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.

Opening Statement to the Education, Children, and Young People Committee

Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s Senior Management Team gave evidence to the Education, Children, and Young People Committee this morning as they discussed the Scottish Languages Bill. Ealasaid MacDonald, Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s Ceannard (CEO), gave the opening statement and said:

“This is an important time for Gaelic, and decisions we take today will have a real impact on the future of our language. And by our language, I mean Scotland’s language. Bòrd na Gàidhlig welcome this Bill, a step forward in the legislative journey of Gaelic, and would strongly resist any suggestion that it should not proceed.

“For those of us attending the reception of 50 years of Sabhal Mor Ostaig on Thursday evening, the mood of celebration was aided by the news that the new Cabinet will include a Gaelic speaker who will have responsibility for the language. Literally someone who speaks and understands  our language. We wish Ms Forbes well in her role and look forward to working with her.

“This will hopefully change the approach to Gaelic within the Government and see Gaelic considered across portfolios, where it can be a part of the solution, and allow a joined up policy approach. This would go a long way to strengthening the language.

“And, this Bill is part of the work in strengthening the language at a policy level. Key elements of the Bill, including the changes to the functions of Bòrd na Gàidhlig and standards for plans, will move us forward to ensuring the systems we have in place serve the language. And it is crucial that the education elements of the Bill, are enacted. Clarity is required on the central aspect, areas of linguistic significance, and the work of the commitee will be crucial in ascertaining this.

“However, this legislation will not solve the issues that we face at the community development level, which require a new and transparent investment model to deliver on the targets in the  new National Gaelic Language Plan.

“I must reference our submission to the Financial Memorandum of the Bill, where we underline the importance of a financial model being a core element of the success of this legislation. As we state in our submission, “In order to achieve its potential impact it must be supported across Government with fair and equitable funding and commensurate with the statutory responsibilities of Bòrd na Gàidhlig.”

“Gaelic is more than a language. For many, myself included, it is a way of life, at the core of my being linked to my culture, heritage and aspirations for my family and my community. For Scotland, it is a key element of the society in which we live, our historical past and a key driver in our future.  It is a social, economic and cultural asset. One that cannot be replaced . This legislation is a step forward.  it won’t provide all the solutions we need, and a priority must be to address the inadequate funding model, but it will be a key tenet on moving the provisions for Gaelic forward.”

The meeting was recorded and can be viewed on the Scottish Parliament’s website.

Stewart MacLeod Reappointed to BnG Board

Bòrd na Gàidhlig welcomes the news that the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, Ms Gilruth, today announced the reappointment of Stewart MacLeod as a Member of Bòrd na Gàidhlig.

Stewart MacLeod is a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), and brings finance and accounting knowledge and experience to the role of Chair of the Audit and Assurance Committee. He has been involved in Gaelic-related activities and organisations over many years, and is interested in the promotion and maintenance of the language amongst learners and the traditional communities.

This reappointment will be for four years and will run from 16 March 2024 to 15 March 2028.

More information about Stewarts reappointment is available the the Scottish Government’s website.

Gaelic Plans Fund Opens to Applications

The Gaelic Plans Fund, which is available to public authorities to support them in the delivery of commitments in their statutory Gaelic Language Plans, and in support of the new National Gaelic Language Plan, has opened to applications.  

Public authorities have also recieved funding through the gaelic Plans Fund to support Gaelic projects before they have been officially asked to produce a Gaelic Language Plan.

This year’s scheme is running with two streams – a Strategic Stream for key local authorities and a Projects Stream available to all other public/local authorities with Gaelic Language Plans.

Applications will be accepted for projects up to £25,000 (or up to 80% of project costs).

The scheme is open until 3pm on Thursday 18 April 2024 and more information about the scheme is availabe 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.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig and the Scottish Government Publish 5-year National Gaelic Language Plan

The new National Gaelic Language Plan 2023-28 (“the Plan”) has been published by Bòrd na Gàidhlig today (21.12.23), lighting the way for a future in which there is a measurable increase in the numbers of people speaking, learning, using and supporting Gaelic. 

The Plan sets out where action is needed to strengthen the Gaelic language in Scotland. It underpins the Scottish Government’s ambition to see recognition for the language increase and for Gaelic’s place in Scotland to grow and develop. 

The Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005 (“the Act”) asks Bòrd na Gàidhlig to prepare and submit a National Gaelic Language Plan with proposals relating to the use and promotion of Gaelic with a focus on the needs and priorities of the Gaelic language for its speakers, learners, and supporters. 

While the Act requires Bòrd na Gàidhlig to prepare the Plan, the responsibility for making progress with the aims and targets within it sits with a number of authorities, organisations, and communities, meaning the publication of this plan is a key moment for Gaelic organisations and development officers and their work over the next 5 years. 

 

Welcoming the Plan, Jenny Gilruth, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, said: 

“The Scottish Government welcomes the launch of the National Gaelic Language Plan.  This Plan provides the priorities and targets needed to make further progress with Gaelic in Scotland.    

“We recognise that a number of local authorities and public bodies can and do make an important contribution to support for Gaelic and the priorities in this Plan will help to bring focus to these shared commitments.  This Plan also comes at an important time following the Scottish Languages Bill’s introduction to the Scottish Parliament.   

“I am confident that this Plan will contribute to the continued promotion of Gaelic in Scotland as it provides an excellent opportunity for cooperation and working together to support Gaelic.” 

 

There are both significant challenges and opportunities facing the Gaelic language at the moment. The Plan contains several Key Aims as well as Priority Areas and more specific Targets, aimed at meeting these challenges and opportunities head on, promoting increased use and learning of Gaelic in communities, homes, creative industries, businesses, public authorities and education.  

 

Mairi MacInnes, Chair of Bòrd na Gàidhlig, said: 

“The five-year plan is the result of a comprehensive consultation process with individuals, communities, Gaelic organisations, voluntary organisations, and public authorities. It is the fourth such plan to be produced by Bòrd na Gàidhlig, the public body with responsibility for the promotion and development of the Gaelic language in Scotland, and it sets out how Gaelic officers and Gaelic organisations should aim to meet the challenges and opportunities facing the language today.”

 

Read the National Gaelic Language Plan, in full, here.

Funding for projects that will bring Scottish and Irish Gaelic communities together!

Bòrd na Gàidhlig are happy to announce that the Colmcille Grants scheme has opened to application for projects beginning between 1 April and 31 December 2024.

Colmcille is a partnership between Foras na Gaeilge in Ireland and Bòrd na Gàidhlig in Scotland. The funding scheme was established to foster communication and collaboration between the language communities of Scottish and Irish Gaelic.

Applications can be made for up to £12,500 of funding to support projects which will bring Gaelic and Irish speakers together, and also for Gaelic speakers looking to undertake an Irish course.

This year’s scheme will particularly look to support projects which:

  • Promote the use of Gaelic or Irish through the arts
  • Use heritage to bring Gaelic/Irish communities together and promote the status of the languages
  • Bring young speakers of Gaelic and Irish together through events and school projects/trips
  • Promote communication and sharing of knowledge and best practice among Gaelic and Irish speakers

This scheme is currently open until 3pm on Tuesday 20 February 2024.

You can find more information about the guidelines for scheme and how to make an application 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.

Funding Support for Gaelic Community Work

Bòrd na Gàidhlig has announced an expansion to its Taic Freumhan Coimhearsnachd (Community Grants) Scheme, offering extended funding opportunities to impactful Gaelic projects. In a move to support community initiatives across Scotland, the scheme will now provide grants for up to two years – doubling the previous one-year funding period. 

Taic Freumhan Coimhearsnachd is Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s primary fund for supporting organisations in delivering projects to promote and increase the usage and learning of Gaelic at community level. 

Bòrd na Gàidhlig will provide an annual budget of £100,000 to allow applicants to apply for support of up to £10,000 for their projects. The scheme’s application window will open on Tuesday, November 14th and close in January 2024. 

Last year, Bòrd na Gàidhlig proudly supported 64 projects through Taic Freumhan Coimhearsnachd. These included awards of £5,000 to the Western Isles Community Society, to mark the centenary of the departure of 1,500 Hebrideans to Canada, from Lochboisdale and Stornoway, and also Àrd-sgoil Phort Rìgh for its continued support to Gaelic education. 

Other organisations to benefit from funding included Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Artsplay Highland, Lingo Flamingo in Glasgow, and Alzheimer Scotland. 

Mary MacInnes, Chair at Bòrd na Gàidhlig, said:

“Our organisation is dedicated to nurturing a culture of positive change and empowerment within our community. We believe that by extending the grant period to two years, we can be the catalyst for even more meaningful and lasting transformations. We invite all passionate individuals and community groups to take this opportunity and be a part of this journey with us.” 

To learn more about the Taic Freumhan Coimhearsnachd grant scheme and its expanded funding opportunities, please visit the Taic Freumhan Coimhearsnachd information page or contact Bòrd na Gàidhlig at tabhartas@gaidhlig.scot.