Gaelic Early Years Grants Scheme Opens to Applications!

Bòrd na Gàidhlig have launched the 2024/25 Gaelic Early Years Scheme, with funding provided for early years groups across Scotland to deliver Gaelic sessions.

The scheme is open to all voluntary and third-sector groups, with support up to £5,000 available for groups that meet weekly, and up to £15,000 available to groups that meet more regularly.

This year’s scheme would specifically like to support groups that can show how they will achieve the following outcomes:

  • Ensuring that children and families have sustained access to Gaelic early years provision
  • Increasing the number of children continuing with Gaelic-medium learning at key transition stages
  • Helping more families in Scotland become aware of the benefits of bilingualism and the opportunities offered by Gaelic-medium education
  • Helping parents become better informed on resources and opportunities to support and interact with their children through Gaelic in homes and communities

Two information sessions will be delivered to provide you with an opportunity to learn more about the scheme, get support with filling out application forms, and to ask any questions you may have. You can find more information about the sessions and register to attend on Eventbrite.

The Scheme Guidance and further information is available here.

Consultation Response: Draft Guidance and General Determination for Teacher Qualification in Further Education

Bòrd na Gàidhlig has submitted a response to the Scottish Government‘s public consultation on the Draft Guidance and General Determination for Teacher Qualification in Further Education. Amongst the points raised, we said:

“A range of Further Education courses either through the medium of Gaelic or with content relating to Gaelic are currently provided by UHI and Kelvin College, for example. As GME expands across the country and new programmes are created, it will be important to ensure that the Guidance is sufficiently inclusive of both Gaelic and English delivery to be applicable across the entire TQFE course spectrum.”

The full response is available to read here.

Consultation Response: Learning Disabilities, Autism and Neurodivergence Bill

Bòrd na Gàidhlig has submitted a response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on the Learning Disabilities, Autism and Neurodivergence Bill. Amongst the points raised, we said:

“It is crucial that all proposals relating to education are fully consistent with the provision of education in Scotland being delivered in two languages, either through the medium of Gaelic or through the medium of English. In relation to additional support needs and the specific needs of neurodivergent children and young people there are a range of specific issues relating to immersion education and bilingualism which should always be referenced across all proposals. Bòrd na Gàidhlig and other organisations such as Stòrlann and Education Scotland can provide input to support inclusion of both Gaelic Medium and English Medium (EME) provision.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig firmly supports the visionary nature of the Consultation Document and the statement on p23: “everyone providing support or services, such as healthcare, education and care, … are clear about their duties under the Bill and who this applies to”.”

The full response can be read here.

Training Session for Probationary Teachers

Bòrd na Gàidhlig are running training sessions for Gaelic probationery Teachers this year!

There will be 4 sessions running and the first one will run on Wednesday, 28.02.24 from 4:15pm to 5:15pm on Microsoft Teams. You don’t need to have a Teams account to attend the session.

We are going to be focusing on Stòrlann and are very happy that Stòrlann staff will be joining us to talk about the resources the have at both primary school and high school level.

You are most welcome to join us to talk and listen and it will be a great opportunity for probationers to network with other new teachers accross Scotland.

The dates for the two remaining sessions are still to be confirmed, but they will each have a diffrent focus. You do not need to have attended the first session to attend this session or the remaining two sessions.

If you would like more information, you can contact Sian Baldwin, Development Officer (Teachers), at sian@gaidhlig.scot.

You can register for the session on Eventbrite.

Immersion Course Grants for Education Practitioners

The Gaelic Immersion Courses for Education Workers funding scheme is now open to applications for 2024/25!

This fund was set up to support local authorities to provide Gaelic immersion opportunities for Teachers & Early Learning & Childcare (ELC) practitioners with a view to teaching through the medium of Gaelic upon completing the course.  There is up to £50,000 available per teacher, with a total budget of £150,000 available to the scheme.

Working in partnership with Universities who are already delivering Gaelic Immersion courses, Bòrd na Gàidhlig are inviting Local Authorities to nominate prospective candidates who would be willing to undertake a yearlong Gaelic immersion course to enable them to transfer to GME in August 2025. The courses on offer are: An Cùrsa Comais available via Sabhal Mòr Ostaig or UHI Outer Hebrides and Gaelic with Immersion available via The University of Glasgow.

Local Authorities will be able to apply to Bòrd na Gàidhlig for the costs of supply cover for any candidates who successfully receive a place on a Gaelic Immersion course. As part of the application process, Local Authorities will be required to provide confirmation of where candidates would be employed on completion of the immersion course in August 2025.

We would be grateful if you could establish whether there is demand amongst your current workforce and send any expressions of interest to: ann@gaidhlig.scot at the earliest opportunity.

Two online information sessions for prospective candidates will be held on Wenesday, 07.02.24. Teachers, ELC practitioners and local authority staff can register through Eventbrite to learn more about the scheme and ask any questions you may have.

Funding applications should be submitted to Bòrd na Gàidhlig as soon as possible, with applications closing on 26 March 2024.

You can find more information about the scheme here.

Training sessions for Probation Teachers!

Bòrd na Gàidhlig are running training sessions for Gaelic probationers this year!

There will be 4 sessions in this series, the first of which will will run on Wednesday, 06.12.23 from 4:15pm to 5:15pm on Microsoft Teams.

We are going to be focusing on Education Scotland and are very happy that Maeve MacKinnon will be joining us to talk about the resources available to teachers.

You are most welcome to join us to talk and listen and it will be a great opportunity for probationers to network with other new teachers accross Scotland.

If you would like to join us for the session, please book your place on Eventbrite. Dont miss out – there are only 25 spaces!

The dates for the three remaining sessions are still to be confirmed, but they will each have a diffrent focus and will be looking at;

  • Other Gaelic Resources
  • Immersion Pedagogy
  • An Introduction to Gaelic Organisations who Support Schools and Education

If you would like more information, you can contact Sian Baldwin, Development Officer (Teachers), at sian@gaidhlig.scot.

Education Newsletter, June 2023

Welcome to the first newsletter from the Education Team at Bòrd na Gàidhlig.  We want to keep you up to date with some of the activities we have been involved in and also let you know about upcoming events. If you would like to subscribe to receive these newsletters by email as they come out, you can subscribe by filling out the short form at the bottom of this page!

Visiting Schools

The Development Officer (Teachers) Angela MacLeod has been visiting secondary schools across the country to encourage young people to consider a career in Gaelic teaching. She would like to thank each school that welcomed her, especially the Gaelic teachers undertaking admirable work each day, and the enthusiastic pupils who took part.

If Angela has not yet had the opportunity to visit your school she hopes to do so at the beginning of the next school year. You are very welcome to get in touch if you think that a session of this nature would be useful for your school, college or university by emailing angela@gaidhlig.scot.

Careers Fairs and other Events

Angela has been attending Careers Fairs and DYW Events to encourage young people to consider a career in Gaelic teaching. She also took part in a leadership conference for S5 and S6 pupils at Sgoil Ghàidhlig Ghlaschu on Friday 2nd June.

If there is an event taking place at your school, college, university or in your community, please contact the Development Officer (Teachers) if there is an opportunity for her to attend by emailing angela@gaidhlig.scot.

Scottish Education Awards

The Scottish Education Awards took place in Glasgow on Wednesday 7th June and Bòrd na Gàidhlig were delighted to support the Gaelic Education Award again this year. Congratulations to the three schools who were on the shortlist – James Gillespie’s High School, Goodlyburn Primary School and Dunoon Grammar School – and especially to James Gillespie’s High School who were the winners of the Gaelic Education Award.

Young Scot Awards

Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s Director of Education Jennifer McHarrie attended the Young Scot Awards in Glasgow and was hugely encouraged to see Gaelic speakers on the shortlist! Congratulations to everybody who made the shortlists and who won an award on the night.

COSLA

Shona MacLennan, Ceannard of Bòrd na Gàidhlig and Jennifer McHarrie, Director of Education at Bòrd na Gàidhlig, met with representatives from COSLA on Monday 12th June to discuss collaboration on Gaelic education developments.

Gaelic Early Years Grants

The Early Years Grants for groups supporting parent and toddler sessions and early years development is open until Thursday 13th July.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig held two online information sessions about the scheme and to offer advice on completing applications forms, but if you have any further questions about the scheme please contact the funding team tabhartas@gaidhlig.scot

You can find more information about the scheme here.

Gaelic Education Grants

The Education Grants scheme is open until Thursday 5th September, with support available for students on a teaching/childcare course, Gaelic teachers looking to teach another subject or develop their skills, or teachers without Gaelic who want to learn the language to move to teach in GME.

Support is available for course fees and also living costs, and there is additional support for those who are care-experienced and those undertaking secondary teaching.

You can find more information about the scheme here.

0-3 Years Research

Wilson McLeod is conducting research into the 0-3 sector on behalf of Bòrd na Gàidhlig. Information has been sent out to early years groups but if you would like further information please get in touch by emailing foghlam@gaidhlig.scot.

Greenfaulds Academy

The Director of Education, Development Officers for Early Years and Teachers and BnG’s Communications Officer attended a Gaelic event at Greenfaulds Academy in May. S1-S3 pupils from secondary schools in Central Scotland came together to learn more about the benefits of a career in Gaelic. This was a very successful event and we look forward to supporting it in the future.

Training Sessions for New Teachers

Bòrd na Gàidhlig held four online training sessions for probationer teachers during the 2022/23 session with inputs from Education Scotland, Stòrlann, a range of Gaelic organisations (such as Fèisean nan Gàidheal, CnaG, and Astar Media on behalf of FilmG) and Sabhal Mòr Ostaig.

If you are a new teacher in 2023/24 and interested in the training sessions, contact angela@gaidhlig.scot.

Sabhal Mòr Ostaig Education Conference

The education team attended the Gaelic Education: Past, Present, Future conference at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, that received funding from Bòrd na Gàidhlig. Director of Education Jennifer McHarrie spoke on the subject of ‘Creating a new National strategy for Gaelic Education’.

cleachdi.scot

We hope that everybody who is about to go on summer break enjoys the holidays, especially the teachers, pupils and parents who are so very deserving of them! We would like to remind you that there are Gaelic events listed on the cleachdi website, both in local areas around the country and online. We hope that there will be opportunities for you to use your Gaelic over the holidays.

Why don’t you take a look at the website, and register an event that you know of?

Check out the Cleachdi website here!

Statement on Report on Scottish Government’s Consultation for the Scottish Languages Bill

Mairi MacInnes, Chair of Bòrd na Gàidhlig said: “We welcome this latest step by the Scottish Government in progressing the new Scottish Languages Bill.  There is much in the report that relates to developments that are in place and need strengthened and expanded.”

“It also shows that there is agreement with recommendations that Bòrd na Gàidhlig made in its response last year and that stronger legislation is required to make greater progress.” 

“The extensive conversations we had with a wide range of communities throughout 2021 and 2022 informed our views of what changes are needed to strengthen the position of Gaelic in Scotland.  These conversations also contributed to the development of the next National Gaelic Language plan which will be published shortly.”

“We also welcomed the recognition that Bòrd na Gàidhlig requires more resources in order to increase our impact currently. Any additional responsibilities which arise from new legislation will create changes to our functions and structures, again requiring a suitable resource to deliver what is expected.”

“There was strong alignment between some of Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s recommendations and those of the others who contributed to the consultation, such as:

–           A stronger statutory basis for Gaelic language plans enabling greater impact and increased accountability.

–           legislation to create the right to Gaelic-medium education (GME).

–           Stronger management and greater accountability for GME requiring Local Authorities to plan development and report on progress annually.

–           Increased support for the recruitment and particularly retention of GM educational staff for early-years, primary and secondary provision.

–           The importance of economic and social issues in retaining and attracting young people to the islands.

“Both this report and our own consultation show the interest there is in the future of Gaelic and how important it is in island, rural and the urban areas of Scotland.”

“There is a desire in both reports for Bòrd na Gàidhlig to be more open and transparent and to show our progress on the work we are currently delivering. This is something we have been developing over recent years with much more transparency and accountability across the organisation.”

“We look forward to continuing our work with our partners across the public sector and in communities to support greater growth for Gaelic.”

Gaelic Medium Education

Bòrd na Gàidhlig is aware of situations regarding Gaelic medium education and the need for more teachers to ensure that it can continue to grow.

In terms of education, Bòrd na Gàidhlig has a duty to publish the Statutory Guidance for Gaelic Education. Local authorities have the duty to provide education and responsibilities regarding teacher recruitment and retention.  The Scottish Funding Council, GTCS and universities have responsibilities in relation to teacher training.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig worked with officers at Highland, Argyll and Bute and Aberdeen City Councils to make recommendations on actions that would support the recruitment and retention of teachers and that report was submitted to the Councils last year.  This included recommendations on making teaching posts more attractive through offering permanent, full-time contracts, creating promotion structures and addressing issues such as access to affordable housing.

The second part of the report addressing national issues has been provided to The Highland Council, Scottish Government and others.  According to the most recent SG data, over one-third of those teachers qualified to teach in Gaelic medium are currently working in English medium. You can read the full report here.

In addition to providing advice, Bòrd na Gàidhlig works to encourage people to take up a career in teaching through the #DèanDiofar (MakeaDifference) campaigns promoting teaching and early-years careers, and through collaboration with many other organisations. BnG has a Development Officer (Teachers) who visits schools and universities to bring teaching to people’s attention as a career.

Bursaries are available from Bòrd na Gàidhlig to encourage people who are considering changing careers to train as teachers, for students undertaking Initial Teacher Education, for those who are registered teachers to become Gaelic-medium teachers through immersion courses and support also for probationary teachers.

New Director of Education at Bòrd na Gàidhlig

Bòrd na Gàidhlig is delighted to announce the appointment of Jennifer McHarrie as Director of Education who takes up her appointment on 05 December 2022. Jennifer 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 Jennifer will oversee the work of the Bòrd in the implementation of Statutory Guidance in the various agencies.

A resident of Carluke (South Lanarkshire) Jennifer has a wealth of experience in both the public and private sector relating to languages and education. She is a graduate of Glasgow University (French/Hispanic Studies) and learned Gaelic as an adult via a variety of different courses including evening classes in Glasgow and Lanarkshire, An Cùrsa Inntrigidh with Sabhal Mòr Ostaig and recently completed Glasgow University’s Bliadhna Bogaidh, awarded with distinction. Jennifer joins BnaG from SQA, where she has worked for over 10 years, most recently as Qualifications Co-ordinator for on a wide range of projects relating to Gaelic including delivering the Educational Commitments in SQA’s Gaelic Language Plan, plus co-ordinating and growing Gaelic-medium provision. She has worked closely with teachers, local authorities in the Secondary, FE, HE and CLD sectors and has insight into the complex educational landscape, and also Language Planning and Policy at a national level.  A true advocate for the benefits of bilingualism, she has also worked in Translation Project Management, International Export and been an English Language Assistant in Northern Spain.

Mairi  MacInnes, Chair of Bòrd na Gàidhlig, said, ‘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.”