COVID-19: A message from Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s Ceannard

I hope this finds you all safe and well. I appreciate that this is an uncertain and anxious time for us all.

I would like to reiterate Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s commitment to all of our funding partners, volunteer groups, communities and Gaelic speakers and learners alike during this time. We have outlined the work that lies ahead of us below and will provide you with regular updates as we move forward.

Funding Awards

As announced last week, many of the activities funded by Bòrd na Gàidhlig and delivered by partners across the country will be subject to cancellation, alteration or re-scheduling over the coming months.

  • It is important that organisations follow official advice and play their part in delaying the impact of COVID-19.
  • Priority should be given at this time to keeping people and communities safe and ensuring that any additional burden on the NHS in kept to a minimum.
  • The latest advice and information from the Scottish Government can be found here:
  • Funding awards which are affected by following COVID-19 advice will be honoured by Bòrd na Gàidhlig where required and we ask that you keep us up-to-date as your plans change.

Our Staff

Following the Scottish Government’s advice, all staff are working from home until advised this is not necessary. We will be conducting business as usual during this time as far as possible. We will not receive post at this time, please scan any documents to us.

Our Work

During this period, here is information on what Bòrd na Gàidhlig is working on:

  • Managed circulation of information on various resources, via Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s social media channels, that can be used in the home to support young people’s learning at various levels.
  • Developing a signposting facility ‘#cleachdi aig an taigh’ to link the different resources that are available to increase Gaelic usage at home.
  • Working with various partners to make sure that the resources we fund are available to all GME school pupils, with training available online so that families can use them; as well as providing information and tips for parents.
  • Looking to the longer-term, we’ll also be developing an online information resource for schools to highlight Gaelic career opportunities; and exploring what support can be offered online to newly qualified teachers and others instead of events we had planned for the coming months.
  • Working with main funded organisations to create opportunities to use Gaelic outwith formal education activities. These would be at national and local levels.
  • More generally, explore opportunities to support those individuals who are self-employed and work in education, creative and cultural sectors to participate in and deliver activities to increase usage and at the same time, increase their employment opportunities.
  • In addition, we are also in discussion with staff about providing support to other organisations where there is need for cover in GME due to staff illness.

Should you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us. Send your queries to and your message will be forwarded to the relevant person or department.

Cumaibh sàbhailte a chàirdean.

Deagh dhùrachdan,

Shona Niclllinnein

Deputy First Minister John Swinney to attend new Strategic Leadership Forum to discuss growth and development of Gaelic Education

Deputy First Minister John Swinney, MSP, along with 50 directors of education and other senior education leaders from across Scotland and representatives from Bòrd na Gàidhlig and Education Scotland are taking part in a brand new forum aimed at helping Gaelic grow and flourish.

Mr Swinney is attending the first ever Strategic Leadership Forum for Gaelic Education at the Macdonald Holyrood Hotel today along with the Directors of Education from 19 local authorities involved in delivering Gaelic Medium Education (GME).

The forum aims to help councils develop a clear plan of action to drive forward the teaching of Gaelic through greater collaboration, better understanding of duties and access to funding that helps boost Gaelic education.

The ultimate objective is to give all those involved a clear route to deliver the Gaelic National Plan and the Faster Rate of Progress initiative.

The forum was born out of an initiative led by Bòrd na Gàidhlig. Its Education Team led the way by establishing a working group made up of representatives of Bòrd na Gàidhlig, the Scottish Government and Education Scotland.

The working group reflected on the current needs of GME and the best and clearest way forward, and decided to launch the forum as a way of providing wider support for directors and senior officials.

The Deputy First Minister said: “The Scottish Government’s aim is to see an increase in the number of people speaking, learning, and using Gaelic and today’s Strategic Leadership Forum will make an important contribution to this aim.

“We see Gaelic as vital to the future of Scotland as a nation and to our cultural identity. We want to make sure those who wish to learn and speak the language are supported and given every opportunity to do just that.

“It is vital that local authorities who work hard to promote and support Gaelic and provide the chance for young people to learn Gaelic are given assistance and are able to work in partnership as they continue to develop the language.”

Jim Whannel, Bòrd na Gàidhlig Director of Education, said: “Bòrd na Gàidhlig is committed to supporting partners to deliver for Gaelic. We want the communities who speak Gaelic to continue to grow and thrive.

“This new Strategic Leadership Forum will help all those local authorities also committed to that aim of charting a clear path forward that takes us all towards the goal of more people, both young and old, committing to learning and using the language.”

Bòrd na Gàidhlig unveils Colmcille 1500

In 2021, it will be 1,500 years since the birth of St Columba. Known as St Colmcille in Gaelic – meaning Dove of the Church – his legacy in Scotland remains to this day, while he is one of Ireland’s three patron saints.

To celebrate this event, Bòrd na Gàidhlig is announcing at the Royal National Mòd Glasgow 2019, plans for a year of global celebrations marking St Columba’s birth in 521AD – entitled Colmcille 1500.

“Colmcille 1500″ will last from 7th December 2020 to 7th December 2021. While there is still 14 months to go until the year of celebration begins, Bòrd na Gàidhlig – in conjunction with its Irish counterpart Foras na Gaeilge – hopes launching Colmcille 1500 now will give plenty of time for communities and organisations to plan and co-ordinate their events.

So far public bodies in Scotland, Ireland, Nova Scotia and the Isle of Man have shown an interest in marking the legacy of St Columba.

Shona MacLennan, Bòrd na Gàidhlig chief executive officer, hopes more communities around the world can unite together to co-ordinate a proper global celebration of a leader who helped unify peoples and countries through his spiritual guidance and through Gaelic culture.

She said: “St Columba’s historical significance in Scotland cannot be underestimated. He arrived in Scotland at a time of bloody rivalries between warrior tribes. He went on to unite not just the Gaels, but also the Picts, who for centuries had resisted invaders, including the might of the Roman empire.”

Discussions are currently underway between organisations in Ireland, Scotland, Nova Scotia in Canada and Isle of Man on how best to celebrate St Columba’s legacy. As well as Bòrd na Gàidhlig and Foras na Gaeilge, included are the Scottish Government, Highlands & Islands Enterprise, Ealain na Gaeltachta in Ireland, Gaelic Affairs in Nova Scotia and the Isle of Man Government.

Ms MacLennan added: “The theme of Colmcille 1500 is very much one of togetherness, encouraging people to engage with each other at a local, national and international level.  It should also increase awareness of Columba’s legacy and his impact to this day on our shared Gaelic languages and cultures.

“We hope by celebrating his birth next year it will build relations and develop new friendships, uniting people behind a spirit of togetherness and co-operation.”

Bòrd na Gàidhlig proud to unveil new Gaelic identifier ¬– #cleachdi – at the Mòd Glasgow 2019

Bòrd na Gàidhlig is today unveiling at the Royal National Mòd Glasgow 2019 a brand-new campaign to encourage Gaelic speakers to let Scotland and the world know they are proud to speak the language.

Speakers and learners of Gaelic are being encouraged to use the hashtag #cleachdi – or #useit – plus the hashtag #gaidhlig when they communicate with others, be it in person, on social media, on email signatures or on their websites.

They can also support the campaign by wearing the symbols on lanyards, badges or stickers, or display a poster at their work or home to tell the world of their pride at being a Gaelic speaker.

Shona MacLennan, Bòrd na Gàidhlig chief executive officer, said: “Bòrd na Gàidhlig is delighted to be launching this new campaign at the Mòd. More and more people want to use and learn Gaelic and this initiative is a very positive and easy to use means to encourage more people to use more Gaelic in more situations.

“We at Bòrd na Gàidhlig will be joining all those who speak the language in displaying our pride at letting others know we are Gaelic speakers. We think #cleachdi is the perfect way to do this. So let’s #useit and put #gaidhlig firmly on the map.”

The new #cleachdi campaign is similar to the Welsh Language Commissioner’s ‘Iaith Gwaith’ (Welsh at Work) scheme, which is used in Wales to show that a service is available in Welsh. To show their solidarity with #cleachdi, the Welsh Language Commissioner Aled Roberts has today travelled to the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow to give his personal backing.

Mr Roberts said: “Iaith Gwaith is well established in Wales, and is a valuable resource for organisations, businesses and charities to show customers that a service is available in Welsh.  In recent years, it has evolved and been used more widely in ways ranging from an engineering company creating a vinyl version on hard hats to health boards creating a magnetic version to be used on beds to show which patients wish to be treated in Welsh.

“It is going from strength to strength in Wales and I very much look forward to seeing the equivalent in Scotland launched during the Royal National Mòd. I am confident that #cleachdi will have the same positive benefit for Gaelic and Gaelic speakers.”

Also backing the campaign are Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s partners Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and VisitScotland, with VisitScotland’s Director of Industry and Destination Development Riddell Graham attending the Royal Concert Hall.

Mr Graham said: “We wholeheartedly support this wonderful #cleachdi campaign and will be actively taking part in it where we can. Gaelic is the founding language of Scotland, its significance to our culture and identity cannot be underestimated.

“It is vital that Scotland is able to provide a memorable and unique visitor experience to meet ever-changing consumer demands and Gaelic has the potential to be a key ingredient in the Scottish tourism offer.

“As the Mòd demonstrates so brilliantly, Gaelic is woven into our musical heritage, and has crossed over to popular culture thanks to the hugely successful TV series Outlander. We believe it will continue to prove a valuable asset to Scotland’s identity and capture the imagination of the Scots at home and around the world.”

Rachel Mackenzie, of HIE, said: “We are delighted to see the launch of the #cleachdi identifier and associated campaign. Supporting Gaelic is at the heart of our remit for economic and social development in the Highlands and Islands and key to this is to build on how the language is being used to add economic and social value, both in our communities and our workplaces.

“We look forward to working with Bòrd na Gàidhlig and partners to explore how we can further use the identifier with our economic and social opportunities. This powerful campaign will both unify and be a symbol for our Gaelic community and also be a beacon to those who wish to engage with the language.”

In its initial roll-out any public sector body who have Gaelic speaking staff can download an order form from Bòrd na Gàidhlig, where they can order up to 10 lanyard, 10 badges, 10 A5 posters and 20 stickers. For any larger orders they can contact Bòrd na Gàidhlig directly on 01463 225454 or by emailing

A copy of the #cleachdi poster, logo and e-mail footer, can also be downloaded by following this link: Watch out for the new #cleachdi initiative during this year’s Mod, broadcast on BBC Alba and BBC Scotland.

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”