Bòrd’s aspirations and also act as the lead officer on managing the new obligations on the Bòrd through the Education (Scotland) Act 2016.

Welcoming the appointment, Bòrd na Gàidhlig Cathraiche (Chair), Allan MacDonald said: “We all know how important this post is in terms of Gaelic education and there are many challenges ahead. This post and the delivery of our aims and objectives are critical to the overall strategic work the Bòrd is pursuing and it lies at the heart of all our activities. Mona will be leading a team which has been strengthened recently so that it can enable the delivery of the aspirations outlined in the National Gaelic Language Plan. We were looking for an energetic and enthusiastic individual and Mona is ideally suited to enable, develop and deliver the Bòrd’s plans.”

Bòrd na Gàidhlig Interim CEO, Bruce Robertson, a former Director of Education, said: “This is a crucial appointment for us and Mona is an excellent addition to the Bòrd na Gàidhlig executive team.”

Mona has stated that one of her key aims is to build on her experience working with Strathclyde University and as Head Teacher. “’There is still a need to further strengthen the infrastructure of Gaelic education and learning generally by supporting the recruitment of a confident, appropriately trained workforce in order to service the expansion of Gaelic education. Along with the help of the Scottish Government, Local Authorities and universities, the Bòrd will support initiatives to increase the range of courses available to those who wish to enter teaching, or to transfer to teaching Gaelic or through the medium of Gaelic. I am fully aware of the need to build effective and sustainable relationships at a local and national level with all the organisations involved in delivering education and other Gaelic activities. Local authorities and the Higher Education sector are also key delivery agents and I will be working closely with them to maximise the opportunities which are available.”

Mona Wilson comes from an experienced educational background; having previously worked as the Principle Gaelic Teacher for 10 years at Tollcross Primary School in Edinburgh, an adult trainer for CLAD, and interim Head teacher of Bun Sgoil Ghàidhlig Inbhir Nis.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig is currently recruiting a new post of Head of Finance

Bòrd na Gàidhlig is currently recruiting a new post of Head of Finance. As a member of the Leadership Team, to provide financial leadership, high quality professional advice, strategic forward looking finance options and decision support to the CEO and Board. To plan, develop and deliver the Authority’s financial strategy, ensuring sound governance and Best Value. This includes the preparation and presentation of all reports that meet statutory reporting requirements, safeguarding and accurate recording and reporting of all financial information. Please click here to apply for this position.

Applications must be submitted by 17.00 on Tuesday 7th June 2016.