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
e-Sgoil
Urras Leabhraichean na h-Alba/ Scottish Book Trust
Comann nam Pàrant Nàiseanta
Giglets

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.”

Community pilot is well underway

Bòrd na Gàidhlig (BnG) and Community Land Scotland are delighted to announce that a new officer has been appointed to begin work on increasing community engagement for strengthening Gaelic in the Western Isles and the islands of Highland and Argyll & Bute Council areas.

 

This follows on from the announcement made in March 2021 that there would be a new partnership to provide funding and community-based decision making for Gaelic development by community landowners, heritage and other trusts.

The successful candidate, Chrissie Gillies from Raasay, will work with Community Land Scotland to both strengthen Gaelic in their own work and membership, and support applicants to develop and deliver Gaelic development projects.

Chrissie Gillies, New Officer

Commenting on the appointment Agnes Rennie of Community Land Scotland said “Chrissie’s appointment and the launch of the pilot will be a significant step in enabling and supporting properly constituted groups, based within the selected areas, to take forward new projects strengthening the place of Gaelic language and culture in the community.”

New officer Chrissie Gillies added, “This is an exciting opportunity to work with communities to develop strong community led projects. I am certain we will have some excellent applications in the coming months.”

Shona MacLennan, Ceannard of Bòrd na Gàidhlig said, “This new approach builds on the strength of the wide range of community trusts already established in the islands who deliver a wide range of economic and social benefits.  It will lead to increased opportunities to use and learn Gaelic in many aspects of island life and is shaped around the recognition in the National Gaelic Language Plan that island communities require different strategies which respond to their specific needs and aspirations.”

Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said, “This is a very welcome initiative which builds on, and adds to, the wide range of projects already in place to support Gaelic in Highland and Island areas.

“I commend Bòrd na Gàidhlig and Community Land Scotland for bringing this forward and congratulate Chrissie Gillies on her appointment, I wish her every success with this valuable work.”

The next stage of the project will see a funding scheme launched in the coming months.  Key dates for the scheme will be published on the Community Land Scotland website soon.

This will provide funding at three levels – up to £5,000, up to £15,000 and up to £30,000, with total funding of £125,000 altogether.  The scheme will be open to community trusts, not just land-based, in the Western Isles and the islands of Highland and Argyll & Bute Council areas.   Each trust will be required to create a simple plan which shows how their work will increase the use, learning and promotion of Gaelic in their areas.

Decisions on funding will be made by a panel of representatives drawn from different areas and sectors.  In this way, the scheme will ensure community-based decision-making.

For more information on the funding scheme, please keep an eye on: https://www.communitylandscotland.org.uk/.

New opportunity for contractor 

We are seeking an experienced contractor to research, develop and deliver a new online resource for speakers of Gaelic.

We are seeking an experienced contractor to research, develop and deliver a new online resource for speakers of Gaelic intermediate to fluent) in line with the ongoing development of the #cleachdi initiative.

This resource, entitled ‘#cleachdi Còmhla’, will support Gaelic speakers to use the language in social contexts more regularly, whether online or in person. The contractor (and any sub-contractors) will create and host a new ‘cleachdi.scot’ website on behalf of Bòrd na Gàidhlig.

Visit Public Contracts Scotland website for more information about this contract.

Board Meeting – 16 June 2021

Good news for the main Gaelic organisations funded by Bòrd na Gàidhlig and impressive progress on developing the organisation.

At Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s (BnG) quarterly board meeting yesterday, the board agreed the following:

Extension of 3-year funding agreements

In line with many other public bodies, the Board agreed to extend the current 3-year funding agreements with delivery partners to a fourth year.  A number of factors are behind this extension including COVID recovery, the development of the next National Gaelic Language Plan, and to allow for an evaluation of the community engagement models .

Bringing the Improvement Plan to conclusion

Following extensive consultation with staff, Scottish Government and the external auditors, and linked to the very positive view expressed by Deloitte in January 2021 that BnG had made significant improvements, the Board heard that there were only 7 actions outstanding on this year’s plan.  Of these, only one was from the original Deloitte report with an original timescale of 3 years.

They viewed the progress made in implementing change as very satisfactory and agreed that the current system could be brought to an end.

The Board also noted a range of reports including:

Annual Report on Implementation of Gaelic Language Plans

The second Annual Monitoring Report on Gaelic Language Plans provided a comprehensive picture of progress made by each authority on their GLP.  This monitoring report is an invaluable part of delivering BnG’ functions.

Additional Funding received by Delivery Partners

This report demonstrated that in addition to the £1.6m funding provided to the main delivery partners in 20/21, there was additional funding of £569k provided for other initiatives and projects which they partners undertook during the last three years.

In concluding, the Board paid tribute to the work of the staff during the year and stated that they were proud of the team’s work and were very encouraged by it.

You will find the meeting’s agenda and papers here.

Consultation on the future of Gaelic development

Bòrd na Gàidhlig launches consultation on the future of Gaelic development

Bòrd na Gàidhlig is inviting communities to join them in building the next National Gaelic Language Plan as it launches a series of public meetings.

The public body will hold five National Plan sessions throughout June, with the primary aim of gathering further feedback as to how the next National Plan can most effectively support Gaelic development throughout Scotland.

This consultation builds on the questionnaire Bòrd na Gàidhlig (BnG) distributed in December 2020 about initial thoughts on the next National Plan, and presents the findings of a range of conversations with communities over the last year.  The next National Plan is due for publication in 2023.

In line with the objectives in the current National Gaelic Language Plan, BnG is looking to ensure that the impact of support for opportunities to use, learn and promote the language is maximised.

Each meeting is focused on a different community to enable more focused discussion. All meetings will follow the same format.

The separate sessions will be held for Gaelic speakers living in the islands and rural areas, for those living in towns and cities, those who engage with the language online, and for young people. There will also be one session held in English.  In addition, there will be the option to submit opinions via email as part of the process.

Each meeting will be introduced by BnG’s Cathraiche, Mary MacInnes, before a presentation from Director of Language Planning and Community Developments, Daibhidh Boag.

The presentation will focus on the key points from a range of consultations and discussions held over the past year, including: Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s questionnaire on the National Plan, Young People Survey, and its Strategic Funding Consultation, as well and community conversations on Gaelic usage in the islands, facilitated by Allasdair Allan and other MSPs, plus a series of conversations led by Deputy First Minister, John Swinney MSP.

Mary MacInnes, Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s Cathriache, said: “Safeguarding the future of Gaelic is vital to sustaining a massive part of Scotland’s heritage and increasing its presence in Scotland. Bòrd na Gàidhlig works constantly to place the language at the top of the agenda to ensure that it is provided with a strong and sustainable platform to survive and thrive in the 21st century.

“It is essential that more people recognise the importance of the language within communities the length and breadth of the country. These sessions are designed to give members of the public the opportunity to provide feedback and ideas, so that their views can be incorporated into shaping the next National Gaelic Language plan.”

The meetings will take place on: June 7 – island and rural communities; June 9 – young people (4.30-6pm); June 10 – those living in towns and cities; June 14 – online community;  June 17 – English language session. All meetings take place between 7-8pm, unless otherwise specified.

Each session is limited to 35 attendees.  More sessions will be provided if demand is sufficient. The presentation will also be available on the Bòrd na Gàidhlig website, while those unable to attend can submit their views to: fios@gaidhlig.scot.

To sign up for the event, visit: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/plana-naiseanta-gaidhlig-coinneamhan-poblach-registration-156515306495.

Stakeholder Survey 2020-21

This survey has been designed to get feedback from individuals and organisations we work with. We want to find out what you think we do well and how we could improve our service to you.

We will use the results to identify areas for improvement and act to further develop our work for Gaelic and better meet your needs.

Your responses will be completely anonymous and survey results will be reported in general terms but will not identify individuals or organisations.

There are only 10 questions to answer in this survey and should take you approximately 15 minutes to complete.

Please respond by 5pm on Tuesday 25 May 2021.

Your feedback is very much appreciated.

Fill in our Stakeholder Survey 20-21

New partnership between Bòrd na Gàidhlig and Community Land Scotland

A new partnership between Bòrd na Gàidhlig and Community Land Scotland announces funding for Gaelic development by island community landowners, heritage and other trusts

With some 75% of the people living on community owned land in the Western Isles, and strong links between land, community and Gaelic language and culture, the National Plan for Gaelic contains a commitment to establish a fund, in conjunction with Community Land Scotland (CLS), which supports strengthening the use of Gaelic.  This fund contributes to three Scottish Government strategies – increasing the use of Gaelic, community land ownership and community empowerment.

This pilot, agreed by Bòrd na Gàidhlig, will provide funding at three levels – up to £5,000, up to £15,000 and up to £30,000, with total funding of £125,000 altogether.  The scheme will be open to community trusts, not just land-based, in the Western Isles and the islands of Highland and Argyll & Bute Council areas.   Each trust will be required to create a simple plan which shows how their work will increase the use, learning and promotion of Gaelic in their areas.

Decisions on funding will be made by a panel of representatives drawn from different areas and sectors.  In this way, the scheme will ensure community-based decision-making.

The first stage in the pilot will be the recruitment of an officer who will work with CLS to both strengthen Gaelic in CLS’s own work and its membership and to support applicants to develop and deliver Gaelic development projects.

Mary MacInnes, Chair of Bòrd na Gàidhlig, said:

“This scheme demonstrates Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s long-standing commitment to the Gaelic communities of the islands and the strengths that are well-demonstrated by community groups.

We are pleased to be working in partnership with such a well-regarded organisation as Community Land Scotland and the community trusts which are so important in linking land, language and culture.”

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:

“Gaelic language and culture is embedded in many of our rural areas and it is essential that we find new ways to protect and support those living in these communities.

“I welcome this new initiative by Bord na Gàidhlig and Community Land Scotland which I am sure will benefit those living and working in our Gaelic communities.”

Ailsa Raeburn, Chair, Community Land Scotland said:

“At Community Land Scotland, we welcome working in partnership with others to strengthen the community sector across Scotland. This exciting new partnership with Bord na Gàidhlig will help community landowners and heritage trusts across the islands, strengthen and celebrate their Gaelic culture and language and we are really looking forward to seeing a good range of innovative ideas coming forwards.”

Gaelic Community Officers Network

Gaelic Community Officers Network

Bòrd na Gàidhlig is pleased that the delivery of a professional support network for Gaelic community officers is about to start.  It will be delivered by a partnership of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, University of Aberdeen and Comunn na Gàidhlig.

There is a growing number of third sector organisations which employ Gaelic officers working with various communities in Scotland. Many of these roles are funded by Bòrd na Gàidhlig along with other public bodies, and many of the officers are the sole Gaelic officer within a wider organisation.

The officers work in a range of sectors – youth work, business, environment, arts – and most are employed in Western Isles and Highland, with some based in Argyll & Bute, Glasgow and Edinburgh. There are some 40 f/t or p/t roles.

The network will provide professional development and learning, opportunities for knowledge exchange as well as increasing collaboration and providing peer support.  Following the first year, the work will be evaluated to determine future developments which may include the creation of a vocational programme for Gaelic officers.

Shona MacLennan, Ceannard, Bòrd na Gàidhlig, said “We recognise the importance of officers working with a range of communities on increasing the use of Gaelic.  We wanted to provide additional support for them, many of whom are young people, particularly to increase collaboration, peer support and opportunities for professional development and learning.”

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “The Scottish Government is committed to supporting the Gaelic communities in which the Gaelic Development Officers work. It is important these individuals are given the support and training they need to enable them to meet the expectations of our communities and I hope that this project delivers on our aims.

“I am also pleased to say that the Scottish Government has also provided Bord na Gàidhlig with an additional £150k of funding which will allow more Gaelic Development officers to be recruited to help support our vernacular Gaelic communities.  This will strengthen the support already available in these areas.”

“These officers are extremely important to Gaelic development efforts in the community, whatever specific sector they work in,” said Dòmhnall MacNèill, Ceannard, Comunn na Gàidhlig. “We recognise that their work is challenging and we want to provide them with an opportunity for practical support in their day to day work – whether that comes from simply speaking to another officer in the new network, or from the training and development opportunities we will establish.”

Michelle Macleod, Professor of Gaelic at the University of Aberdeen, added, “I am delighted to be participating in this really exciting initiative. My previous research with community language animateurs highlighted the importance of these individuals in having real impact in Gaelic communities. My research also showed that employees in such a crucial role need supported, as working in a community situation, while hugely rewarding and enjoyable, can sometimes be isolating.  This new network will give individuals the opportunity to come together to support each other and to develop their professional skills in a way that is beneficial for the communities they serve.”

Gillian Munro, Principal of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig said, “We are delighted to work together with our colleagues, at the University of Aberdeen and at Comann na Gàidhlig, to help establish this exciting, new support and training network for Gaelic development officers in Scotland. It is important to stress that this network is being set up solely for the purpose of supporting Gaelic development officers in their work, to provide training opportunities and as a forum where officers can meet and share experiences, and that it is not our intention, or the Bòrd’s intention, to direct the work of the officers in any way. The final goal, at the end of the first-year pilot period, is that we will step back, and the officers will take over administering the network for themselves as their own independent professional association.”

She encouraged anyone working in such a role who has not been contacted yet to get in touch with the lead contact on the project, Tim Armstrong at ta.smo@uhi.ac.uk.

£90k awarded to community projects across Scotland

Bòrd na Gàidhlig (BnG) are pleased to announce that they are awarding £89,520 to community based projects in Scotland through their Taic Freumhan Coimhearsnachd (TFC) funding scheme.

The TFC funding scheme was established to help community groups to undertake projects in support of the National Gaelic Language Plan.

35 projects are to be funded by the TFC scheme for the year 2021-22.

The successful projects include Gaelic language classes, Mòd and Comann nam Pàrant groups and projects which aim to support the Gaelic language. The projects are being run across the country, covering areas such as Inverclyde, Aberdeen, Stirling and the Highlands and Islands. Organisations such as Fèis Taigh Dhonnchaidh, the Staffin Trust and Rural Nations Scotland are planning to run projects with support from the funding scheme.

David Boag, Director of Language Planning and Community Development said:
“The Taic Freumhan Coimhearsnachd scheme contributes significantly to the National Gaelic Language Plan’s aim of increasing the use of Gaelic, by more people, in more situations. We are very pleased to be supporting a wide range of projects and areas which will be increasing the use and learning of Gaelic in communities across the country.

“We understand that Covid-19 has had an impact on the work that groups do in their own communities and much of that work is done online just now. We believe that this way of working will have to continue for now, however we look forward to the return of face-to-face events and projects in the coming year.

“We would like to send our sincere thanks to everyone who is working hard in their communities to increase the use of Gàidhlig in what is a challenging time and we hope that this funding will be very helpful in areas across Scotland.”

The scheme was open for 9 weeks between 10 November 2020 and 15 January 2021.

A full list of successful projects can be found here.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig seeks new Director of Gaelic Education

Bòrd na Gàidhlig, the public body responsible for promoting Gaelic language and culture, is seeking to appoint a new Director of Gaelic Education. This role will be important for Scotland in early years and school education and adult learning.

The post holder will be responsible for developing strategic direction for the BnG’s education policy, advising Bòrd na Gàidhlig itself, Scottish Government and other education and learning providers such as local authorities on the BnG’s aims for developing Gaelic education and learning.

Mairi T MacInnes, Chair at Bòrd na Gàidhlig said: “The successful candidate will have the opportunity to make a significant contribution to the Gaelic education at all levels – from early years’ provision to adult learning via statutory education and digital technology.

“We work closely with the Scottish Government, Education Scotland and other public bodies, universities and colleges and community groups and the Director of Gaelic Education is at the heart of ensuring this partnership working is successful. The post will be both rewarding and stimulating for the successful candidate who will possess the knowledge, skills and abilities to take forward Gaelic education policy.”

Applications should be submitted to corporra@gaidhlig.scot by 5pm on Monday 22nd March 2021 and interviews will be held online on Wednesday 7th April 2021. The salary is at C2 scale, which starts at £64,057.

You’ll find the job description and application form here.

If you would like more information about the post and to discuss it informally, please contact the Ceannard, Shona MacLennan at corporra@gaidhlig.scot.