From Glasgow’s Evening Times newspaper:
“Christine and Iain Agnew are keen to support Scotland’s language and so sent son Archie to a Gaelic nursery school in Anniesland.
But the four-year-old has now been denied a place at Glasgow Gaelic School.
Christine, 39, said: “My son has been going to a Gaelic nursery for the past two years.
“To get into the Gaelic school they say you have to show commitment to the language.
“Well, I’m not sure how else I could have shown that commitment.
“We haven’t been given a straight answer as to why Archie has been refused a place and I would really like the council to reconsider.”
Christine, from Clydebank, said she has lodged an appeal, as have two other mums who are in a similar position.
But she believes there should be enough primary provision in the city to accommodate all children who are in the city’s Gaelic nurseries.
Currently, a second Gaelic primary school is planned for the South Side of Glasgow but Christine said that will open too late for Archie to attend.
She added: “I want Archie to learn Gaelic because he’s Scottish and that’s his language.
But a Glasgow City Council spokeswoman said people who live outside Glasgow must make a placing request and not all can be accommodated.
Glasgow Gaelic School -Sgoil Ghaidhlig Ghlaschu – was the first Scottish Gaelic school and caters for pupils from the ages of three to 18.
The 2011 census showed there was a slight fall in the number of Gaelic speakers in Scotland, from 59,000 in 2001 to 58,000 in 2011.
But more younger users of the language are expected as schooling options are expanded.
Last year only 6% of the six-year target for pupils entering Gaelic medium education had been achieved.
The Scottish Government spends £25 million every year on promoting Gaelic.”
And a follow-up opinion piece by Caroline Wilson in the same publication:
“I’M sorry for the family who are desperate for their son to go to Glasgow Gaelic School but have been turned down for a place.
Of course, it was a placing request, they live outwith the city limits and there are no guarantees but I sympathise. It’s obviously important for them to preserve a part of their heritage.
What’s even more disappointing though, is that cases such as this, highlighted in Tuesday’s Evening Times, invariably become less about the family’s plight and more a tirade on the relevance of Gaelic in today’s society.
I have to declare a personal interest now. I’m a Gaelic speaker (well, tha beagan Gaelic agam) it was my grandparents first language, passed on to my mother. I am by no means fluent but it’s important to me. It makes me who I am, it makes me different. That is something to be celebrated.
It’s hard for me not to wade in when I read comments online that question the relevance of Gaelic to Scotland’s history.
Until around the 12th century Gaelic was the majority language in Scotland. For a variety of reasons, it was pushed into the fringes of the highlands and islands, where it was the dominant language until the start of the 20th century. Just take a look at place names around the country for proof.
I UNDERSTAND that many people, particularly in lowland areas feel it has nothing to do with their own heritage but facts are facts.
If you don’t want to learn Gaelic that’s fine, that’s your right. I won’t question your right to learn another language that has little or no relevance to your own heritage but let’s be a bit more generous with those who would like to.
The school exists in Glasgow because of the demand for Gaelic medium education. It has an excellent reputation, the children learn other languages too, and all studies point towards the benefits of children learning another language.
When I travel elsewhere in Europe, Spain particularly, they are always positive about Gaelic, never questioning its relevance.”
There are problems with expanding GME provision (and its equivalent elsewhere) without lowering standards, which aren’t simply related to funding, but mainly the supply of fluent trained specialist teachers, which in turn depends upon the numbers of fluent suitably qualified school-leavers, which itself depends upon past provision of GME (plus the diminishing numbers of native speakers). So inevitably there is a degree of inertia in the system. Afaik Scotland hasn’t come up against Labour councils blocking provision the way that seems to happen in the more anglophone parts of Wales.
Athbhlagáladh é seo ar seachranaidhe1.