Bòrd na Gàidhlig and University of Strathclyde launch the first-ever accredited Gaelic as a Modern Language teaching qualification

The introduction of the ATQ follows on from the successful Languages Week Scotland 2022


The University of Strathclyde, in partnership with Bòrd na Gàidhlig and with support from the General Teaching Council Scotland, has launched a groundbreaking Additional Teaching Qualification which will enable Secondary Modern Languages teachers to provide courses for Gaelic learners as part of the modern languages curriculum on offer in their schools.


The Additional Teaching Qualification will broaden and enrich Scotland’s delivery of languages, with modern languages teachers, who undertake the course, able to teach

Gaelic in addition to the more traditional curriculum of French, German and Spanish.


Eight teachers from Glasgow, North Lanarkshire, and West Dunbartonshire local authorities are the first to sign up for the pilot, with their respective schools guaranteeing Gaelic will be taught as a modern language upon the teachers’ completion of the accredited course.


The University of Strathclyde and Bòrd na Gàidhlig say that this fresh approach to delivery could change the face of the language in Scotland by providing a fundamental step in creating a new base of Gaelic speakers. This project will also add to the employability of the young people who engage with Gaelic Learners curriculum at school, as use of the language grows in the workplace.


The 18-month programme, delivered in a blended format both online and on campus, is aimed at teachers with limited knowledge of Gaelic. Following completion of the ATQ, the the teachers will become officially registered with the GTCS as teachers of Gaelic as a Modern Language. This will increase the number of GTCS registered modern languages teachers with the ability to teach Gaelic in secondary schools.


The launch of the course follows on from Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s Dèan Diofar (Make A Difference) social media campaign. Dèan Diofar follows the paths of six teachers currently teaching in Gaelic-medium Education and is aimed at encouraging people worldwide to consider a career in Gaelic-medium education.


Mairi MacInnes, Chair at Bòrd na Gàidhlig, said: “The establishment of a Gaelic Additional Teachers Qualification is a fantastic example of an initiative which could herald a new chapter for Gaelic in Scotland’s schools. Bòrd na Gàidhlig are delighted to have provided funding and support to The University of Strathclyde for the creation of the Gaelic Additional Teachers Qualification, and we will work closely with them to track the progess of the course’s first-ever cohort with great excitement.”


Linda Brownlow, Head of School of Education at The University of Strathclyde, said: “The Gaelic Additional Teaching Qualification project seeks to build a community of new speakers within Gaelic Education, to foster collaboration and develop innovative new ways to promote all forms of teaching the language. The University of Strathclyde is determined to be at the forefront of fully equipping the nation’s teachers with the necessary skills and qualifications to provide Gaelic Learners classes, while delivering positive change for both modern language and Gaelic education throughout our schools.”


Shirley-Anne Somerville, Cabinet Secretary for Languages, said: “The Scottish Government recognises the importance of widening access to those interested in teaching the Gaelic language and the development of this Additional Teaching Qualification pilot is a positive step forward. I hope it will encourage other local authorities to be involved in future years.”

Webinar on Gaelic and Sámi

There will be a webinar taking place on Wednesday 16 February at 09:30 where a host of people will be discussing both Gaelic and Sámi languages. They hope to share their knowledge on the promotion of indigenous languages at this event.


Jim Whannel, Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s Director of Education, will be taking part in the webinar and further information and registration can be accessed here.



New Board Members

Bòrd na Gàidhlig (BnG) are delighted to welcome two new member to their Board as announced by the Scottish Government.


Seonaidh Charity is a Gaelic secondary teacher in Inverness, teaching Gaelic as a language to both GME pupils and learners, as well as subjects through the medium of Gaelic. As a former GME pupil himself, Seonaidh went on to study Gaelic at Glasgow University and gained a PGDE from Strathclyde University.  He then worked as a classroom teacher and Curriculum Leader in Edinburgh. He has experience in delivering teacher education having previously worked as a Programme Leader and Senior Lecturer on Sabhal Mòr Ostaig’s BA Gaelic and Education degree and UHI’s PGDE courses. Seonaidh was awarded a Master of Education (Med) Critical Enquiry with Distinction from UHI, having carried out research into improving speaking skills among GME pupils.


Nicola NicThòmais is a native Gaelic speaker from the Isle of Skye, where she lives with her husband and their three young children. She has spent most of her working career at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the National Centre for Gaelic Language, latterly as Director of Corporate Affairs, and now runs her own virtual support business, Lasair Ltd.  Nicola brings a broad range of senior management experience, particularly in human resources, corporate governance and administration. She was a director on the Board of Fàs Mòr, currently serves as a member of the Church of Scotland’s Gaelic group and currently runs her local church’s youth group for Gaelic-speaking teenagers.


Mary MacInnes, Chair, Bòrd na Gàidhlig said “We’re delighted to welcome Seonaidh and Nicola as new board members at Bòrd na Gàidhlig.  It’s very important to us as an organisation that we have a wide range of knowledge and communities on the board and also that we renew membership.  We look forward to working with them at BnG at a time that is full of opportunity for developing Gaelic – there’ll be a warm welcome for them.”

Bòrd na Gàidhlig annual report reveals vital support provided to Scotland’s Gaelic language throughout COVID-19 pandemic

Bòrd na Gàidhlig annual report reveals vital support provided to Scotland’s Gaelic language throughout COVID-19 pandemic


Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s 2020-21 annual report has revealed that the organisation ensured support of Gaelic language and culture, through extensive consultation and the creation of vital solutions, during the challenges of the pandemic.


The non-departmental public body ensured that its work, along with that of its delivery partners, remained at the fore in challenging times and increased the use, learning and promotion of Gaelic.


Welcome additional support was provided for families with pupils in Gaelic medium education through establishing the #cleachdiaigantaigh/#useitathome partnership initiative. This was forged out of the successful #cleachdi project and brought together a number of delivery partners to create and promote resources for pupils to use at home during lockdown.


Bòrd na Gàidhlig also quickly established a fund specifically designed to support organisations in their respose to the pandemic, distributing over £280,000 to 53 projects.


Communities in the islands were supported through the creation of a separate fund, administered by Community Land Scotland, to enable community trusts to develop their own projects to increase the use and learning of Gaelic. Further funding was also provided to enable Comann na Gàidhlig and Fèisean nan Gàidheal to recruit more officers to strengthen their work, particularly in the islands.


Throughout the pandemic, the Bòrd continued its support for people to develop their Gaelic skills despite the significant impact on work placements and face-to-face education. This included funding for the new multi-faceted learning brand SpeakGaelic, which went live this year and will build on the huge increase in online Gaelic learning during lockdown, with over 600,000 active learners using Scottish Gaelic Duolingo last year.


The Bòrd also worked closely with Gaelic youth organisations Fèisean nan Gàidheal and Comunn na Gàidhlig to find out what young people wanted from Gaelic and ways that they could be supported to use the language more. This and other extensive consultations run by the Bòrd and others will contribute to the next National Gaelic Language Plan.


Over the past 12 months, Bòrd na Gàidhlig worked closely with 67 public authorities on Gaelic language plans which support Gaelic in the workplace and public life. To date, 59 of those Scottish public authorities have approved Gaelic language plans, with many now on to their second, third or fourth iterations. Additionally, eight new organisations started to develop their plans over the past year.  The plans have a direct impact on the visibility and normalisation of Gaelic across the country.


According to the report, the Bòrd received a total Grant-in-Aid allocation of just over £5.3 million – the financial allocation Bòrd na Gàidhlig is required to operate within by Scottish Ministers.


Of that total, £1.5 million covered core running costs, while £2.6 million went to general Gaelic development funds – including community funding for people, projects and groups – and £1.25 million towards the Gaelic Language Plans Implementation Fund.


Mairi MacInnes, Chair of Bòrd na Gàidhlig, said: “The past year presented us, like everyone else, with an unprecedented situation. However, the improvement embedded within the organisation has enabled Bòrd na Gàidhlig to face the challenges with confidence and this has resulted in many successes.


“Developing and supporting Gaelic – whilst responding to the fall-out from the pandemic, its impact on individuals and families, communities, and public bodies – has remained our core purpose. We have introduced bold innovations and collaborations which will now be a normal part of the delivery of Gaelic development.


“The phenomenal increase in learning Gaelic during lockdown is a clear sign of the potential to increase the number of speakers . We continue to stress the importance of the message that Gaelic belongs to the whole of Scotland and we are also aware of the international interest in our language and culture.”


Cabinet Secretary for Scotland’s Languages Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “Bòrd na Gàidhlig continue to play a vital role in promoting and supporting the Gaelic language and its speakers.


“This annual report underlines the excellent work of the Bòrd in ensuring Gaelic education continued in the extremely challenging circumstances presented by the pandemic.”


Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s audited annual report has also been issued, with the Section 22 report highlighting significant improvement in the body’s leadership and governance. Of the 72 actions recommended in the 2018-19 audit, 71 of these have now been completed


The report states: “The Bòrd of today is an improved organisation to the one subject to the 2018/19 audit report. The pace of improvement in overhauling the organisation’s governance structure and Leadership Team and increasing significantly its openness and transparency is welcome.”


Mairi MacInnes said: “Governance is an ongoing process and we will continue to follow the guidance that we receive to constantly assess where we are and where we can yet improve. That responsibility falls on all board members and staff to ensure that scrutiny is always maintained. We welcome the findings of the new audit report, and understand that we must continue to move forward as a collective to ensure that the Bòrd is best serving the development of Gaelic.”


Note to Editors

Bòrd na Gàidhlig

Bòrd na Gàidhlig (the Bòrd) is an executive non-departmental public body established under the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005. It is the principal body in Scotland responsible for promoting Gaelic development and providing advice to the Scottish Ministers on Gaelic matters, including education.


The Bòrd’s 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 as a national, cultural and economic asset.  Much of the Bòrd’s work focuses on developing and promoting use of the National Gaelic Language Plan, together with the development and monitoring of Gaelic Language Plans (GLPs) by Public Authorities and delivering funding schemes to support increased use, learning and promotion of Gaelic.  These are the three main aims of the National Gaelic Language Plan. Bòrd na Gàidhlig works to promote Gaelic in partnership with the Scottish Government, local authorities, public bodies, delivery partners, communities and individuals.


Bòrd na Gàidhlig has statutory educational responsibilities under the 2005 Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act and the 2016 Education (Scotland) Act.


Public Meetings in Renfrewshire and Fife


Bòrd na Gàidhlig warmly invites parents, carers, organisations or individuals with an interest to an on-line meeting on Gaelic-medium Education. Come along and find out more about Gaelic-medium and how it can be set up in Renfrewshire and in Fife.

Jim Whannel, Director of Gaelic Education, at BnG, will deliver a short presentation on the benefits of Gaelic-medium and answer any questions prospective parents may have.

Renfrewshire Council and Fife Council promote the potential provision of Gaelic-medium Education in the area and will co-host the meeting along with representatives of Comann nam Pàrant, the national organisation which offers advice and support on Gaelic medium education to parents.

The meeting for Renfrewshire will take place on Teams, Monday 29th of November at 18.30.

The meeting for Fife will take place on Teams, Wednesday 24th of November at 18:30.

We welcome you to share this meeting on social media or to anyone who may be of interest.

Please register for the meetings through the link below.

Register for Public Meetings

Bòrd na Gàidhlig provide vital funding to community groups and organisations for 50 Gaelic projects

Bòrd na Gàidhlig has awarded almost £600,000 to 50 Gaelic projects as part of the Gaelic Language Act Implementation Fund (GLAIF).


Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is one of a number of Western Isles organisations set to benefit from funding for a range of projects, including an award of £20,000 to offer Gaelic classes to its apprentices.


The Comhairle has also received £2,300 to support eSgoil deliver an online programme of activities for children to enhance their Gaelic language skills, and a further £11,250 to provide an opportunity for up to 15 Gaelic-speaking students to undertake a summer placement in a job using Gaelic.


Among the other groups which have received funding are Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, who have received funding for four separate projects including a pilot, in partnership with schools in the Highlands and Western Isles, where pupils will interview different generations to preserve heritage in partnership with Tobar an Dualchais.


Highlands and Islands Airport Limited has also been awarded funds to develop and deliver a vocabulary resource for customer-facing staff.


Perth & Kinross Council’s work in developing the Gaelic language has been recognised with awards for three projects over the next year. It will deliver outdoor events and learning sessions as part of Our Gaelic Landscape, deliver music workshops in schools and communities in the lead up to the Royal National Mòd in 2022 through ‘Aig a’ Mh`oid’, and continue to deliver adult learning sessions in the area thanks to funding from the Bòrd.


Elsewhere, Glasgow City Council will benefit from £25,000, which will go towards the hiring of a GME Family Learning Officer. The officer will specifically support parents of children in the early stages of GME across the council’s remit.


City of Edinburgh Council will also hire an Early Years GME Development Officer following a £32,000 award as part of the GLAIF funding.


A full overview of projects that received funding can be found via the GrantNav website here.

Further projects that applied through GLAIF will also be supported as the year progresses.


Mairi MacInnes, Chair at Bòrd na Gàidhlig, said: “Bòrd na Gàidhlig continues to provide the platform to help drive the development of Gaelic, not just in the Highlands and Islands, but throughout Scotland. Awards to the likes of Glasgow, Edinburgh and Perth & Kinross councils show our commitment to growing Gaelic the length and breadth of the country and are vital to bringing the language to a new audience.


“The purpose of GLAIF is to aid public bodies deliver on their Gaelic Language Plans. Bòrd na Gàidhlig is proud to play its part on ensuring that these commitments are met as it continues to support the development and implementation of countless innovative and exciting projects.


“This form of funding plays a major role in ensuring that the language’s rich history is preserved and built upon in order to bring it to the future generations.”


Bòrd na Gàidhlig runs funding schemes at different times through the year. If you have a proposal for a project please email: tabhartas@gaidhlig.scot, or phone 01463 225 454.



Denise Sutherland, Head of Communications at Highlands and Islands Airports Limited, said: “We are delighted to have secured the funding from Bòrd na Gàidhlig for our next project, which aims to include Gaelic in order to enhance our customer experience.  The vocabulary training will support our colleagues who want to learn and use Gaelic.  This welcome contribution comes as our second edition Gaelic Language Plan has been approved and will help our ongoing work to develop our Gaelic offering.”


William Macdonald, Eilean Siar’s Director of Education, Skills and Children’s Services, said: “The annual GLAIF fund continues to provide important support for a range of projects and initiatives which develop the use and learning of Gaelic across the Islands, including the continued expansion of tailored Gaelic learning opportunities for Comhairle staff, and the implementation of other key action areas in our Gaelic Language Plan.”


Fiona Robertson, Perth & Kinross Council’s Head of Culture and Communities Services said: “It is great that our work in developing the Gaelic language has been recognised in this way. We are keen to build on what we have already achieved locally as we head towards welcoming the Mòd in 2022 and enable more people in Perth and Kinross to learn Gaelic and increase their understanding of its role and impact on our cultural environment.”


Councillor Chris Cunningham, Glasgow City Convener for Education, Skills and Early Years said: “Gaelic medium education continues to thrive in the city and we are proud that for more than 22 years GME has been an option for our families. Outside of the Highlands and Islands, Glasgow has the largest provision and it is a result of this success that we recently confirmed the fourth Gaelic primary school – work will begin in the near future in the former St James’ Primary school in the north east of the city. The announcement of additional funding through the GLAIF application process is very welcome and I know that the new family learning officer will enhance and develop supports to families across the city.”


Councillor Alison Dickie, Gaelic Champion for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “It’s great that Bòrd na Gàidhlig have given us this funding boost as we strongly believe encouraging Gaelic at the earliest stages of education is the engine room of GME expansion in Edinburgh. This, within our vision, powers the future growth of learning and use of Gaelic language needed to heighten its profile and extend engagement into new, intergenerational communities.  With its focus on early engagement with families, this post will be key to our plans for expanding GME and for securing a sustainable future for Gaelic language and culture in Edinburgh.”



Funding Recipients – 


An Lanntair (Western Isles)

Crofting Commission

Lews Castle College

Dundee City Council

Edinburgh City Council

Glasgow City Council

Argyll and Bute Council

Fife Council

The Highland Council

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar

Perth & Kinross Council

West Dunbartonshire Council

e-Sgoil (Western Isles)

Education Scotland

Glasgow Life

Highlands & Islands Airports Limited

Highlands & Islands Students’ Association

Western Isles Library

Skills Development Scotland

Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park


University of Glasgow

University of the Highlands & Islands

University of Aberdeen

Police Scotland

Sabhal Mòr Ostaig


Community pilot is well underway

Bòrd na Gàidhlig (BnG) and Community Land Scotland are delighted to announce that a new officer has been appointed to begin work on increasing community engagement for strengthening Gaelic in the Western Isles and the islands of Highland and Argyll & Bute Council areas.


This follows on from the announcement made in March 2021 that there would be a new partnership to provide funding and community-based decision making for Gaelic development by community landowners, heritage and other trusts.

The successful candidate, Chrissie Gillies from Raasay, will work with Community Land Scotland to both strengthen Gaelic in their own work and membership, and support applicants to develop and deliver Gaelic development projects.

Chrissie Gillies, New Officer

Commenting on the appointment Agnes Rennie of Community Land Scotland said “Chrissie’s appointment and the launch of the pilot will be a significant step in enabling and supporting properly constituted groups, based within the selected areas, to take forward new projects strengthening the place of Gaelic language and culture in the community.”

New officer Chrissie Gillies added, “This is an exciting opportunity to work with communities to develop strong community led projects. I am certain we will have some excellent applications in the coming months.”

Shona MacLennan, Ceannard of Bòrd na Gàidhlig said, “This new approach builds on the strength of the wide range of community trusts already established in the islands who deliver a wide range of economic and social benefits.  It will lead to increased opportunities to use and learn Gaelic in many aspects of island life and is shaped around the recognition in the National Gaelic Language Plan that island communities require different strategies which respond to their specific needs and aspirations.”

Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said, “This is a very welcome initiative which builds on, and adds to, the wide range of projects already in place to support Gaelic in Highland and Island areas.

“I commend Bòrd na Gàidhlig and Community Land Scotland for bringing this forward and congratulate Chrissie Gillies on her appointment, I wish her every success with this valuable work.”

The next stage of the project will see a funding scheme launched in the coming months.  Key dates for the scheme will be published on the Community Land Scotland website soon.

This will provide funding at three levels – up to £5,000, up to £15,000 and up to £30,000, with total funding of £125,000 altogether.  The scheme will be open to community trusts, not just land-based, in the Western Isles and the islands of Highland and Argyll & Bute Council areas.   Each trust will be required to create a simple plan which shows how their work will increase the use, learning and promotion of Gaelic in their areas.

Decisions on funding will be made by a panel of representatives drawn from different areas and sectors.  In this way, the scheme will ensure community-based decision-making.

For more information on the funding scheme, please keep an eye on: https://www.communitylandscotland.org.uk/.

New opportunity for contractor 

We are seeking an experienced contractor to research, develop and deliver a new online resource for speakers of Gaelic.

We are seeking an experienced contractor to research, develop and deliver a new online resource for speakers of Gaelic intermediate to fluent) in line with the ongoing development of the #cleachdi initiative.

This resource, entitled ‘#cleachdi Còmhla’, will support Gaelic speakers to use the language in social contexts more regularly, whether online or in person. The contractor (and any sub-contractors) will create and host a new ‘cleachdi.scot’ website on behalf of Bòrd na Gàidhlig.

Visit Public Contracts Scotland website for more information about this contract.

Gaelic Usage Questionnaire

An independent review is being carried out just now on the current National Gaelic Language Plan, led by Sabhal Mòr Ostaig. As part of this work, they are researching Gaelic usage.

We’re looking for anyone with a little or a lot of Gaelic to fill in our Gaelic usage survey as part of this review.  This survey is open for 24hrs (from 8pm on Sunday 20th to 8pm on Monday 21st June) and can be filled in here: https://forms.office.com/r/YSQ87RN65p.

These answers will contribute to SMO’s report which will be released in the coming months.

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