Historical Environment Scotland: Responsible Tourism Framework

Bòrd na Gàidhlig welcomes the opportunity to respond to this consultation on Responsible Tourism Framework.

Some of the points raised include:

Gaelic is a national language. Increasing its use at HES’s sites will ensure that they are fully – as per the Framework – “providing visitor attractions that represent Scotland’s identity” and “tell Scotland’s story”.

The Gaelic language is vital to understanding the culture associated with many HES sites. VisitScotland’s Gaelic Tourism Strategy for Scotland – which HES are involved in delivering – states that:

“Gaelic is also embedded in our world-famous landscape and cities with instant recognition for the likes of Loch Ness (Loch Nis), Culloden (Cùil Lodair), Glenfinnan (Gleann Fhionnainn), Glasgow (Glaschu) and Dundee (Dùn Dè) whose names in English remain close to their original Gaelic”.

Increasing the use of Gaelic in, for example, interpretation will help achieve the Framework’s aim to “safeguard authenticity and the sense of place” and thus represent an enhancement “providing authentic visitor experiences”. It would also reinforce that Gaelic is a living language.

The full response can be read here.

National Parks Commission – Stakeholder Consultation

Bòrd na Gàidhlig welcomes the opportunity to respond to this consultation by the National Parks Commission.

Some of the points raised include:

The growth in Gaelic learner numbers and in Gaelic-related tourism represents a tremendous opportunity for new and existing National Parks. Attracting people who use or are interested in Gaelic will produce a more diverse visitor profile – and increase visitor numbers with attendant economic benefits.

The use of the Gaelic language in settings such as National Parks contributes to individuals’ wellbeing.

Language and culture create self-esteem, nurture self-confidence, define identity and improve quality of life. This increases wellbeing for Gaelic users, learners, and supporters – who have great pride in the Gaelic language and culture. Gaelic contributes positively to what these people think and feel about their lives.

The full response can be accessed here.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig response to Scottish Government’s Consultation on Gaelic and Scots and Scottish Languages Bill

Màiri MacInnes, Chair of Bòrd na Gàidhlig, said: “We welcome the Scottish Government’s consultation and their ongoing commitment to Gaelic, which aligns to our own ambitions for the language. We recognise the importance of all Scotland’s indigenous languages and their contribution to the cultural diversity of the nation and support measures for Scots within this consultation. 

“The evidence from the recent Scottish Social Attitudes Survey shows that support and demand for the Gaelic language continues to be on the rise, particularly among the younger generations, which will be a significant step in progressing normalisation of the language.

“More and more families are seeking Gaelic-medium Education and a majority of Scottish Local Authorities are now providing or are in the process of setting up Gaelic-medium Primary Education. The latest figures show a 21% increase in the number of Primary school children in Gaelic-medium Education and a 16% increase in the number of Secondary School pupils in Gaelic-medium in the last five years. We firmly believe the new national strategy needs to be led from ministerial level to provide national direction and implementation, with Gaelic education firmly embedded in the new education agencies.  Parental rights to Gaelic-medium education should be expanded and the opportunity to learn Gaelic should be available to all pupils in Scotland through the 1 + 2 Programme as part of an entitlement to learn about Scotland’s rich cultural heritage, which includes the Gaelic language and culture.

“We recommend that the National Plan for Gaelic remains the strategy for developing Gaelic in Scotland. We also recommend that the legal status of Gaelic is strengthened through new Scottish Languages Bill. These will be pivotal in ensuring that Scotland continues to increase the use and learning of Gaelic nationally. 

“We look forward to working with Scottish Government and other stakeholders to inform the next steps in developing a draft bill through the parliamentary process.  We would also encourage others to submit a response.” 

View the full submission here.

Inspection of early learning childcare and school age childcare services in Scotland

Bòrd na Gàidhlig has submitted a response to the consultation by The Scottish Government on: Inspection of early learning and childcare and school age childcare services in Scotland.

The response included the following points:

We are very concerned that the proposed vision does not recognise a fundamental aspect of Scottish Education – that the delivery of education in Scotland takes place through the medium of English or through the medium of Gaelic. This crucial omission impacts on all aspects of this consultation and has led to there being a number of gaps in the proposals.

We note references to Putting Children at the Centre, which is very welcome, but we are disappointed that the comments and recommendations concerning Gaelic and GME contained in Professor Muir’s report do not appear to have influenced the draft proposals for ELC inspection.

It is clear that further work is required to ensure that the proposals under consideration in this consultation fully meet the needs of Scotland’s ELC sector which provides education in two languages, either Gaelic or English. Whilst there remains a challenge in revising some areas, we are fully confident that with support from Bòrd na Gàidhlig and other national agencies this can be achieved.

The full response can be accessed here.

UHI Rural and Islands College Merger Consultation

The University of The Highlands and Islands is seeking opinions on the merger of their rural and islands colleges. Bòrd na Gàidhlig has submitted a response with includes the points:

We very much welcome the various statements on, and commitments to, Gaelic in the merger proposal and business case document.

We also welcome the statement that the proposals will “cement our leading position developing Gaelic language and Gaelic medium curriculum across the Highlands and Outer Hebrides”.

Thus, overall, we expect the role of Gaelic, in teaching, research and using Gaelic, to be strengthened within the new structure.

The full response can be accessed here.

Establishment of a Gaelic Medium Primary Education at Thornliebank Primary School

East Renfrewshire Council has launched a public consultation for interested individuals and groups to have their say on the establishment of a Gaelic Medium Primary Education (GMPE) at Thornliebank Primary School from August 2023 and beyond.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig has submitted a response which includes the points:

Bòrd na Gàidhlig welcomes the establishment of Gaelic Medium Primary Education (GMPE) in East Renfrewshire Council, as a result of a successful application by parents utilising the provisions in the Education Scotland Act (2016), as outlined in the Statutory Guidance for Gaelic Education.

Due consideration has been given by East Renfrewshire Council not only on establishing provision but future proofing provision to ensure expansion is possible. Bòrd na Gàidhlig believe that GMPE within East Renfrewshire council will be an attractive option for parents and that numbers are likely to grow in the future.

The full response can be read here.

West Dunbartonshire Council Draft Strategic Plan 2022-27 Consultation

Bòrd na Gàidhlig has submitted a response to West Dunbartonshire Council’s Draft Strategic Plan 2022-27 consultation.

Some of the points raised include:

There are no references to Gaelic language and culture in the Draft Strategic Plan nor in the accompanying Strategic Needs Assessment. (We also note that there are no references to Gaelic in the draft West Dunbartonshire’s Economic Development Strategy 2022 – 2027). This is despite the Council having a Gaelic Language Plan containing various commitments.

This needs to be addressed in the final version of the Draft Strategic Plan.

The full response can be read here.

South Lanarkshire Council – Economic Strategy 2022-2027 – consultation

South Lanarkshire Council’s Economic Strategy 2022-2027 has been prepared and Bòrd na Gàidhlig has submitted a response on its key themes and priorities.

Some of the points raised include:

South Lanarkshire  Council has a Gaelic Language Plan containing various commitments to increase the use and learning of Gaelic. The Plan states that “SLC promotes the economic benefits of Gaelic language and culture as part of its general economic development initiatives”. It also states that it ensures that “Gaelic is valued and that its important contribution to the social, cultural and economic life of the nation is recognised”.

These commitments are not reflected in the Draft Economic Strategy. This needs to be addressed in the final version, through a number of specific references to Gaelic and further recommendations on this are made below.

The full response can be read here.

A new Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy

Bòrd na Gàidhlig has submitted a response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on a new Metal Health and Wellbeing Strategy.

The response includes the following points:

“We agree with the proposed vision “Better mental health and wellbeing for all”. “For all” means that the vision and Strategy should be inclusive. Therefore, the final Strategy document would benefit greatly from specific references to the Gaelic language and its contribution to mental health and wellbeing.”

“Language and culture create self-esteem, nurture self-confidence, define identity and improve quality of life. Gaelic is part of the heritage of Scotland. It increases wellbeing for Gaelic users, learners, and supporters. Gaelic contributes positively to what these people think and feel about their lives.”

The full response can be accessed here.

COVID-19 Recovery Committee – Pre-Budget Scrutiny

The Scottish Government is expected to publish its Budget 2023-24 in December 2022. In advance of this, the COVID-19 Recovery Committee is undertaking pre-budget scrutiny with the aim of influencing the Scottish Government’s thinking when preparing its forthcoming budget.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig have submitted a response which includes the points:

“The Resource Spending Review and its associated documents make no reference to Gaelic, its role as an economic asset and how it can contribute to the recovery.

This is a significant omission. The result is a lack of clarity and transparency on the degree of future priority of – and funding for – Gaelic.

There is no case for any reduction in funding for Gaelic. Rather, there is a case for increased funding to reflect Scottish Government policy, growing demand for the Gaelic language and culture, and Gaelic’s increasing contribution to Scotland’s economy.”

The full response can be read here.