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 joanne@gaidhlig.scot

More information on the scheme can be found at http://www.gaidhlig.scot/bord/fundraising/

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.”