Some positive signs pointing towards growing stability in the numbers of Scottish (Gaelic) speakers in Scotland. Despite the decline caused by centuries of political, social and cultural exclusion – in particular since the 1800s – communities are remerging in urban regions like Edinburgh and Glasgow. From the Scotsman newspaper:
“THE growth of Gaelic education throughout Scotland in the last year has been hailed a success by the language’s national body – despite a continuing decline in its historic heartland of the Western Isles.
Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s annual report for 2013/14 highlights a rise in numbers seeking to be educated in the language.
Gaelic-medium education has risen by 6.1 per cent at primary school level, with the number of children entering into primary one rising by 13 per cent to 486 entrants.
The number of pupils also doing Gaelic-medium education at secondary level rose by 7 per cent, totalling 1181.
Further growth was seen the early years sector with the number of parent and toddler groups and playgroups increasing from 80 to 93, thus furthering the potential of increasing the number of entrants to GME in the coming years.
But the Western Isles is still proving to be a sore point for the body, which supported by public funds.
Through the course of the year the Bòrd dealt with 349 applications for funding from different organisations throughout the length and breadth of Scotland. 72 per cent however of the funding received by the Bòrd from the Scottish Government was distributed to others.
Minister for Scotland’s Languages Dr Alasdair Allan said: “Parents across the country have been clear that they recognise the benefits of a bilingual education for their children and the rolls for GME schools and units continue to grow.
“This support is one of the key reasons that the 2011 census showed that the number of Gaelic speakers under 20 had grown in the last decade and the historic decline in the number of speakers has slowed dramatically.”