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.

You can register here: www.bit.ly/GMEFife

 

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.

Rising popularity of Gaelic sees Bòrd na Gàidhlig funding scheme for Language Development Officers oversubscribed by 220 per cent

Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s 2021-22 annual report has revealed popularity for Gaelic continues to grow after a new scheme to fund Gaelic Development Officers was oversubscribed by 220 per cent – resulting in the allocation of £500,000 of funding to 21 organisations.

The new scheme is designed to extend the number of Gaelic officers in the island and rural communities and in towns and cities.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig funds a range of organisations who employ development officers, and additional funding from Scottish Government allowed delivery of a new funding scheme open to third-sector organisations who want to develop their Gaelic provision.

The scheme was so popular that it received 30 applications, worth in excess of £800k, compared to an original budget of £250k.

In light of this demand, Bòrd na Gàidhlig agreed to allocate additional resources, double the initial budget, to the fund. As a result, 21 organisations are able to employ Gaelic officers, including Comann nam Pàrant Port Righ and Culture and Heritage and Arts Assembly of Argyll and Isles’.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig has also helped fund the introduction of the new SpeakGaelic platform, designed to support further learning of the language.

SpeakGaelic, funded and developed in partnership between Bòrd na Gàidhlig, MG ALBA, BBC and Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, was launched in October 2021 as a multi-faceted learning brand, offering the most comprehensive approach to learning Gaelic in a generation. SpeakGaelic offers users the option of face-to-face classes, self-guided online learning, and media content through a variety of platforms – or all three at the same time.

SpeakGaelic is just one of a number projects supported or established by Bòrd na Gàidhlig over the past 12 months, with the return of the #Cleachdiaigantaigh designed with many delivery partners to support those in Gaelic education.

In addition to £4.1m of funding distributed over the past year to 136 organisations, Bòrd na Gàidhlig has also worked closely with 67 public authorities on Gaelic language plans which support Gaelic in the workplace and public life, including five public authorities developing their first plans.

These Gaelic plans are the building blocks which aim to give the language prominence across the country, increase opportunities for using Gaelic and contribute to its normalisation.

Through work with public authorities and Gaelic language planning, Bòrd na Gàidhlig has also increased Gaelic medium resources in the bodies that protect and enhance the environment, such as NatureScot and Forestry Land Scotland.

According to the annual report, the Bòrd received a total Grant-in-Aid allocation of just over £5.6 million – the financial allocation Bòrd na Gàidhlig is required to operate within by Scottish Ministers.

Of that total, £1.7 million covered core running costs, while £2.4 million went to general Gaelic development funds – including community funding for people, projects and groups – and £1.4 million towards the Gaelic Language Plans Implementation Fund.

Mairi MacInnes, Chair, said Bòrd na Gàidhlig is keen to build upon the growing interest and demand for the language’s development.

She said: “Developing and supporting Gaelic – whilst dealing with the fall-out from the pandemic, its impact on individuals and families, communities, and public bodies – has remained our core purpose.

“World Gaelic Week demonstrated effectively the phenomenal increase in interest in using and learning Gaelic during lockdown. The number of learners through SpeakGaelic demonstrate the potential of what can be achieved.

“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.

“The increased demand for Gaelic across the country presents both an opportunity and a challenge – the language can grow and begin to stabilise but this requires significant additional resourcing.”

Chief executive Shona MacLennan highlighted that continued support for Gaelic speakers is be central to Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s work.

She said: “Support for Gaelic speakers – whether they have acquired Gaelic in their family, in GME, or are adult learners – is the purpose of BnG’s work. We fund a range of organisations who employ development officers to progress the work required and additional funding from SG enabled us to deliver a new funding scheme open to third-sector organisations who want to develop and embed their Gaelic provision. It is vital that we continue and grow, to maximise our impact across all corners of the country.”

Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s audited annual report has also been issued, with all quality indicators fully met and no recommendations made.

Mairi MacInnes said: “We welcome the findings of the new audit report, which confirms the significant progress we have made and will continue to ensure good goverance across the organisation. We will continue to follow guidance and best practice to ensure that we constantly evolving and progressing the organisation to wider benefit the development of Gaelic.”

The Annual Report can be read 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.

Results from the Gaelic Usage Survey

Bòrd na Gàidhlig are delighted to publish the results from their Ceisteachan air Cleachdadh na Gàidhlig (Questionnaire on Gaelic Usage) 2022. This snap-survey was published at 8pm on Sunday 19th June and ran for 24 hours. In that time, we received 761 responses – an increase on the 473 received in 2021 when the same survey was run on the same date. We are very appreciative to every person who took the time to complete this important survey.

The same questions were put to the public this year to enable us to make comparisons on the answers each year.

Amongst the results, 69% of respondents said that they use Gaelic daily.

More than half (50.3%) reported to be using more Gaelic this year in comparison to last year.

People were asked to answer questions around their Gaelic usage in the past year across a range of situations in comparison to their usage last year.

The majority of people said that they use as much (48%) or more (45%) Gaelic online.

The majority of people said that they use as much (63%) or more (30%) Gaelic at home.

The majority of people said that they use as much (64%) or more (25%) Gaelic in school/university/college/at work.

The majority of people said that they use as much (60%) or more (29%) Gaelic in their communities.

Shona MacLennan, Ceannard, Bòrd na Gàidhlig said: “It brings us great joy to see the increase in Gaelic usage across these various sectors. Although this is a snapshot in comparison to the Gaelic community as a whole, it is very helpful for us to be able to make comparisons on the responses received each year and it also adds to our aims in the National Gaelic Language Plan to normalise Gaelic.”

The survey will be held again in June 2023.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig provide vital funding to public authorities for 36 Gaelic projects

Bòrd na Gàidhlig has awarded over £413,000 to 36 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 to benefit from funding for a range of projects, including an award of £20,000 to provide Gaelic classes to its apprentices. 

The Comhairle also received £12,000 to provide an immersion in a Gaelic work environment for students undertaking a summer placement within a local organisation, and a further £8,000 to host Gaelic reminiscence sessions in care homes. Other funding included £7,500 to host LUACH 2023 – a festival of Gaelic events across Lewis and Harris. 

Among the many other organisations receiving funding are the University of the Highlands and Islands Outer Hebrides, who have been awarded £33,000 to offer Gaelic classes across the Western Isles. The National Library of Scotland has been awarded funds to hire an officer to digitise Cinema Sgìre films, while the University of Aberdeen has been provided funding to hire a Gaelic officer. 

The City of Edinburgh Council’s work in developing the Gaelic language has been recognised with an award of £20,000 to extended Capital Gaelic – a project aimed at building the links between Gaelic organisations throughout the city. 

Glasgow Life will carry its Gaelic Arts Strategy into a fifth year, where the organisation will promote a programme of events and campaigns following a £15,000 award, as well as provide training and development opportunities for Gaelic tutors. Glasgow City Council has also been provided with £7,000 of funding to develop an interactive Gaelic map of the city, as well as an additional £3,200 to provide Gaelic tuition to council staff. 

Elsewhere, Leisure and Culture Dundee will benefit from over £1,350, which will go towards delivering Gaelic concerts and presentations in Gaelic for Dundee residents, while Dumfries and Galloway Council has been awarded £5,750 for a Gaelic heritage value study. 

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: “The latest round of GLAIF funding shows the reach that Bòrd na Gàidhlig has as we strive to give the Gaelic language the platform to develop, not just in the Highlands and Islands, but throughout Scotland. 

“The breadth of awards across the country show the commitment from many councils and organisations to grow the language and bring it to an altogether new audience as well as supporting existing Gaelic communities. This form of funding plays a major role in ensuring that the language’s rich history is preserved and will be of benefit to people of all ages.” 

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 07584 103 944. 

 

Partner Quotes 

Leisure and Culture Dundee 

A spokesperson for Leisure and Culture Dundee said: “Leisure and Culture Dundee are grateful to Bòrd na Gàidhlig for continuing to support the Gaelic Lunchtime Concerts in the Marryat Hall, enabling us to bring the best young Gaelic singers and musicians to perform and for Gaelic to thrive through the joy of music.”   

 

Comharile nan Eilean Siar 

A spokesperson for Comhairle nan Eilean Siar said: “Comhairle nan Eilean is delighted to be awarded £8k from Bòrd na Gàidhlig to deliver a project attached to Taigh Shiphoirt and Bremner Court, the new care campus being constructed in Stornoway.  ‘Sùil air Ais, Sùil air adhart’ aims to deliver monthly reminiscence events for residents and will enable the purchase of items linked to the islands to stimulate memories and conversations.  Maintaining the spoken language is important  and Sùil air Adhart will support a member of younger staff group to champion and promote Gàidhlig with residents/tenants and among staff.” 

 

University of the Highlands and Islands 

During 2021-22 over 80 students enrolled on Gaelic courses delivered by UHI Outer Hebrides, and we are delighted, with the support of Bòrd na Gàidhlig, to be able to continue providing opportunities for Gaelic language learning in communities across the Western Isles.  We are pleased to be able to offer classes in 2022-23 in areas such as Barra, Benbecula, Tarbert and Barvas in addition to courses at our Stornoway campus and also online.   

Sue Macfarlane, Interim Principal of UHI Outer Hebrides, said: “UHI Outer Hebrides is committed to increasing Gaelic learning and usage opportunities and continued support from Bòrd na Gàidhlig and partnership working with Community Learning Hebrides enables us to offer a wide range of courses.  We are particularly pleased to be able to offer Gaelic courses free of charge to parents and guardians of children in Gaelic Medium Education.  We continue to work closely with Bòrd na Gàidhlig and partners in assisting with the implementation of the aims and objections of the National Gaelic Language Plan.” 

 

Glasgow City Council 

A spokesperson for Glasgow City Council said: “Glasgow Life’s Gaelic Arts strategy and programme has enjoyed unwavering support, through GLAIF, for which we, our community, Gaelic artists and audiences are extremely grateful. In 2022/23 we continue to develop Gaelic content at Glasgow Life’s major festivals, Aye Write, Merchant City Festival, Celtic Connections and the Mela aswell as working with an extensive range of partners to deliver: the Literary competition – Litir gu Glaschu(Gaelic Books Council); community drama workshops and Royal National Mod performances (Tricky Hat Theatre Company); 12 weeks of group work for young musicians (Sgoil Ghàidhlig Ghlaschu); devising a new model for Glaschu.net (Glasgow University) with a refreshed steering group; support organisations like Ceòl ‘s Craic and Fèis Ghàidhlig Ghlaschu in a post pandemic context; introduce a new exciting audience development project Trodhadaibh and continue with our flagship community of practice project GUIR!” 

 

National Library of Scotland 

Alistair Bell, Head of Moving Image Archive, National Library of Scotland said: “At the Moving Image Archive of the National Library of Scotland, we are delighted to receive a grant from Bòrd na Gàidhlig. The project is a partnership with Museum & Tasglann nan Eilean part of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. Together, we will use the funding to digitise and catalogue a unique collection of video tapes containing spoken Gàidhlig, and share the content with the public, both at community events in the Outer Hebrides and through the Moving Image Archive. The videos were filmed by local people during the 1970s and 80s in a community project, Cinema Sgìre. Our thanks to Bòrd na Gàidhlig for making this project possible.” 

 

Dumfries and Galloway Council 

Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Chair of the Council’s Communities Committee, Archie Dryburgh, enthused that the Council were delighted to receive funding from the Gaelic Language Act Implementation Fund to support a Gaelic Heritage Value Study within the region. Vice Chair, John Campbell, commented: “This exciting opportunity was identified through our Third Sector partner Gàidhlig Dumgal and we look forward to working with them very closely over the coming period to take this project forward.” 

 

University of Aberdeen 

A spokesperson: “The University of Aberdeen is delighted to be awarded £24,000 from Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s GLAIF fund. We are thrilled to gain the support from Bòrd na Gàidhlig to recruit a passionate and dedicated Gaelic Language Officer. We look forward to propelling our ambitious Gaelic Language Plan actions further and delivering even more exciting Gaelic language initiatives for the University of Aberdeen community.” 

 

Edinburgh City Council 

A spokesperson for The City of Edinburgh Council said: “We’re grateful for the continued support from Bòrd na Gàidhlig and delighted to be awarded £20,000 to further develop Capital Gaelic. This project aims to develop a co-ordinated and creative partnership approach to embedding Gaelic as a vibrant part of life in Edinburgh. This is being achieved by piloting interagency working with the Council and The National Library of Scotland convening a multi-agency group to identify opportunities, share knowledge and expertise and shape a vision for the future of Gaelic in the city.” 

 

Progress over the past six months has included: The development of a Capital Gaelic Facebook page; the setting up a Community Gaelic Interest Group involving staff from all network organisations involved (The City of Edinburgh Council, The National Library of Scotland, The National Galleries of Scotland, Comunn na Gàidhlig, SkillsDevelopment Scotland, National Museums Scotland); stronger links with schools using pupil views of what they would like Capital Gaelic to achieve: Ar Guth (Pupils Voice Group, Àrd Sgoil Sheumais Ghilleasbuig) and the development of Foundational Apprentice in collaboration with Skills Development Scotland.  

Funding Recipients 

University of the Highlands and Islands – Outer Hebrides 

University of the Highland and Islands 

The Highland Council 

City of Edinburgh Council 

University of Aberdeen 

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar 

Glasgow Life 

University of Glasgow 

West Dunbartonshire Council 

North Lanarkshire Council 

Newbattle Abbey College 

Glasgow City Council 

NadarAlba 

Dumfries and Galloway Council 

Angus Council 

Sabhal Mor Ostaig 

Moray Council 

COSLA 

Leisure and Culture Dundee 

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.