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

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

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.


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

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

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

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’.

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.”

Information Session – GME in Fife

Bòrd na Gàidhlig warmly invites parents and carers 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 Fife.

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

Fife Council promotes 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 will take place on Teams, Thursday 08th December at 18.30.

Update: Registration for this meeting has closed.

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.

Gaelic Medium Education in Renfrewshire

Bòrd na Gàidhlig (BnG) welcome the news that Gaelic Medium Education (GME) will be offered to primary aged pupils in Renfrewshire from August 2022.

Gaelic Medium Education will be based within West Primary School in Renfrewshire where, initially, pupils in classes 1-3 will be offered GME.  There will be one composite class for primary 1-3 from the beginning of the new school year in August.  As demand grows, so too will the schools classes and resources.

West Primary School was selected as the base for the unit due to its central location in the Local Authority Area, thus allowing access to all pupils in the area who are keen to pursue GME.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig in partnership with the Local Authority, and Comann nam Pàrant Nàiseanta has delivered a promotion of Gaelic Medium Education initiative across the Renfrew area with online information events, local radio station interviews and advertising and information through social media. We are extremely pleased that the promotion initiative has led to the setting up of this new Gaelic Medium service.

Mairi MacInnes, Chair of Bòrd na Gàidhlig said:

“It is hugely encouraging for us to see that Renfrewshire have come to this decision.  As one of our aims in the National Gaelic Language Plan to increase the opportunities for Gaelic Medium Education for pupils throughout the county, we welcome yet another Local Authority to the increasing list of those delivering GME provision. ”

Shirley-Anne Somervillle, Cabinet Secretary for Education said:

“The Scottish Government is committed to improving access to Gaelic Medium Education and I recognise the work that Renfrewshire Council has undertaken in delivering this new provision for their young people.

“I wish the young people who will be starting their Gaelic language journey all the best.”


Gaelic Medium Education in Nova Scotia

Bòrd na Gàidhlig is delighted to welcome the opening of the new Gaelic-medium Primary School in Mabou, Nova Scotia. This is the first Gaelic-medium school in North America and the first outside of Scotland.

The Gaelic-medium Primary school, called Taigh Sgoile na Drochaide, has been developed as a non-profit making community project with support from across the community and has recently appointed a full-time teacher. The school will deliver an immersion programme for primary children with a focus on developing Gaelic-language skills.

The new Gaelic-medium Primary school will further renew the already vibrant Gaelic cultural environment that flourishes in Nova Scotia and in the Cape Breton area in particular.

Kenneth MacKenzie, Board Chair, Taigh Sgoile na Drochaide said: “This is a major milestone for Gaelic cultural revitalization in Nova Scotia and the support from our friends in Scotland has been critical in making it come to fruition. We look forward to deepening those ties in the years to come.”

Bòrd na Gàidhlig has been working with partners to coordinate a support package for the school. We would like to thank the following organisations that are currently actively planning support for the new school:

Stòrlann Nàiseanta
Foghlam Alba / Education Scotland
Fèisean nan Gàidheal
Urras Leabhraichean na h-Alba/ Scottish Book Trust
Comann nam Pàrant Nàiseanta

We look forward to building ever-stronger links with the team in Nova Scotia both at an organisational level but also through linking children and families whose lives are being enriched by the Gaelic language and its culture in both countries. Gaelic is now rightly taking its place more prominently on the international stage and being viewed as a valuable asset to both Scotland and Nova Scotia.

Shona MacLennan, Ceannard, Bòrd na Gàidhlig, said: “We are delighted to see this development in Nova Scotia and wish Sgoil na Drochaide every success. International links are important to the Gaelic community, particularly those between Scotland and Canada which have existed for centuries. The main aim of the National Gaelic Language Plan is that more people use Gaelic more often and in a wider range of situations, and the new school certainly does that.”

The Scottish Government very much welcomes the opening this week of Sgoil na Drochaide and looks forward to continuing to strengthen linguistic and cultural links between Scotland and Nova Scotia.

Cabinet Secretary for Scotland’s Languages Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “We know there are many strong cultural and family links between Scotland and Nova Scotia and the opening of this first Gaelic school will help strengthen and solidify these ties.

“I thank Bòrd na Gàidhlig and all Gaelic bodies involved for the support they have provided and look forward to hearing about the progress and growth of this school in the near future.”

Early Years Education Development

A new pilot scheme, to help develop early years education, has been created by Comann nam Pàrant (CnamP) and Comunn na Gàidhlig (CnaG), in partnership with Bòrd na Gàidhlig.

Three new positions will be created at Comann nam Pàrant, with funding from Bòrd na Gàidhlig, to assist early years groups – 1 Manager and 2 Development Officers.

This pilot scheme will last a year to begin with, with plans to extend the project if it proves to be an effective way to promote Gaelic in early years education.

The officers will assist and work with local authorities and independent groups in different areas.

Comann nam Pàrant, who are a part of CnaG, will be leading this project as they have extensive knowledge in this field. They have been supporting parents with early years education in GME for many years. Alongside BnG they have also been closely involved in another initiative to secure and distribute funds to early years groups.

Comann nam Pàrant and Comunn na Gàidhlig hope to build on the services already provided by:

  • Establishing an early years assistance team to encourage new parents into Gaelic Medium Education (GME)
  • Creating a stronger relationship between Gaelic and the home; where children return home from an early years session and still hear and use Gaelic – to some level
  • Developing Gaelic language skills at a young age
  • Strengthening established and newly formed groups
  • Creating more learning opportunities for children
  • Developing early years work and groups
  • Assisting in the growth of GME
  • Expanding the number and skills of Gaelic speakers

During the lockdown, families were able to attend Parent and Toddler sessions online.

After discussions with parents during that period, CnamP and BnG officers discovered that even though parents and groups welcomed the new online opportunities, like the Gìog Ort project in partnership with Stòrlann, most wanted the opportunity to meet face to face. Parents have noticed that the lockdown has affected their children’s fluency and early years groups have said that not being able to meet with families to speak Gaelic in a fun setting was one of their biggest challenges – given that as this is one of the best ways to develop language skills.

Magaidh Wentworth, National Director of CnamP, said: “The years 0-3 are very important in terms of GME growth, but also in terms of Gaelic being used in homes and communities. This project will encourage new parents to enrol their children in GME, while also helping those children with their Gaelic language skills as early as possible. It is extremely important that they get the best start so that they can develop strong Gaelic language skills.”

“It is also important to create a strong relationship between Gaelic and the home. It is important that Gaelic is used at home after children return from an early years session. This project will help with that too.”

Donald MacNeill, Chief Executive of CnaG, said: “The sooner young children hear and engage with Gaelic, the deeper their linguistic roots will be, and the stronger their affinity with the language. We are delighted that Bòrd na Gàidhlig approved our application, and we are excited to be creating a new development team for early years education.”

Jim Whannel, Education Director at Bòrd na Gàidhlig, said: “With everything opening up again, Bòrd na Gàidhlig wants to make sure that effective and impactful help is offered to early years groups and parents. It is because of this reason that we decided that this project with Comann nam Pàrant is the best option to develop early years work after the pandemic.

“The Early Years team at Bòrd na Gàidhlig have been working diligently since the team was created more than 10 years ago and the new pilot project, being provided by Comann nam Pàrant and Comunn na Gàidhlig, will build on the successes the team has delivered. In addition there will be a Development Officer at Bòrd na Gàidhlig, within the Education Team, with a remit for national strategic work in the Early Years GME sector.”

Bòrd na Gàidhlig will still be running the Early Years Education Grants 21/22 and those groups will still receive information and help from Bòrd na Gàidhlig through this.

The Early Years Education Grants are now open and this scheme will offer help, information and funding to independent early years groups who want to run sessions from August 2021 to June 2022. This scheme will be assessed as usual by Bòrd na Gàidhlig and Comann nam Pàrant.

The Early Years Education Grants 2021/22 are open until 3pm on Tuesday 13th July 2021 and you will find more information here:

Award Winning Reading Resource for GME Schools goes from Strength to Strength

Bòrd na Gàidhlig and Giglets Education are delighted to announce the continuation and expansion of the award-winning Giglets Gàidhlig reading resource project.

The partnership provides free access to schools with Gaelic Medium Education (GME) to the literacy resource, where pupils and teachers can access a continuously growing online library in Gaelic. Moreover, all Higher Education Institutions with Gaelic Initial Teacher Education (ITE) have free access to the teaching resource as well. The growing resource already contains over 110 Gaelic texts with many hundreds of accompanying Gaelic resources. Texts are enhanced with audio, theme music, animations and illustration to engage and support readers.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig has approved funding until 2024 for this unique digital Gaelic education project. Giglets Gàidhlig is an innovative and ground-breaking Gaelic literacy project providing Gaelic texts together with supporting teacher and pupil resources, voice-overs, music, animations and illustrations in a modern, digital and cloud-based way. Hundreds of teachers and thousands of pupils at GME primary and secondary schools are using the resource.

This new project phase from 2021-2024 builds on the successes of the previous years (2017-2021), including technical enhancements such as the pupil interface being made available in Gaelic. New significant developments will focus on additional teacher and pupil support, text and resource development, and writing resources to support those teaching and learning in the GME sector.

Giglets Gàidhlig at Condorrat Primary School 2019
Pic Peter Devlin

Jim Whannel, Director of Education at Bòrd na Gàidhlig, said:

“The Giglets Gàidhlig resource base provides a wealth of materials that children and young people can use to continue to develop their literacy skills in Gaelic. It is easy to use, comprehensive and designed specifically to meet our immersion needs in Gaelic Medium Education. I would highly recommend this resource base to all our eager Gaelic Medium learners and their families – it’s fun too, with great texts and animations and useful backup material to support learning across Early Years, Primary and Secondary GME.

“I’d also like to commend the Giglets team for all their excellent work in continually expanding the resource base and their current focus on supplying our Gaelic-medium learners with high-quality materials.”

Dr Karsten Karcher, Chairman and Founder of Giglets, said:

“Since the start of the project, over 32,000 Gaelic texts have been assigned by GME teachers to pupils within the resource. The Giglets Gàidhlig resource has arguably become an essential resource to schools not only in classrooms but also for home and blended learning, not least during Covid-19 school lockdowns, when most other school resources are not available to pupils.”

A list of Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s 20-21 General Grants can be found here.

Giglets Education –