Latest News

A selection of language-related news. Does not claim to be comprehensive or represent the views of SCILT.


Teaching bursary in Scotland - Modern languages now eligible!

20 June 2024 (Teaching Bursary in Scotland)

The Teaching Bursary Scheme is open to individuals wishing to undertake a one-year PGDE ITE course in Scotland that leads to the award of registered teacher status in Scotland's hardest-to-fill teaching subjects.

This year's eligbile teaching subjects include Modern Languages at secondary level and Gaelic at both secondary and primary.

Teaching Bursary in Scotland 2024 will be open for applications shortly. Visit the website for more information.


I started a Gaelic metalcore band

6 June 2024 (BBC)

Musician and broadcaster Colin Stone is pioneering a new sound for the Gaelic music scene - metalcore.

Linkin Park, Slipknot and Knocked Loose are among bands associated with the music, which is often described as a fusion of extreme metal and hardcore punk.

Stone records his own songs at his studio in Larbert and fronts the band, Gun Ghaol - Gaelic for "without love".

He said: “I think it is very important to write and record music in a different kind of style – it’s about spreading Gaelic around the world."


Kate Forbes: ‘Gaelic must be brought to life beyond the classroom’

22 May 2024 (TES)

Gaelic should be ‘a living, breathing language’ – not just a language of the classroom, Deputy First Minister tells MSPs.


Posted in: Gaelic

Gaelic schools thrive while native language declines

21 May 2024 (BBC Scotland)

The number of people using Gaelic has increased across Scotland despite a decline in the language's heartland, according to the latest census data. Experts say the increase in Gaelic medium education (GME) accounts for the rise.


Scottish Languages Bill: what might it look like in schools?

19 May 2024 (TES)

Teachers need more support if attempts to raise the status of Gaelic and Scots language in schools are to succeed.


Glasgow airport uses Irish Gaelic on new pub sign

15 May 2024 (BBC Scotland)

Glasgow Airport has been criticised after accidentally using Irish Gaelic in an advertising sign for its new Caledonian Bar and Restaurant.


Gaelic and Scots education in need of more support

8 May 2024 (The Herald)

A lack of Gaelic-speaking support staff and early years of Gaelic learning could be holding back the spread of Gaelic Medium Education (GME) across the country.

Meanwhile, a leader in Scots language education said that the lack of an official definition for “Scots language” and the included dialects risk alienating the varieties of language lessons in different local authorities.

(Note - subscription required to access full article).


Gaelic provision in Scottish schools ‘limited and marginal’

1 May 2024 (TES)

Gaelic campaigners have reiterated their call for a legal right to Gaelic-medium education (GME), saying that it is “profoundly disappointing” that this is “again omitted” from a proposed new law making its way through the Scottish Parliament.

Wilson McLeod, emeritus professor of Gaelic at the University of Edinburgh, says that up to now, legislation aimed at increasing access to Gaelic education has had a “disappointingly limited impact”.

Data for 2022-23 shows fewer than 1 per cent of Scottish pupils received GME or Gaelic learners Education (GLE). Approximately 95 per cent of primary schools did not offer GME or GLE, while around a third of councils (11 out of 32) offered neither GME nor GLE “in any of their schools”.


Cast announced for BBC's first Gaelic crime thriller

18 April 2024 (BBC)

The BBC has released details of the cast for its first Gaelic language crime drama, which has started filming in the Hebrides and Glasgow.

Called The Island and costing more than £1m per episode, BBC Alba's four-part thriller is centred around a murder investigation.

Sorcha Groundsell, who grew up in Lewis and Glasgow, has been cast in the lead role - a family liaison officer who returns to her home island following the murder of a millionaire's wife.

She has previously appeared in HBO series His Dark Materials, BBC drama Shetland and Netflix's The Innocents.


RZSS Science in the Language Class

16 April 2024 (RZSS)

RZSS Science in the Language Class has three new FREE language linked outreach sessions aimed at upper primary level and available for August 2024 but as places can fill up fast early booking is recommended. 

French: A one hour outreach session linked to RZSS work in the French Polynesia Islands with the Partula snail. We don't just work with the big charismatic animals. We can't forget the importance to the ecosystem of the wee beasties. Learn more about the conservation work with activities linked to French. 

Gaelic: A one hour outreach session linked to RZSS work in Scotland with the Scottish wildcat. RZSS Highland Wildlife Park has a special centre which is breeding the Scottish wildcat for release to the wild. The first release was in 2023. Learn more about the Scottish wildcat with activities linked to Gaelic. 

Spanish: This can be a one hour outreach session or there is the option for a short 2 week course, where in the first week there is a 45 minute live virtual introductory session, followed by a one hour in-person outreach. The session(s) are linked to the RZSS work in South America with the giant armadillo, the giant anteater and the two-toed sloth. Although they seem very different animals, they all belong to a group called Xenarthra which means strange joints! Learn more about this work with activities linked to Spanish.

All are available throughout Scotland including the Islands. However, if further afield (ie not in the Central Belt) then we do need a cluster of schools booking together to come for a few days or a week. Or possibly one school booking a number of sessions over a few days. Sessions are aimed at P4-P7. Maximum number per session is 33. Contact Sandie Robb - for further details and to discuss options. Also see the Science in the Language Class website. 


BBC ALBA: Gaelic drama series set to hit international screens

18 March 2024 (Scottish Field)

BBC ALBA has commissioned a brand-new crime thriller which will be the biggest Gaelic drama series in the channel’s history – with an estimated budget of more than £1 million per episode.

The ambitious four-part series, An t-Eilean (The Island), is set to put Gaelic-language drama on the global map with a gripping storyline from screenwriter and creator Nicholas Osborne.

Set against the elemental landscape of the Outer Hebrides, An t-Eilean is a compelling crime story that follows a family caught up in a murder investigation very close to home.


Gaelic L3 Team Teaching Live Lessons for schools - 6 week block suitable for P5-7

12 March 2024 (Highland Council)

Ideal for schools who would like to introduce Gaelic as an L3 or deliver Gaelic as a short term standalone language. Also provides support for teachers who are new to teaching Gaelic as L3 or would like to refresh their skills in the language.

The aim is to motivate pupils and empower teachers to deliver 1+2 languages entitlement by delivering fun, engaging live online language lessons through a unique team-teaching model facilitated by myself. During these lessons, teachers learn alongside their pupils in real time and lead the learning in their own class. This approach also develops teacher confidence to consolidate the language learning with their pupils during their own class time. This model of delivery provides on the job professional learning to alleviate workload pressures and helps teachers make the time for languages in a crowded curriculum.

The lesson structure alternates between short bursts of direct teaching from the online teacher, followed by the class teachers leading their own class in a game. This format allows the learning to remain active and therefore learners are fully engaged.

Each lesson lasts approximately 40 minutes and will take place via GLOW Teams. All resources will be available to download in advance of the session and will be stored in the GLOW Team. The sessions will run on the following dates, all take place 2.00-2.40pm:

  • Wednesday 17 April
  • Wednesday 24 April
  • Wednesday 1 May
  • Wednesday 8 May
  • Wednesday 15 May
  • Wednesday 22 May

We will cover the basic topics such as Numbers, Introductions & Greetings, Family, Weather etc throughout the course of the programme.

If you would like to enrol your class, please fill in this Google form 

For further information about this Team Teaching model you can read the case study of the recent national pilot (document also attached)

If you have any further questions about the programme, please contact Ruairidh Mackay -

Fears for future of Gaelic language as community workers’ jobs under threat

10 March 2024 (The Guardian)

Gaelic-language campaigners and MSPs have protested furiously about plans to axe a network of Gaelic community workers, raising fresh fears about the survival of the language.

Up to 27 Gaelic development workers based in Hebridean islands, rural counties and Scotland’s major cities are being laid off after the Scottish government cut funding to Bòrd na Gàidhlig (BnG), the body charged with protecting and reviving Gaelic.

The job losses have alarmed activists, who said these development workers were essential to their efforts to promote and reinvigorate the language and Gaelic communities, after decades of decline.


Easter Study Support 2024

5 March 2024 (eSgoil)

Registration for eSgoil's Easter Study Support 2024 is now open!

Easter Study Support is for Senior Phase learners who are working towards National Qualifications. This year there are seventy-four different webinar Teams, covering a wide range of subjects and levels.

Live, interactive and free, the sessions will support learners towards final exams.

Visit eSgoil's website for the full timetable and to register for the webinars.


Organisers celebrate as World Gaelic Week reaches 100 international locations

28 February 2024 (Yahoo News)

Organisers of Seachdain na Gàidhlig (World Gaelic Week) 2024 have shared their pride after "multiple generations from across the globe" took part in events to celebrate Gaelic.

Returning for its third edition, the global event took place from 19-25 February with over 170 events across Scotland.

New York, Nova Scotia and London, were among the 100 international locations reached during Seachdain na Gàidhlig 2024 - which united Gaelic speakers around the theme of Do Chànan. Do Chothrom. which translates to Your Language. Your Opportunity.


Seachdain na Gàidhlig 19 - 25 Gearran 2024 // World Gaelic Week 19 - 25 February 2024

15 February 2024 (Seachdain na Gàidhlig)

Seachdain na Gàidhlig / World Gaelic Week takes place from 19 to 25 February 2024. There are lots of ways to get involved and celebrate the theme of ‘Your Language. Your Opportunity’.

Why not run your own event as part of Seachdain na Gàidhlig? Resources are available for individuals and organisations to deliver events in their own communities.

Visit the Seachdain na Gàidhlig website for more information and see what's happening in your area.


Hermitage Primary pupils take part in Language Week Scotland

8 February 2024 (Helensburgh Advertiser)

Pupils at a Helensburgh Primary school “thoroughly enjoyed” a week of learning about different cultures around the globe.

Hermitage Primary pupils discovered all about a variety of countries and languages for Language Week Scotland which ran from Monday, January 29 to Friday, February 2.

Children participated in many fun activities including researching and presenting the impact global warming is having on the country their class focused on, listening to and watching short stories and fairy tales in the county’s native language, and learning and performing a traditional dance.


'People didn't believe a black man would speak Gaelic'

4 February 2024 (BBC)

How two Gaelic-speaking black brothers inspired Victorian writer Rudyard Kipling has been told in a new documentary.

Twins John and George Maxwell were part of a Scottish Gaelic community in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia in Canada, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Kipling, best known for The Jungle Book, came across the twins while researching a story and they went on to influence the creation of a character in his tale, Captain Courageous.

But film-maker Colette Thomas said there was a backlash from some readers at the time, adding: "They thought Kipling was lying - there was no way a black man would speak Gaelic."

Freelance film-maker Thomas is a Nova Scotian who studied Gaelic at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the National Centre for Gaelic Language and Culture in Skye.

Her five-minute documentary, Na Gàidheal Dubha, external, is on the shortlist for Scotland's FilmG Gaelic short film awards.


Holyrood launches call for views on bill to protect Scots and Gaelic

22 January 2024 (The National)

Holyrood has launched a call for views on a bill that would give Gaelic and Scots languages official status in Scotland.

The Scottish Parliament’s Education, Children and Young People Committee are seeking views from the public as they begin to scrutinise the Scottish Languages Bill.

The legislation would change the status of Scots and Gaelic and change the responsibilities of both the Scottish Government and other public bodies to support the languages.


eSgoil online courses for 2024-25

5 January 2024 (eSgoil)

Looking to broaden your learners' horizons and your school's curricular offer? We are offering a range of language NQs and work-related courses for 2024-25, delivered at no cost via live, online and interactive lessons.

Explore the details in the online brochure. 


Scottish Languages Bill: Fairer Scotland Duty summary

21 December 2023 (Scottish Government)

The Scottish Government's Scottish Languages Bill is legislation to advance the status of, and provision for, the Gaelic and Scots languages.

This is a revision to four existing policies (the status of Gaelic & Scots; Gaelic Medium Education; Bòrd na Gàidhlig; the Scots language) and the creation of one new policy (Areas of Linguistic Significance).


First winner of Gaelic Scrabble World Championships

11 December 2023 (BBC)

The first Gaelic Scrabble World Championships have taken place in the Hebrides - and been won with a score of 353.

The Gaelic edition of the popular board game has been launched as part of efforts to promote the language.

Four competitors were brave enough to put their knowledge of Gaelic words to the test in Saturday's contest in Stornoway, Lewis.

Murdo MacDonald, from Back in Lewis, won the first world title.


Controversial uni modern languages proposal to be discussed

11 December 2023 (BBC)

Controversial University of Aberdeen proposals which could see its modern languages degrees scrapped are set to be discussed.

The university has blamed a steep fall in the number of students studying modern languages for the move.

More than 12,000 people have signed a petition opposing the proposals, and a protest meeting was held on Monday evening.

The university court will meet later to discuss the future of modern languages provision.

Glasgow University: Gaelic immersion programme made permanent

4 December 2023 (The Herald)

A Gaelic language immersion year pilot at the University of Glasgow is being made permanent, it was announced today (Monday December 4).

The Gaelic with Immersion Programme has received a long-term funding commitment from the College of Arts & Humanities at the university.

This announcement will establish Gaelic with Immersion as an integral part of the College’s Celtic & Gaelic diverse programme offering.

In 2017, the College commissioned a feasibility study to consider an immersion experience in Glasgow and this revealed a demand for more intensive language opportunities amongst students and adult learners.


Scots language to be recognised a ‘invaluable part of Scotland’s culture’ in new bill

30 November 2023 (Scottish Legal News)

Proposals to help the Gaelic and Scots languages prosper in the years ahead have been set out in legislation today, as Scotland marks St Andrew’s Day.

One of the proposals in the Scottish Languages Bill is the creation of new Areas of Linguistic Significance, which would give Gaelic communities a greater say in how the language is supported locally.

The bill also provides greater support for Gaelic medium education and strengthens and adjusts the functions of Bòrd na Gàidhlig to help it continue to contribute to the promotion of Gaelic.

It will also establish legislative protection for the Scots language.


Seachdain na Gàidhlig 19 - 25 Gearran 2024 // World Gaelic Week 19 - 25 February 2024

27 November 2023 (Seachdain na Gàidhlig)

The third World Gaelic Week will take place from the 19-25 February 2024. This is a ‘save the date’ and an invitation to think of ways in which to celebrate the language.

This year, Bòrd na Gàidhlig have once again enabled the Small Grants Fund to assist individuals and organisations in funding projects and events which will take place during Seachdain na Gàidhlig. The theme for 2024 is ‘Your Language. Your Opportunity’ and Seachdain na Gàidhlig is looking for projects / events that have this theme embedded at their core. Awards of up to £500 are available and we encourage you to consider applying if you feel you could benefit from some funding support for whatever you have planned. The guidelines can be found here and the application form here. Please note that the deadline is midnight on Sunday the 26th of November.

Seachdain na Gàidhlig is very much looking forward to Seachdain na Gàidhlig 2024 and hope you will be with us as we celebrate all things Gaelic! Please do get in touch if you will be organising an event or a project.

Posted in: Gaelic

Gaelic gets its own edition of Scrabble

20 November 2023 (BBC)

The word game Scrabble has been made available in Gaelic for the first time.

The new edition features 18 characters, rather than 26, because the Gaelic alphabet does not use the letters J, K, Q, V, W, X, Y or Z.

The grave accent, a mark indicating that a letter should be pronounced a particular way, also appear on the vowels À, È, Ì, Ò and Ù.

Stornoway-based cultural centre and community café, An Taigh Cèilidh, worked with Tinderbox Games in London to license the Gaelic version of the game.


Scottish Book Trust 50 word fiction competition

16 November 2023 (Scottish Book Trust)

Each month Scottish Book Trust runs a 50 Word Fiction competition with a prompt to get you started. The November competition prompt is inspired by the theme of this year's Book Week Scotland, Adventure!

The competition includes a category for Gaelic writers, so get creative and submit your entry by 28 November.


Gaelic used to encourage debate on climate threats

13 November 2023 (BBC News)

What has been described as the world's first Gaelic Climate Convention has taken place in the Western Isles, the language's heartland area.

The event was attended by more than 60 people, and heard islanders' concerns about the impacts of climate change on their communities.


Book Week Scotland 2023

10 November 2023 (Scottish Book Trust)

Book Week Scotland is an annual celebration of books and reading that takes place across the country. Book Week Scotland 2023 will take place 13–19 November.

Every year, Book Week Scotland ask people to share stories as part of our 'Scotland's Stories' campaign, and entries have been submitted in Gaelic and Scots as well as in English. 


New powers proposed to support Gaelic and Scots

3 November 2023 (BBC)

Councils could get the power to designate areas in which the Gaelic language could receive special support, BBC Naidheachdan understands. The Scottish government is expected to publish a new languages bill around St Andrew's Day later this month. The proposed legislation is also expected to include provisions to promote and protect the use of Scots.


Tes Scotland’s 10 questions with... Gillian Campbell-Thow

13 October 2023 (TES)

Gillian Campbell-Thow took over as secondary headteacher at Sgoil Ghàidhlig Ghlaschu (Glasgow Gaelic School) earlier this year.

A languages teacher by background, she tells us about broadening approaches to Gaelic-medium education (GME), the need to stay calm during pupils’ crises and how the culture around teaching has changed during her time in the profession.

(Note - subscription required to access full article)


RZSS Programmes for Schools

12 October 2023 (RZSS)

RZSS Science in the Language Class - Many free language resources are available on the Science in Language Class website. There are a wide range of resources for Mandarin, Spanish and French along with free outreach sessions. Next year look out for further resources available in German and Gaelic and a new upper primary course for Spanish. 

Mandarin course - The Mandarin upper primary course is 3 weeks virtual sessions followed by an expert for the day!  (An in-person outreach visit to your school which can include other sessions for additional classes.)

Giants - A free outreach session aimed at upper primary level which can be linked to either Spanish or Mandarin

Stripy Tails - A free outreach session aimed at upper primary level which can be linked to either French or Mandarin

Contact for bookings. All are fully booked to December but there are still a few opportunities left from January 2024. 

See the Beyond the Panda webpage for details and resources. 


eSgoil study support 2023-24

5 October 2023 (eSgoil)

Registration for eSgoil's Study Support programme is now open!

Study Support is for Senior Phase learners who are working towards National Qualifications, with weekly evening webinars during term time covering a wide range of subjects and levels, including Gaelic, French and Spanish.

Visit the eSgoil website for full programme details and to register. Programme commences week beginning 30 October.


Scottish Gaelic is worth learning says our Scotsman readers and here are 21 reasons why

12 September 2023 (The Scotsman)

Scotland’s endangered Celtic tongue has struggled against critics discounting its worth time and again. So, we took the national debate to our Scotsman readers who confirm that Gaelic is worth learning and here’s why.


New job profile on SCILT's website

8 September 2023 (SCILT)

The job profiles on our website demonstrate a range of careers where languages are being used. The latest addition comes from Simran Kaur, Equality and Diversity Engagement Officer at the University of Strathclyde.

Simran's language skills have enabled her to work as a translator and they also prove useful in her role at the university where so many different languages are spoken on campus.

Teachers, use Simran's profile along with others on our website to highlight the benefits of language learning to your pupils.


Scottish Gaelic and Scots Difference Explained: Scotland’s oldest living language revealed

4 September 2023 (The Scotsman)

English has been Scotland’s main language since the 18th century, prior to that many people spoke ‘Scottish’ whether that was Scots or Gaelic [..] here is an overview of Scots and Scottish Gaelic that explains their differences, the heritage that underpins them and which is considered Scotland’s oldest living language.


SQA Advanced Higher Modern Languages: new resources to support with performance-talking

1 September 2023 (SQA)

From session 2023-24, the Advanced Higher Modern Languages performance-talking coursework task returns to its usual format, with a duration of approximately 20 minutes. The requirement to discuss aspects of the portfolio has also been reinstated. 

We have created two new SQA Academy courses to help you with this coursework task. An updated performance-talking audio presentation is also available from our Understanding Standards website.

SQA Academy course – Performance-talking

This course provides an overview of what the Advanced Higher performance-talking assessment involves – including its purpose, structure, preparation for the assessment, the Subject Topic List (STL) form and how performance-talking is assessed.

SQA Academy course – A day in the life of a visiting assessor

This second course outlines the role of the Modern Languages performance-talking visiting assessor and describes what happens before, during and after the assessment of performance-talking. You may find it useful to share this course with your learners.

Access the courses from the SQA Academy website

SQA Understanding Standards – updated audio presentation

An updated audio presentation on the Advanced Higher performance-talking for session 2023-24 is also available from the Modern Languages pages of the Understanding Standards website (select the language, then ‘presentations’ from the page menu).

View the performance-talking audio presentation.

Oh là là - concerns over uptake of languages Highers

10 August 2023 (TES)

New Scottish national data shows a drop in uptake of languages at Higher since 2019, the last year before the Covid pandemic.

The decrease in French entries is particularly steep and, after many years as the most popular language in Scottish schools, uptake is now lower than for Spanish.

However, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages (widely known as SCILT) says there is better news in National 5 figures, which suggest there may be the beginnings of a comeback from the Covid years.

(Note - subscription required to access full article)


Related Links

Exams 2023: Tackling the decline in languages in state schools (TES, 8 August 2023) - Note, subscription required to access full article

A-Level and other level 3 results 2023: The main trends in grades and entries (FFT Education Data Lab, 17 August 2023) - Subjects with the largest fall in entries are Spanish, French and German.

A-Levels 2023: 10 key trends for teachers to know about (TES, 17 August 2023) - Languages in decline.

Scotland’s Gaelic Landscape: Do you know how to read a Scottish map? 21 Gaelic terms for beginners

20 July 2023 (The Scotsman)

Spoken only by a small percentage of Scots today, Gaelic was once Scotland’s main language which is why it is intrinsically linked to the Scottish landscape where we see Gaelic place names that connect us to our heritage.

Here is an essential guide for beginners to get you acquainted with Scotland’s most-used Gaelic vocabulary and test your knowledge at the end with the wee quiz!


Clydebank school pupils praised after landing top award

6 July 2023 (Clydebank Post)

A Clydebank school was said to have 'impressed judges' on their way to picking up a top educational award for languages.

Pupils across three age groups at St Peter the Apostle High School were praised for their 'passion' for languages such as Gaelic and Spanish as they landed the Gold Scottish Languages Employability Award from SCILT - Gold Scottish Languages Employability Award from SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages and the Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools.

The recognition award - launched in 2019 -  was developed by SCILT as a way of delivering DYW (Developing the Young Workforce) through languages, encouraging school-business partnerships and recognising good practice in this area.


Scottish Gaelic Edinburgh Place Names: 13 Locations in the capital city rooted in Gaelic

30 June 2023 (The Scotsman)

While the origins of Gaelic are rooted in the Highlands and Islands, the language forms a major part of Scottish heritage and has found its place even in lowland areas like Edinburgh.

[..] Here are 13 place names connected to Scottish Gaelic according to Gaelic Place-Names of Scotland.


Online team-teaching model - A sustainable approach to support language delivery in the primary

13 June 2023 (South West EIC / Northern Alliance)

This pilot delivered French, Spanish and Gaelic live lessons using Microsoft Teams in Glow and was offered to schools across Scotland between January and May 2023.

You can now find out about the far-reaching impact of this initiative by reading the case study attached below.

Scottish Education Awards 2023 - Gaelic Education

8 June 2023 (Scottish Education Awards)

Congratulations to James Gillespie's High School, winners of the Gaelic Education Award at this year's Scottish Education Awards held on 7 June.

Well done too to Goodlyburn Primary and Dunoon Grammar for making the final shortlist.

Is Welsh the most spoken Celtic tongue? How the small UK nation punched above its weight explained

5 June 2023 (The Scotsman)

Wales has 900,600 speakers of Welsh (impressive for a nation of around three million) but of Scotland’s five and a half million roughly 60,000 alone speak Gaelic - how did this happen?

According to data published by the Welsh Government in last year’s Annual Population Survey, an estimated 29.5% of their population was able to speak Welsh i.e., 900,600. Impressively, of our Celtic heritage languages in Britain, Welsh is the only one that is not considered endangered by UNESCO.

For others like Scottish Gaelic and Irish, the census data instils less confidence. Gaelic inclusion has been fostered by the likes of Outlander and Duolingo, yet at most only 87,000 Scots have some ability in the language.


N5, H & AH Gaelic/Gàidhlig courses 2023/24 for schools

31 May 2023 (e-Sgoil)

E-Sgoil offers Gaelic courses designed by award-winning staff, with the language coming alive through regular, interactive, online lessons, and quality digital support materials.

The National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher courses are designed to help develop skills and knowledge rapidly, getting even those learners with no Gaelic at the start of the course to a level of confidence and fluency quickly.

Visit the website for more information and to register interest for the 2023-24 session.


A Coronation with Celtic Languages: Scottish Gaelic, Welsh and Irish to appear for the first time

5 May 2023 (The Scotsman)

The influence of Celtic languages can still be felt in our world today. Place names in Scotland and even United States locations feature traces of languages like Scottish Gaelic and Pictish.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that Celtic languages including Gaelic, Irish and Welsh will feature in King Charles’ coronation this week - after all he is the UK monarch and these Celtic tongues are tied to this land.

Sadly, this does not include all surviving Celtic languages such as Cornish or Manx, but it is a step in the right direction for inclusion in the languages’ heartlands.


Scottish Gaelic Edinburgh Place Names: 13 locations in the capital rooted in Gaelic

5 May 2023 (The Scotsman)

While the origins of Gaelic are rooted in the Highlands and Islands, the language forms a major part of Scottish heritage and has found its place even in lowland areas like Edinburgh.

Well over a decade ago, the Scottish Census revealed that Edinburgh held 5,935 people who were ‘skilled’ in Gaelic. The Scottish capital is internationally renowned as a cultural hub with fascinating history (and even a UNESCO World Heritage site) so it’s unsurprising that the heritage language found its place there.


RZSS Programmes for Schools

2 May 2023 (RZSS)

RZSS Beyond the Panda

Although the giant pandas are returning to China at the end of this year, Beyond the Panda is still continuing.

The new Mandarin upper primary course is 3 weeks virtual sessions followed by an expert for the day! (An in-person outreach visit to your school which can include other sessions for additional classes).

RZSS Science in the Language Class

Choose from one of the outreach sessions linked to Mandarin, Spanish or French. Resources also available in other languages. 

All resources, courses and outreach are free of charge. 

Visit the Beyond the Panda website for details.


Scotland’s Next Generation Young Makars

18 April 2023 (Scottish Poetry Library)

The Scottish Poetry Library seeks submissions to its talent development scheme for poetry writers aged 16 to 25 years. We are looking for poets and poetry that are unique, imaginative and bold – a lot like Scotland itself.

We will select five young makars in total: four poets writing in English or Scots, and a writer in Scottish Gaelic. A bursary of £500 will be made available to each poet to support their engagement with the programme.

Visit the Scottish Poetry Library website for more information and submit applications by 28 April 2023.


Scotland's Stories

30 March 2023 (Scottish Book Trust)

Scotland's Stories is an annual writing project which aims to encourage all types of people to share their experiences. Every year there's a different theme to help people write about their lives, their way. The theme for 2023 is Adventure.

This project is for everyone, even if you've never written before Scottish Book Trust would like to hear from you. 

Entries can be in any format – a story, poem, comic strip, play or letter. Video and audio entries are also accepted.

Entries are welcome in Gaelic, Scots and English.

Visit the Scottish Book Trust website for more information.


Glasgow Gaelic School appoints new head Gillian Campbell-Thow

17 March 2023 (The Herald)

Glasgow Gaelic School’s first ‘learner’ head teacher has been appointed to lead the flagship campus as record numbers of pupils are expected to enroll this year.

In common with more than 90% of pupils at the school, Gillian Campbell-Thow is not a native speaker of the ancient Scots language. 

When the city’s first primary opened in 1999 the roll was predominantly made up of pupils whose parents had ‘heritage’ Gaelic.

While the Ayrshire-born teacher’s appointment might have raised eyebrows in the early days of the school, she says “for the most part” the reaction from the community has been positive.

The 44-year-old is working towards an additional teaching qualification in Gaelic at Strathclyde University and has her own homework to do this evening.

Da chanan, da chultar, iomadh cothrom, is written on her coffee mug: two languages, two cultures, many opportunities.

The new head certainly practices what she preaches. She is fluent in Spanish and French, competent in German and could comfortably chat in Mandarin.


Lanarkshire youngsters mark world Gaelic week

2 March 2023 (Daily Record)

Pupils at a Lanarkshire nursery celebrated world Gaelic week with a range of activities and shared the language with a special visitor.

Youngsters at Sgoil Araich, the Gaelic-language nursery at Tollbrae Primary in Airdrie, welcomed Anum Qaisar MP to their classrooms during the celebration week.

She took part in a lesson on colours and saw the pupils perform a number of “fantastic” Gaelic songs.

The recent celebration week aims to raise the profile of Gaelic in communities across the country and internationally, with figures from last year estimating that nearly a third of Scotland’s population can speak Gaelic.


Easter study support 2023

2 March 2023 (e-Sgoil)

Registration for e-Sgoil's Easter study support sessions is now open.

Please note, even if you've been attending term-time evening classes you must register separately for the Easter programme.

Sessions are free to learners. Visit the website to view the timetable and sign up for your preferred sessions. Various classes available for French, German, Gaelic/Gàidhlig and Spanish from National 5 to Advanced Higher.


Putting Gaelic firmly on the tourism map

23 February 2023 (The Herald)

Scotland is famous for many things, its scenery, its history, its people and of course, our distinct and vibrant culture.

Seachdain na Gàidhlig (World Gaelic Week) is a fantastic celebration of one of the most valuable aspects of our cultural heritage; our language. It helps recognise the role Gaelic plays in shaping our culture and raise awareness of the language with audiences the world over. We are hugely excited to be part of it and share this story with our visitors.

But this week is also a timely reminder of why we must preserve Gaelic for future generations, for our future visitors but also for the communities who use it.

Responsible tourism is at the heart of everything we do at VisitScotland, and this includes protecting Scotland’s culture and heritage. We recognise the importance of preserving those assets, which are so vital to Scotland’s brand and make Scotland so unique.

Gaelic and its rich culture provide an extra layer of authenticity for visitors with a unique experience you can only truly have in Scotland. This only strengthens the destination connection we know means so much to visitors.


Seachdain na Gàidhlig (World Gaelic Week)

3 February 2023 (Seachdain na Gàidhlig)

Seachdain na Gàidhlig (World Gaelic Week) aims to raise the profile of Gaelic through community initiatives, projects and events. It provides the opportunity for both Gaelic speakers and those without the language to take part in a way that suits them; here in Scotland and further afield.

Taking place 20-26 February 2023, the event seeks to celebrate Scottish Gaelic across the globe.

Visit the website for more information and discover how you can get involved.


Write a story featuring a fox

2 February 2023 (Scottish Book Trust)

Each month the Scottish Book Trust runs a writing competition providing a prompt to get you started, but where the story goes from there is entirely up to you. The competition includes four categories: adult writers, all-age Gaelic writers, young writers 5–11 and young writers 12–18. 

This month's stories must include a fox and be no longer than 50 words. Visit the Scottish Book Trust website to enter by 28 February.


Scottish Education Awards 2023

31 January 2023 (Scottish Education Awards)

Nominations are now open for this year's Scottish Education Awards.

The annual event recognises those who dedicate their lives to children and young people and showcases the valuable work and innovation in Scottish classrooms.

There are several award categories, including the award for Gaelic Education.

Visit the website for more information and submit nominations by 24 February 2023.


11 Fascinating Scottish place names and their meanings from Gaelic, to Norse, to Pictish

27 January 2023 (The Scotsman)

Scotland boasts a wealth of fascinating place names with their meanings rooted in Gaelic, Norse and Pictish, here are 10 examples that reveal this diversity of language across Scottish history.


Why Gaelic is the talk of Scotland

23 January 2023 (The Herald)

Bòrd na Gàidhlig is the principal public body in Scotland responsible for promoting Gaelic development, including providing advice to Scottish Ministers on Gaelic issues.  

Amongst a range of functions, it produces the National Gaelic Language Plan for Ministerial approval, oversees the development and implementation of Gaelic Language Plans by Public Authorities, distributes funds for the development of the Gaelic language, provides leadership and advice in support of Gaelic language initiatives and initiates and implements other projects. 

It also promotes Gaelic locally, nationally and internationally, with this work being informed by listening and reacting to the needs of communities.

[..] Thanks to support from Bòrd Na Gàidhlig, and huge interest from Gaelic speakers across Scotland and around the world, February 2023 sees the second official global Scottish Gaelic language week; Seachdain na Gàidhlig (World Gaelic Week) taking place through a series of in-person and online events.


Learn Gaelic

6 December 2022 (Education Scotland / e-Sgoil)

Learn Gaelic, Scotland’s oldest National Language, online with other students from across Scotland via e-Sgoil, working in partnership with UHI Outer Hebrides.

Courses Available: National 5 Gaelic Learners, Higher Gaelic Learners, National 5 Gaidhlig (fluent speakers), Higher Gaidhlig (fluent speakers).

Frequency: Twice weekly, draft timetable available but this can be flexible to some degree to meet the needs of Learners.

Format: Online lessons via Microsoft Teams.

Offered at both National 5 and Higher, and with courses designed by award-winning staff, Gaelic comes alive through regular, interactive, online lessons, and quality digital support materials.

Learning Gaelic opens doors to many things, including exciting career choices, further education, Scottish culture, history, geography, tourism and wellbeing. Now is your chance to become part of this rich and rewarding world.

The National 5 and Higher courses are designed to help develop skills and knowledge rapidly, getting even those learners with no Gaelic at the start of the course to a level of confidence and fluency quickly. Self-study and independent learning are important elements of the course but there is a wealth of support and resources at your fingertips.

You will meet and make friends with other young people from across Scotland.

This course may be most attractive to students with interests in languages, traditional music, outdoor activities, the media, citizenship, history, or indeed any subject matter.

Gabh an cothrom! Seize the opportunity!

Visit the website or register provisional interest here and someone will be in touch to discuss with you:


Gaelic Medium National Discussion

24 November 2022 (e-Sgoil)

A video resource has been produced which can be used by Gaelic Medium class teachers (Primary & Secondary) to facilitate conversations around the National Discussion. The video is designed to be a 'stop & start' activity where learners are encouraged to take time to think through how they would answer each of the 4 questions below:

  • Nuair a tha thu a’ smaoineachadh mu dheidhinn ionnsachadh no foghlam tro mheadhan na Gaidhlig, de na faclan a tha a’ tighinn a-steach ort?
  • Nam biodh cothrom agad sgoil ur a thoiseachadh, de na rudan a bhiodh cudthromach dhut? Carson?  
  • De bhiodh na chuideachadh dhut barrachd Gaidhlig a chleachdadh san sgoil? Carson?
  • Nan robh agad ri recipe a sgriobhadh airson foghlam tro mheadhan na Gaidhlig anns an t-am ri teachd, de na coig rudan a dh’fheumadh a bhith ann?  

The video is presented by Linda Macleod and is available on the e-Sgoil website.


Scottish Gaelic Awards 2023

22 November 2022 (Scottish Gaelic Awards)

Nominations for the 2023 Scottish Gaelic Awards are now open!

The Awards reward all aspects of the Gaelic language and culture across the length and breadth of the country.

Visit the website for more information on the award categories and submit nominations by 8 January 2023.


GLEANS Gaelic Challenge

22 November 2022 (GLEANS Alba)

The new GLEANS Challenge is ready to go! We want to hear all about your pets so why not send in a video or an audio picture telling us about them?

Visit the GLEANS website for more information.


Book Week Scotland 2022

10 November 2022 (Scottish Book Trust)

The annual celebration of books and reading across the country takes place 14–20 November. During Book Week, people of all ages and walks of life come together to share the joy of reading.

This year's stories have been shared on the Scottish Book Trust website and a handful of their favourites compiled in a free book. With the event focusing on 'Scotland's Stories' you'll find several told in Scots and Gaelic.

Visit the Book Week Scotland website to discover the events taking place across the week and activities and resources to help you get involved.


Sabhal Mòr Ostaig: Gaelic college 'should get university status'

10 November 2022 (The Herald)

Respected Scottish writer and historian Professor James Hunter is calling for an internationally renowned college on the Isle of Skye to become Scotland’s first Gaelic University.

The move, which would require the backing of the Scottish Government and the Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council (SFC), would give Sabhal Mòr Ostaig its own university degree-awarding powers for the first time.

It comes as ministers warned of a crisis in a bid to keep Gaelic alive because of a dramatic shortage of teachers.

Based in the Sleat peninsula, in the south of Skye, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the National Centre for Gaelic Language and Culture, is currently a currently a college delivering both Further and Higher Education, and an independent academic partner of the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI).

With the unique distinction of having Scottish Gaelic as the sole language of instruction on its courses, the college is regarded as having played a crucial role in the linguistic and cultural renaissance of the Gaelic language in Scotland.


SQA Advanced Higher Modern Languages course reports 2022

31 October 2022 (SQA)

The SQA has now published this year's course reports for AH Gaelic (Learners), German and Spanish.

These can be found on the Advanced Higher Modern Languages webpage within the Course Reports section.


Gaelic education to benefit from £3million Scottish Government boost

25 October 2022 (The National)

Gaelic education and community projects will benefit from almost £3 million as part of plans to expand the reach of the language across Scotland.

The Gaelic Capital Fund, which is now in its 14th year, will help support the growth of a number of projects over the coming year.


Posted in: Gaelic, Funding

Seachdain na Gàidhlig (World Gaelic Week)

20 October 2022 (World Gaelic Week)

World Gaelic Week will be celebrating Scottish Gaelic across the globe 20-26 February 2023. Our NEW Small Grants Fund is now open and can help you organise an event or project in your community. And, we’re hiring - come and join us and get on board!

Visit the website for more information.


Gaelic broadcasting 'needs better support'

20 October 2022 (BBC)

The UK government says it is considering whether new legislation or funding would better support Gaelic broadcasting.

During a debate at Westminster, Conservative former Scotland Office minister Iain Stewart said the service required the same status enjoyed by Welsh language broadcasters.

He said Gaelic broadcasting was vital culturally and socially and delivered a positive economic impact, but needed public sector broadcast status in legislation.

Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan said options to improve support for the service was being looked at as part the forthcoming Media Bill.

Broadcasting is a matter reserved to Westminster.

The Scottish government said support for the Gaelic language was vital.


DYW Live Sessions: Languages and your career

11 October 2022 (e-Sgoil)

Following last year's 'Languages and your career' workshop, e-Sgoil in partnership with SCILT will be hosting a series of sessions over six weeks from the end of October through to early December 2022.

Schools can sign up for as many or as few as they wish; after a first general session, the remaining five weeks will explore how a different language each week can contribute to success in a range of jobs and career paths. These will be interactive workshops featuring input from people working with the language of focus each week. These sessions aim to introduce learners (S2-S4) to the importance of languages and their associated skills in the workplace, break down stereotypes of careers that use languages, identify appropriate career pathways, and hear examples of people who use languages in their daily work.

Visit the e-Sgoil website for more information and to register interest in the sessions.


FilmG competitions 2022

6 October 2022 (FilmG)

FilmG is an annual Gaelic short film festival which aims to foster and develop new talent for Gaelic media. Now in its 15th edition, the FilmG festival is this year offering two competitions, both focusing on this year's theme 'Buidhe (Yellow)'. Follow the relevant link below for more information:

Royal National Mòd: Perth prepares for thousands of visitors

4 October 2022 (BBC)

Thousands of visitors are expected to descend on Perth later this month for the Royal National Mòd.

Scotland's annual festival of Gaelic language, culture and sport is returning to the city for the first time in 18 years.

City leaders are preparing for an influx of about 7,500 people for the eight-day event, predicted to be worth £1m to the local economy.

It begins on 14 October with a torchlit procession and an opening concert.

The Mòd will feature more than 200 competitions in music, dancing, storytelling and sport. For the first time it will also feature an art contest this year.


Warning of crisis in Gaelic teacher recruitment

4 October 2022 (BBC)

The teaching of Gaelic in schools is in crisis due to a shortage of new teachers, according to a study.

It suggests over the next five years a minimum of 225 teachers would be needed to meet demand, but only 25 qualified for the whole of this year.

The analysis comes from a former leader and a former education boss at Highland Council.

The Scottish government said it was committed to supporting Gaelic medium education.

Dr Michael Foxley and Prof Bruce Robertson, a former director of education at Highland Council and visiting professor at the University of Strathclyde, carried out the study. Their paper has been submitted to a Scottish government consultation on Gaelic and Scots education.

Dr Foxley and Prof Robertson said their study suggested there was already a recruitment crisis and the situation was likely to get significantly worse, with rural and island schools being the hardest hit.

They said a minimum of 135 new primary and 90 new secondary teachers would be required over the next five years to meet the needs of 19 local authorities already with Gaelic provision, or planning to introduce it.


Related Links

Crisis over bid to keep Gaelic alive - due to shortage of new teachers (The Herald, 4 October 2022) - note subscription required to access full article.

Crisis over bid to keep Gaelic alive – due to shortage of new teachers (Fastnewz, 4 October 2022)

Scottish Gaelic you already speak: 12 English words derived from Gaelic that we still use today

27 September 2022 (The Scotsman)

As most Scots are not Gaelic-speaking, they may think the language is completely detached from their lexicon, but it turns out often-used English words are derived from Gaelic.

Here are 12 English words you know of and probably use that are all derived from Gaelic.


Gaelic education in Scotland: how much progress has been made?

23 September 2022 (TES)

In August, Renfrewshire Council became the latest Scottish local authority to introduce Gaelic-medium education for primary pupils. Now, half of Scottish councils (16 out of 32 authorities) offer primary Gaelic-medium education almost four decades on from the first primary units being established in 1985 in Glasgow and Inverness.

They began with a couple of dozen pupils in total. Now over 3,500 primary pupils are taught through the medium of Gaelic in Scotland, while many people more generally are being drawn to Gaelic - by February this year over a million people had accessed the Duolingo language learning app’s Gaelic course.

Still, experts say that the language’s future remains precarious. Wilson McLeod, professor of Gaelic at the University of Edinburgh, says it is becoming a “network language” - spoken between family members and between friends and acquaintances with the linguistic skills - but not tied to a particular geographic area.

“The idea of the tight-knit rural community where everyone speaks the same language seems less likely at this stage,” he says, while adding that “nothing is impossible with the right support and the right commitment”.

However, discussion about how far interventions should go - and the role that education should play in the promotion and preservation of Gaelic - can become clouded by politics, with the promotion of Gaelic decried by critics as a nationalist project.

But McLeod disagrees with the portrayal of the SNP “forcing Gaelic down people’s throats”. Indeed, he is highly critical of the Scottish government, accusing it of being “tentative” and “half-hearted” in its approach to the language.

The Labour-Lib Dem administration from 1999 to 2007 did more for Gaelic than has been done since the SNP came to power, he says. He describes the amount being invested by the Scottish government in Gaelic as “pitiful” and says there has been “very little serious policy in relation to Gaelic” and some “serious opportunities” missed.

In fact, McLeod argues, parents rather than politics have been the driving force behind the growth of Gaelic-medium education (GME).

Certainly, it was parents who got the first GME classes up and running in 1985 and it was parents who made the case for introducing GME in Renfrewshire in August - albeit new laws introduced by the Scottish government set out the process for such a request.

But with a Scottish Languages Bill in the offing and the government consulting until mid-November on matters Gaelic and Scots, might parents hope that in the future there will be less onus on them, that a more strategic approach be taken to Gaelic-medium education?

(Note - subscription required to access full article).


Maths Week Scotland 2022 - Maths wi nae borders

20 September 2022 (Maths Week Scotland)

Inspired by the annual Mathématiques sans Frontières contest, this mini-competition includes a language element and is for any class to complete together.

The challenge launches at the start of Maths Week Scotland on 26 September. Entries should be submitted by 22 October.

Visit the Maths Week Scotland website for more information.


e-Sgoil study support 2022-23

1 September 2022 (e-Sgoil)

Online study support sessions for learners in Scotland are again being offered by e-Sgoil. Registration for the autumn term evening webinars opens 5 September.

Visit the e-Sgoil website for details and sign-up information.


Perthshire parents reveal why they chose a Gaelic speaking school for their kids

25 August 2022 (The Courier)

Parents have revealed why they chose to send their children to a Gaelic speaking school in Perthshire and the benefits and opportunities it has opened up to their kids.

Mums Emma Allen-Crow and Ruth Birse both chose to send their children to Goodlyburn Primary School – a Gaelic medium education school in Perth, where P1-3 children are fully immersed in the language.

And in doing so, both mums – neither of whom speak Gaelic themselves – say there have been scores of benefits for their children, who are now bilingual.


New push to help Gaelic and Scots languages ‘thrive and grow’

24 August 2022 (TES)

A new consultation aimed at ensuring the long-term growth of the Gaelic and Scots languages has been launched today by the Scottish government.

The consultation seeks views on how to raise the profile of Scots, a new strategic approach to Gaelic-medium education (GME) and the growth of areas with a high percentage of Gaelic speakers. The consultation also covers the structure and function of Bòrd na Gàidhlig, the principal public body promoting Gaelic in Scotland.

The feedback received through the consultation will help to develop the forthcoming Scottish Languages Bill. The SNP promised in its 2021 Scottish Parliament election manifesto to bring forward “a new Scottish languages Bill which takes further steps to support Gaelic, acts on the Scots language and recognises that Scotland is a multilingual society”.

(Note - subscription required to access full article).


Scots and Gaelic languages should be preserved just like Scotland's wildcats and crossbills

20 August 2022 (The Scotsman)

In August 2002 Itchy Coo, an imprint dedicated to publishing books in Scots for young readers, launched its first four titles at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

Twenty years on, Itchy Coo has produced more than 80 titles, ranging from board books to graphic novels and collections of poems, fables, fairy tales and stories. The list includes many translations of works by the likes of Julia Donaldson, JK Rowling, Roald Dahl and Jeff Kinney.

As one of Itchy Coo’s founders as well as an editor and contributing author, I am of course pleased by the continuing success of the project. Not only has it put thousands of braw books into the hands of bairns, their families and their teachers, it has also challenged some deep-rooted negative perceptions of Scots, both within the education system and more generally across society.

This does not mean that the negativity − equating Scots with ‘slang’ or ‘bad English’, for example, or the vilification of individual writers or performers simply for using Scots − has entirely disappeared; nor does it mean that the loss of Scots vocabulary and idiom has not been substantial in many areas. Nevertheless, there are reasons to be hopeful.


National e-Learning Offer for Gaelic (Learners)

18 August 2022 (Education Scotland)

e-Sgoil, in partnership with UHI Outer Hebrides, is offering N5 and Higher e-Learning for Gaelic (Learners). This flexible route into Gaelic Learning may be of interest to senior phase learners, in particular those in S6 with an interest in languages, culture or music. Further information can be found in the flyer below and by visiting e-Sgoil's website. 

Flyer showing details of the N5 and Higher Gaelic e-learning sessions offered by eSgoil


Centenary celebration of poet who wrote in three languages

19 July 2022 (BBC)

A celebration of the centenary of a poet who wrote in three languages is being held in southern Scotland.

William Neill was born in Ayrshire in 1922 but lived in Dumfries and Galloway for much of his life.

A book of recollections, memories and tributes is being launched in Gatehouse of Fleet as part of the Big Lit festival on Thursday.

Poet Hugh McMillan said Mr Neill was not as well known as he deserved to be on the strength of his work in Scots, Gaelic and English.

Along with fellow poet Stuart Paterson, they have put together the book in his honour entitled The Leaves of the Years.


New research reveals Gaelic speakers' tongue movements

26 July 2022 (BBC)

Ultrasound recordings have been made of people speaking Gaelic to reveal how the tongue moves to produce the language's different sounds.

Gaelic has a large consonant system and some sounds - l, n and r - are each sounded three different ways.

The videos have been made available on a new website, Teangannan na Gàidhlig.

Researchers said the recordings could help people to learn Gaelic, and said they also shed new light on the "mechanics of bilingual speech".


Youngsters can learns Scots language at Paisley school for the first time

9 July 2022 (Daily Record)

Children from across Renfrewshire will be able to learn their lessons while speaking and writing in Scottish Gaelic at a Paisley school.

For the first time, pupils can benefit from special Gaelic provision, which initially consists of one class at West Primary School, rather than going to a Gaelic school in nearby council areas.


Gaelic Education Grants 2022/23

16 June 2022 (Bòrd na Gàidhlig)

Bòrd na Gàidhlig has set up this fund to support those currently working towards a career in Gaelic teaching or Gaelic-medium teachers looking to develop their professional skills.

This scheme is currently open for the 2022/23 academic year until 1 September 2022.

Visit the Bòrd na Gàidhlig website for more information about eligibility and how to apply.


Just what languages are spoken in the UK? (It's more than English)

8 May 2022 (The Travel)

If one goes to the United Kingdom - what language can one expect people to speak? The easy answer is of course English - and naturally, everyone speaks English there. But there are actually many languages in the British Isles. For the purposes of this article, we will include the British Crown Dependencies of the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands - even though technically they are not part of the UK.


Writing projects and competitions

19 April 2022 (Scottish Book Trust)

The Scottish Book Trust currently has open projects and competitions for aspiring writers! Follow the relevant link below to find out more about each one:

  • Young Scots Writer of the Year Award - Open to ages 11-18. Writing should be in Scots, whether you write a story, poem, play, song or make a short video.
  • Your Stories: Scotland's Stories - Category for under-16s as well as adults. Write about real life experiences. Entries can be in any form you like – a story, poem, comic strip, play, video, audio file, or letter. Entries welcome in Gaelic, Scots and English.

Both competitions have deadlines in June 2022.

If you need some inspiration, try some of the creative tasks on the StoryCon webpage. StoryCon is Scotland's biggest creative writing and illustration conference for young people which returned in March this year. Recordings of events are available online for a limited time.

Talking a good game: Big dreams of national side for Gaelic speakers

26 March 2022 (The Times)

It was in Canada and New Zealand that Calum Ferguson was inspired to create a national football team to represent the Scottish Gaels.

The 27-year-old striker, who has been close friends with Ryan Christie since their childhood in Inverness, is now on a mission to forge opportunities for Gaelic speakers at all levels of the game in this country, having witnessed how other nations seek to cherish and maintain minority languages and cultures.

Ferguson’s first awakening came in the Canadian Premier League, where he spent a season with Winnipeg-based Valour FC. One of their rivals was Halifax Wanderers in Nova Scotia, who make a major play on connecting with the Scottish and Gaelic roots in the community. Their motto is in Gaelic and translates as: “our harbour, our home, our soul.”

Ferguson, a former Albion Rovers player who studied and spoke Gaelic all the way through school but fell out of using it when he went full-time with Inverness Caley Thistle, was immediately taken with the approach.


Gaelic Arts: Drama workshops / Bùthan-obrach dràma

25 March 2022 (Glasgow Life)

Would you like to use your Gaelic in a creative way and have a go at script writing, acting, dancing or singing? Would you like to make Gaelic-speaking friends from across Glasgow? Here’s your chance to join a series of fun, informal workshops with drama professionals, for FREE!

From new speakers to fluent speakers, learners to choir singers, our community drama workshops are open to everyone with an interest in the Gaelic language.

Commencing 24 April, the series of workshops will run each Sunday through to 29 May 2022.

Visit the website to find out more and to book.


More than one million learners for Duolingo's Gaelic course

24 March 2022 (The Herald)

More than a million people have taken on a Scottish Gaelic course on the language-learning app Duolingo. 

A total of 1.12m people have started learning the language with the help of the popular app which first launched its Gaelic course on St Andrew's Day in 2019. 

(Note - subscription required to access full article).


Sharp rise in tourists interested in exploring the Gaelic language

21 March 2022 (The Herald)

When it comes to Scottish tourism, castles, lochs, wildlife and whisky are usually touted as the main attractions.

But over the last few years interest has been growing in a different aspect of the country’s culture – the Gaelic language.

VisitScotland has seen a 72 per cent rise in website visitors seeking out Gaelic content over the last four years, with a particular peak during the 2020 lockdown.

And now the language is being viewed as an important part of the sector’s future as it looks to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

This week sees the country celebrate the first ever World Gaelic Week (Seachdain na Gàidhlig), with VisitScotland using the event to highlight the significant role the language plays in tourism and events.


Community Campfires project to spark new stories

18 March 2022 (Scottish Book Trust)

Scottish Book Trust, the national charity changing lives through reading and writing, has today launched their Community Campfires residencies project. It marks the 14th year of Scottish Book Trust's annual Your Stories campaign and four intensive story making residencies will take place in communities across Scotland via the Story Wagon. The residencies are supported by EventScotland as part of Scotland's Year of Stories 2022.

The Story Wagon will tour: Garnock Valley, North Ayrshire; Greenock, Inverclyde; Lochgelly, Fife and the Western Isles, gathering real life stories from the public. Luke Winter, Navigation Officer of the Story Wagon, will be joined by a team of digital storytellers, filmmakers and podcasters producing content in English and Gaelic.

Visit the website for more information and tour dates from April to June 2022.


Inaugural Gaelic Week: 21-27 March 2022

15 March 2022 (Seachdain na Gàidhlig)

Gaelic week is the first culture and language week for Gaelic that will be held all over the country.

The week promotes Gaelic to all, both at official events and community initiatives, such as Irish Language Week in Ireland and Gaelic Awareness Month in Nova Scotia. It will enable Gaelic speakers and non-speakers to participate in a variety of ways that suit them; both in Scotland and abroad.

Visit the website for more information and see how you can get involved.


Joy Dunlop and Calum Maclean 'blown away' by BBC SpeakGaelic response as round two launches

14 March 2022 (The National)

After reaching half a million people since its launch last year, Scotland’s biggest Gaelic initiative is back for round two.

SpeakGaelic launched in 2021 with a multiplatform campaign to teach Scots Gaelic, with podcasts, a BBC Alba programme, social media posts and online resources at learners’ disposal.

The first instalment of the project was aimed at total beginners and those with little knowledge of Gaelic.

Now, SpeakGaelic has returned for season two and it’s aiming to build on the success of the first rollout.

Speaking to The National, BBC Alba’s SpeakGaelic presenter Joy Dunlop said the team were “blown away” by the response to the initiative.

Dunlop said: “We were all blown away by the response to SpeakGaelic. There have been over half a million people reached since its launch. And you could definitely feel that, particularly on social media that folk got really involved.

“This is a new way to learn Gaelic... There's a website, programming and podcasts, resources. And I think it's time for Gaelic learners to try something new.

“We've had some wonderful courses in the past. But it definitely felt like there was an appetite out there to get involved particularly after a lockdown and with the success of Duolingo. So many people had been doing a wee bit anyway on their phone and it was the next step for them.

“People really jumped in there and embraced every part of it and it was really lovely to see.”


SQA update to Advanced Higher Modern Languages revision support

14 March 2022 (SQA)

The SQA has published updated revision support notes for learners of Advanced Higher modern languages.

Visit the SQA Advanced Higher Modern Languages webpage. Updated documents can be found in the 2022 revision support for learners dropdown section.


Martin Compston on learning Gaelic and using his native Scottish accent on TV

11 March 2022 (Herald)

Martin Compston has revealed he is learning Gaelic for an upcoming BBC documentary project. Speaking to ITV's Lorraine, the actor also said he thinks using his native Scottish accent helps make his characters appear more charming. The star, originally from Greenock, is best known for playing the role of Detective Inspector Steve Arnott, who is English, in BBC drama Line Of Duty.


Oban parents saved almost 2,000 dumped Gaelic books

10 March 2022 (BBC News)

Parents managed to save almost 2,000 Gaelic books - some of the them brand new - before the skip they were found dumped in was removed, it has emerged. Earlier this week, Argyll and Bute Council said it was investigating why the books were thrown out near an education building in Oban.


Gaelic books dumped in skip in Oban prompts probe

8 March 2022 (BBC)

A large number of Gaelic language books have been found dumped in a skip in Oban.

Argyll and Bute Council is investigating why the books were thrown out near a building used by its education department.

Some of the books, which included children's literature and educational material, were new and still in their wrapping.


Seachdain na Gàidhlig - 21-27 March

17 February 2022 (Seachdain na Gàidhlig)

‘Seachdain na Gàidhlig’, is the first official nationwide language and culture week to be held in Scotland, from 21-27 March 2022.

The week promotes Gaelic to all, both at official events and community initiatives, such as Irish Language Week in Ireland and Gaelic Awareness Month in Nova Scotia. It will enable Gaelic speakers and non-speakers to participate in a variety of ways that suit them; both in Scotland and abroad.

Visit the website for more information or see the flyer for ways to get involved.


Bòrd na Gàidhlig provides new resource for career in Gaelic teaching

8 February 2022 (The Herald)

At this time of year, we often think about changing careers so you may find Bòrd na Gàidhlig's new resource useful if you are considering a new career in teaching through the medium of Gaelic.

Following on from the commitments in the National Gaelic Language Plan 2018-23 to recruit, retain and educate Gaelic teachers and to advertise Gaelic teaching as a career, Bòrd na Gàidhlig has created a new resource called a padlet. The padlet complements the existing General Teaching Council for Scotland's leaflet ‘So you want to teach in Gaelic?’.


Scottish Education Awards 2022

20 January 2022 (Scottish Education Awards)

The Scottish Education Awards celebrate the hard work and success which takes place in Scottish education.

The annual event recognises those who dedicate their lives to children and young people and showcases the valuable work and innovation in Scottish classrooms.

Nominations in each of the award categories, which includes the Gaelic Education Award, are now invited.

Visit the Scottish Education Awards website for more information and submit nominees by 23 February 2022.


The two Roses

18 January 2021 (SCILT/Twinkl)

SCILT has worked in partnership with Twinkl Scotland and Nil By Mouth to produce a new eBook with accompanying resources. The Two Roses is a tale about friendship, inclusion and tolerance available in English and Gaelic. This First Level resource gives educators the opportunity to talk about similarities and differences, friendship and kindness, teasing and bullying, through the lens of the two central characters.

Further, the resource discusses the ways rural and urban lifestyles can be vastly different for young children and how to be considerate of these different lifestyles. There are opportunities for cultural learning that challenge the notion that some ways of living are better than others. The light-hearted approach allows teachers and learners to tackle problematic beliefs in a kind way.


Scottish Gaelic supporters are trying to reverse the rapid decline of the language

27 December 2021 (Eminetra/FT)

When John Finlayson was growing, almost everyone in his community on Skye was fluent in Gaelic. Despite decades of official support for what was once the dominant language in most of Scotland’s highlands and islands, Finlayson is now the only neighbour of the island family’s croft that speaks it. 


Gleans Challenge

29 November 2021 (Gleans Alba)

Gaelic L2 and L3 schools the latest Gleans Challenge is here. Why not have a go at singing our Winter song or make your own colourful bodach-sneachda! 


Learning Languages by Distance Learning at the University of Dundee

23 November 2021 (University of Dundee)

At the University of Dundee, we have a long-established tradition of language teaching, both with students at the University and via distance learning. We offer the opportunity of learning languages at various levels via Distance learning. We use a combination of online tools to give students a range of experiences in the language. Experienced staff are responsible for the course design, delivery and student support.

Short Courses:

  • If you are interested in starting to learn a new language, you could enrol in our 25-Week Intensive distance learning courses (Languages modules offered in Chinese, French, Gaelic, German and Spanish). These courses start in the week commencing 10 January 2022. Registration is now open.
  • If you already have some knowledge of Chinese, French, Gaelic, German or Spanish, such as a rusty Higher, GCSE, or O-level, then you may consider enrolling in the 10-week revision languages courses. These courses start in the week commencing 25 April 2022.  10-Week Revision Courses. Registration is now open.

2-Year online French, German and Spanish Graduate Diplomas

These 2-Year Graduate Diplomas by Distance Learning for part-time study are accredited by the General Teaching Council for Scotland. They are ideally suited for Secondary MFL teachers seeking an additional qualification in French, German or Spanish, and also attract a wide range of professionals from across Britain, Europe and beyond.

The Graduate Diplomas aim to provide the challenges of an undergraduate curriculum in the relevant language. At the end of their studies, students achieve an advanced understanding and knowledge of the language being studied.

 Through an interdisciplinary process (Teaching Spanish in addition to French for example) and by interacting and exchanging ideas with other students from other parts of the UK, Europe and Overseas, students will be able to develop a critical understanding of their practice and education as a whole.

The Graduate Diplomas carry a rating of 120 SCOTCAT points (SCQF Levels 9-10).  The qualification outcome is bench-marked at C1 in the Council of Europe Reference Framework for Languages. Applicants will normally have a pass at Higher level (or equivalent) in the language. This level can be achieved through completion of one of the University of Dundee‘s Distance Learning Intensive or Revision courses Languages | University of Dundee.

The diplomas place emphasis on reflection, inquiry, critical analysis, personal consideration of research findings and actively promotes the values, principles and practices of equality, social justice, integrity, trust and respect, and professional commitment in all areas of work.

Registration of the 2022-2024 Graduate Diplomas (2-Year part-time French , German and Spanish graduate-level diploma courses) is now open. The diplomas start in the week commencing 26 September 2022.

For more information visit the University of Dundee website, or to discuss any aspects of the courses or your application , please contact


SQA vacancies - Visiting Assessors (VAs) of Advanced Higher Modern Languages performance-talking

9 November 2021 (SQA)

SQA is currently recruiting additional Visiting Assessors (VAs) of Advanced Higher Modern Languages performance-talking. VAs who have previously carried out this role do not need to reapply.

We would welcome applications for the following languages:

  • French
  • Gaelic (Learners)                       
  • German
  • Mandarin (Simplified)
  • Spanish

VAs will receive training/support and will complete a training exercise prior to attending a briefing event on Saturday 29 January 2022 in Glasgow.

Centre visits (dependent on Scottish Government health guidance) will be completed throughout mid-February to late March 2022. Up to 5 release days may be required to fulfil this role (number of release days is flexible).

Release fees and/or own time fees would be paid, as well as travel expenses.

Further detail, including selection criteria, is available via the link below, where you can submit your application. Deadline: 12 December.

If you need any further information, please contact


Book Week Scotland 2021

29 October 2021 (Scottish Book Trust)

Book Week Scotland is an annual celebration of books and reading that takes place across the country. Book Week Scotland 2021 will take place 15–21 November. 

There are events taking place to suit Scots and Gaelic speakers. Visit the Book Week Scotland website for more information.


Beairteas - Gaelic sessions for secondary pupils

7 October 2021 (e-Sgoil / Fèisean nan Gàidheal)

Beairteas is an intergenerational programme to match community-based fluent Gaelic speakers with schools and community groups.

In partnership with e-Sgoil, three sessions are planned during October and November 2021 giving S1-S6 pupils the opportunity to listen to some of our best known Gaelic personalities talk about their lives and interests. Pupils will also have an opportunity to join in the conversation and ask questions which will help to develop their own Gaelic. 

Visit the Fèisean nan Gàidheal website for more information and to register for the sessions.


'Some people find it very unusual that I speak Gaelic'

4 October 2021 (BBC)

Gaelic speakers of African and Caribbean descent have shared their experiences of the language in a new BBC Alba documentary.

Glaswegian student and musician Cass Ezeji says some people she meets think it is unusual she is fluent in Gaelic and also has African heritage. Her paternal grandfather is Nigerian.

Growing up, Cass went to the Glasgow Gaelic School, Sgoil Ghàidhlig Ghlaschu, which teaches at both primary and secondary school levels.

Cass' parents, who do not speak Gaelic, chose the school because they thought she would get a good education there.

But Cass says she felt "a little lost" in immersive Gaelic-medium education, and among peers whose families were from the Highlands and Islands - the Western Isles are Gaelic's "heartland".

She says she argued with her mum about having to go to the school, and even felt angry about it.

The 27-year-old says: "The impression I had when I left school was that I didn't feel part of the Gaelic world.

"I didn't see myself represented in the culture so there was something of a disconnect."

But she says she has since gained an appreciation of her education and describes herself as an Afro-Gael.


Scottish Gaelic Awards - nominations open!

21 September 2021 (Scottish Gaelic Awards)

The Scottish Gaelic Awards reward all aspects of the Gaelic language and culture across the length and breadth of the country.

The Daily Record, alongside headline sponsor Bòrd na Gàidhlig are proud to host the most prestigious night of the year within the Gaelic community calendar. Celebrating Gaelic culture, education and language highlighting the excellent work undertaken to maintain growth and heritage. The awards will take place on 16 November 2021 and nominations are now open!

Visit the website for information about the award categories and to submit your nomination.


SQA update to Advanced Higher Modern Languages coursework

21 September 2021 (SQA)

The SQA has published Advanced Higher Modern Languages Portfolio Answer Booklets. These can be found under the Coursework section of the SQA's AH Modern Languages webpage.


On-line videos give virtual taste of the islands' Gaelic culture

20 September 2021 (Stornoway Gazette)

A new collection of short videos that encourages visitors to experience and explore the Gaelic culture of the Outer Hebrides is now available online.

The six videos – produced for Outer Hebrides Tourism with the support of VisitScotland, CaMac and Bord na Gàidhlig – were developed in collaboration with local communities and community groups, and take viewers on a virtual journey through the islands, from the land raiders of Vatersay to the crofters of Ness.

The Gazette’s sister paper, The Scotsman, will be running features on Gaelic culture that link to the themes in the videos in their online edition this month.In each video, one or more islanders are interviewed in Gaelic, about a different aspect of island culture and their own personal connection with the language. Those with little or no Gaelic can follow the English subtitles.


FilmG competition 2021

16 September 2021 (FilmG)

FilmG is MG ALBA’s Gaelic short film competition which is delivered by Cànan Graphics Studio, the multi-media company based on the Isle of Skye. FilmG was launched in 2008 in order to develop new talent for the Gaelic channel BBC ALBA which was launched in the same year. Over this time it has received more than 700 short films and seen many young people begin their careers in Gaelic television broadcasting.

This year's FilmG is now open for entries. In the Youth category the competition is open to high school classes, independent filmmakers, and primary schools. High school Gaelic classes across Scotland can also take up the offer of 2 day filmmaking workshops to support entrants. 

Visit the FilmG website for more information and get entries in by 13 December 2021.


Revamped Inverness Castle to celebrate Gaelic culture in setting ‘to rival Edinburgh Tattoo’

16 September 2021 (Press and Journal)

One of Scotland’s first Gaelic gardens will be created at Inverness Castle.

The garden is part of a plan to showcase Gaelic language and culture in the ambitious castle redevelopment.

Members of the Highland Council Gaelic committee warmly welcomed the proposals at today’s meeting.

Chairman Allan Henderson said: “It’s an impressive project and I can certainly see when the next Mod comes to Inverness, the massed choirs up there on the esplanade in an area to rival the Edinburgh Festival Tattoo any time.”

You’d be forgiven for wondering what makes a garden Gaelic.

High Life Highland, which is leading the project for the council, say the plants chosen have stories that link back to Gaelic medicines, religion and traditions.

Gaelic phrases and alphabet will be set into the stone, helping to tell the story of the ancient culture.

Elsewhere, a ‘seanchaidh’ (traditional Gaelic storyteller) will welcome visitors to the castle and allow them to discover stories from all over Highland.


e-Sgoil study support webinars 2021

14 September 2021 (e-Sgoil)

During Autumn 2021 e-Sgoil is offering a programme of real time interactive Study Support Webinars.

A variety of subjects are on offer at different levels from National 4 to Advanced Higher. 

The webinars include sessions for students of French, Spanish and Gaelic. Classes have just started so there's still time for pupils to register.

Visit the e-Sgoil website for more information.


New fund will encourage island communities to increase use of Gaelic

23 August 2021 (Press and Journal)

A new fund is giving island communities a financial incentive to speak Gaelic more and help save the language.

The Gaelic Community Fund is being piloted in the Highlands, the Western Isles and Argyll and Bute.

It aims to encourage innovative ways to increase use of the language in its heartland.

Set up by Community Land Scotland (CLS), with support from Bòrd na Gàidhlig, it is mainly targeting community-owned areas.


The Kilted Otter initiative - An extended Scots Gaelic video game jam

19 August 2021 (The Kilted Otter)

Are you creative? Can you draw, sing, tell stories, play music, write poems, think out of the box? Do you want to learn more about Scots language and culture?

No experience necessary! We will take you from zero to game hero in two months!

Teams and individuals are welcome to apply.

Visit the website for more information and to sign up when registration opens on 1 September 2021.


The lessons from Ireland that could help save Gaelic in Scotland

15 August 2021 (The Scotsman)

Anna Nic Dhonncha is at work at a florists in Carraroe, County Galway, where folk drift in and out of the shop, exchanging the polite chat of the day in Irish.

Irish is the language of Anna’s home, her school life, her working life – and also her future.

Anna, 18, said: “I was brought up with Irish with my mum, my dad and my grandparents. I was schooled in Irish, everything in this community is done in Irish. In the shop we speak it. If you go to the library, it is spoken there. For me as a young person, it’s a big thing to have Irish and people want to learn it.

"I want to do primary school teaching – that it the dream. I want to pass it down to children, and then one day to my own family too.”


Edinburgh Art Festival: Anti-Brexit project sees Auld Lang Syne sung in Gaelic and EU languages

26 July 2021 (The Telegraph)

Concerns have been raised about the politicisation of Edinburgh's arts festivals after an anti-Brexit exhibit was set up with financial backing from the SNP Government.

Auld Lang Syne is to be sung in Gaelic and languages from all 27 EU member states as part of an installation at this year’s Edinburgh Art Festival, which opens on Thursday, in what organisers say is an attempt to “underscore the political concerns” about the UK’s departure.

A choir of recorded voices from across the continent will sing the traditional New Year’s anthem, written by Robert Burns, in an exhibition called ‘Sound of the Union’.


Police carry out ‘language audit’ in drive to encourage Gaelic speakers

12 July 2021 (The Times)

For decades police chiefs have recruited Highlanders and Islanders, often Gaels, to keep order in Scotland’s cities, but now they are trying to find out how many are left in their ranks.

Police Scotland have carried out a Gaelic audit to calculate how many officers and staff speak the language — and how many it, ideally, would need to do so.


Social media duo set to front Gaelic language initiative

11 July 2021 (Grampian Online)

BBC presenters and social media stars Joy Dunlop and Calum Maclean are to lead SpeakGaelic, a new language learning initiative aiming to transform take up of the language.

SpeakGaelic’s exciting and ambitious new Gaelic learning resources will provide a comprehensive framework for Gaelic language learning across TV, iPlayer, BBC Sounds, web, face-to-face classes, YouTube and other social media to attract and inspire learners and speakers.


Gaelic in crisis: A year on from report claiming the language ‘could collapse in a decade’, what has changed?

2 July 2021 (Press and Journal)

Today marks one year since a study was published warning that Gaelic was at risk of collapse within a decade.

The Gaelic Crisis in the Vernacular Community was compiled by researchers from the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) Language Sciences Institute and Soillse, a multi-institutional research collaboration.

It was said to be the most comprehensive social survey on the state of Gaelic communities ever conducted.

The findings seemed to set alarm bells ringing. But 12 months on, what has changed?

According to the report’s author Conchúr Ó Giollagáin, not a whole lot.

Mr Ó Giollagáin, professor of Gaelic research at UHI, believes there is still an impasse between Gaelic bodies and island communities over language decision-making.

He said there is need for “root and branch reform” and that new thinking and alternative views on a way forward should be considered.

‘The Gaelic Crisis in the Vernacular Community’ was published on July 2 last year.

Researchers studied the use of the language in the Western Isles, in Staffin in Skye and in Tiree. In these areas, Gaelic speakers could total just 11,000, most of them over 50.

The report warned Gaelic will collapse as a viable community language within a decade unless a radical new approach is taken to revitalise it.

Campaigners say Gaelic-speaking communities have been ignored and marginalised by policy makers and called for more local decision-making.


What next for Gaelic – new parliament, new start?

25 June 2021 (Bella Caledonia)

This week has seen a debate in the Scottish Parliament on the future direction of Gaelic policy, on a backbench motion tabled by Alasdair Allan, MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar (the Western Isles), with significant cross-party support. According to Allan, ‘The next parliamentary term will be important in securing the status and vitality of the Gaelic language. The SNP outlined the most ambitious commitments for Gaelic in the history of the Scottish Parliament in our 2021 election manifesto.’ To what extent is this true, and what kinds of progress in Gaelic development can we hope to see in the next few years?


e-Sgoil Gaelic courses from August 2021

15 June 2021 (e-Sgoil)

Formal registrations are now invited for e-Sgoil's national offer of Gaelic courses for the academic session commencing August 2021.

Visit the website for further information and to register pupils (Glow login required).


Gaelic campaigners accuse SNP of 'sidelining' crisis facing language

31 May 2021 (The Herald)

Gaelic campaigners have accused the SNP Government of "sidelining" the crisis facing the language as they called for urgent talks over its future.

In an open letter, new campaign group Guth nan Siarach said speakers are "effectively excluded from the decision-making processes for our native language in its own place". 

(Note - subscription required to access full article).


Bòrd na Gàidhlig new website

20 May 2021 (Bòrd na Gàidhlig)

The recently renewed website from Bòrd na Gàidhlig includes useful information about all sectors of gaelic education in Scotland, along with guidance documentation.

Resources are all available in the Education section of the website.


Free Gaelic lessons for Glasgow City Council staff

3 May 2021 (BBC)

Fèisean nan Gàidheal has developed a course for Glasgow City Council staff as part of the authority's aim to develop Gaelic in the city.

The Gaelic arts organization is working with the council after many staff indicated that they would like to learn the language.

The online lessons for adults will be available over nine weeks and the course will start on the 4th of May.


Stornoway Primary School Boy Wins Gaelic Award Four Years After Arriving From Syria

26 April 2021 (Stornoway Gazette)

A Stornoway Primary School Pupil, whose family moved to Lewis from war-torn Syria, has gone viral this week after receiving an award for the progress he has made in learning Gaelic.

Ten year old Abdullah Al Nakeeb moved to Stornoway from Homs, four years ago. Now in Primary Six, Abdullah has a good grasp of the local language.

The Al Nakeeb family said: “We are really proud of Abdullah, he loves going to school here and Gaelic has become one of his favourite subjects.

"Addullah always works really hard and it is nice to see him get praise for all his efforts.

“We never expected our son to learn the language but since moving here he has managed to pick up Gaelic very quickly.

"His younger brother Majd has also got a good grasp of the language and received a certificate for his progress in December.

“Hopefully Abdullah’s brothers will continue to follow in his footsteps, it would be great to have them all speaking a new language.”


Cuach Na Cloinne 2021 - The Player

24 April 2021 (FC Sonas/CnaG)

FC Sonas, the bilingual football service, is delighted to be working in partnership with CnaG to offer 4 online sessions to pupils in Gaelic medium education (primary and secondary) across the country to celebrate Cuach na Cloinne 2021.

FC Sonas will speak to some of the Gaelic speakers to be found in the world of football, both players and experts. There will be debates, questions, challenges and much more.

Visit the website for more information and to register your child/class by 5 May 2021.


A Linguistic Guide to Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla

21 April 2021 (Wired)

Invading my own country has been one of the most surreal experiences of playing Assassin's Creed: Valhalla, and the variety of languages included in the game makes it one of the most thought-provoking.

Assassin’s Creed is an award-winning historical action game series known for putting players in the middle of transformative events in history. Valhalla is set during the Viking invasions of Britain, during which the main character, Eivor, and their brother Sigurd embark on a quest to conquer a new land. They travel by boat from their native country Norway to a place that is home to new Viking settlers, eager to forge their own legacy of glory. This gave me an outsider's perspective of my own country, eavesdropping on everyday conversations in busy settlements and deciphering the origin of war cries on mountainsides.

I was interested in the variety of languages and dialects used in the game—which takes place in Norway, England, and beyond. Assassin’s Creed developer Ubisoft put an impressive amount of effort into accurately representing the languages included. A variety of specialists and translators were brought on board by Ubisoft to bring the game world to life.


SNP announce plans to explore creation of recognised Gaelic-speaking area

14 April 2021 (The Herald)

The SNP has announced plans to secure the future of Gaelic by investing in education and exploring the creation of a recognised Gaelic-speaking area. 

The party said it will work to ensure Gaelic flourishes throughout Scotland as well as in its traditional heartlands if it is re-elected in May.

It also said it would "review the functions and structures" of Bòrd na Gàidhlig (BnG), the quango responsible for promoting the language. 

BnG has been the focus of criticism over its performance. 

The SNP said it would look into creating a recognised "Gàidhealtachd" to raise levels of language competence and encourage the provision of more services in Gaelic.

The Gaidhealtachd is the area of Scotland where people speak Gaelic and usually refers to the Highlands and islands. 


Gaelic Scotland: Ancient speakers named the landscape depending on its usefulness

18 March 2021 (The Herald)

The importance of nature and Scotland's environment to its ancient Gaelic-speaking people has been revealed in a new report. 

Gaelic writer and broadcaster Roddy Maclean (Ruairidh MacIlleathain) examined placenames in the landscape, folklore, stories, poems and songs.

He found a wealth of evidence left behind about the ways in which the natural world was useful and valuable, such as clean air, fertile soils and timber; as well as recreation and spiritual benefits.

His analysis shows that nature was fundamental to the earliest people and subsequent generations who lived and thrived in Scotland.

Report author, Roddy Maclean, said: “My research highlights the strong, abiding presence of nature in the Gaelic language and culture in Scotland.

"While we’re currently re-learning how important nature is in our modern way of life, the benefits were well known by our ancestors – as can be seen in the original Gaelic names and stories that have endured in the world around us.

“The Gaels knew that we’re all connected to the natural world, and that human life depends on nature for survival – something that’s as true today as it was back then.”


How Scottish Gaelic is helping protect Scotland’s seas

5 March 2021 (The Conversation)

Regulations brought in following the UK’s departure from the EU have delayed the export of live shellfish to Europe, causing entire lorry loads of lobsters and langoustines to expire in Scotland’s ports.

Fishing is a relatively small part of the UK’s economy, but fishing rights dominated much of the Brexit negotiations with the European Union. And with the UK free of the EU’s environmental protections, fishing is once more a battleground for competing ideas in marine conservation.

While these debates nearly always concern numbers – catch quotas, stock levels, prices and tariffs – focusing on these quantifiable aspects alone can lead us to overlook the values that keep people fishing in the first place.

Our research on inshore fishing in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides – a sparsely populated island chain off the west coast – took us from boats to processing plants and archives, revealing a commitment to sustainability that’s rooted in more than just legislation. We found that nurturing the culture and language of these islands is as important as protecting wildlife to preserve a thriving marine environment for generations to come.

Around 75% of fishermen in the Outer Hebrides are Gaelic speakers, far higher than the 61% of speakers for the islands’ population as a whole. Scottish Gaelic is a Celtic language – related to, but quite distinct from Irish Gaelic – once spoken across much of Scotland, yet now primarily confined to its westernmost isles. The language declined over the 20th century and now has around 60,000 speakers.

Fishermen’s daily use of the language at work helps pass it on to the next generation, as young people become immersed in Scottish Gaelic while out on the boats and in the processing plants where the catch is landed.


Scottish island launches search for new Gaelic song to help prevent language from dying out

14 February 2021 (The Scotsman)

The Isle of Gigha, off the west coast of Kintyre, wants to commission a new song that can also be learned by non-Gaelic speakers who currently live there.


Boost to future of Gaelic language with launch of major new learning initiative

10 February 2021 (Herald)

From last year pupils starting school in the Western Isles will automatically be taught in Gaelic. The Gaelic First policy was introduced by the islands council to help boost use of the language and give children the benefits of being bilingual. Now the most comprehensive approach to learning Gaelic in a generation is being launched later this year.

SpeakGaelic will launch in September with a course and a dedicated on-demand learning website. 


Posted in: Gaelic

Shettleston, Gartnavel, Auchenshuggle - the Gaelic influences on Glasgow place names

31 January 2021 (Glasgow Evening Times)

Gaelic was once a significant local language in Glasgow and its environs and there is still evidence of its influence today.

Often, some of the earliest evidence of the language spoken in a particular area can be found in its place names - take Shettleston, for example, or Baile Nighean Seadna (Seadna’s daughter’s farm), linking the area to a Gaelic-speaking woman of around 1170, or Gartnavel and Auchenshuggle - the Gaelic word ‘gart’ means farm, while ‘auch’ comes from achadh meaning ‘field’ or ‘farm’. 


University of Dundee distance learning courses

11 January 2021 (University of Dundee)

Registration for the University of Dundee 25-Week Intensive courses by distance learning in French, Gaelic, German, Mandarin and Spanish is now open and extended until 15 January 2021. 

These courses are accredited at 20 SCQF credits. They will take students from the basics up to a standard equivalent to a Scottish Higher and beyond. They are taught by online distance learning via the University of Dundee virtual learning environment. From week 1, students on the courses will have a weekly online session with a native language tutor to give them the chance to practice what they have learnt and to clarify any queries they may have.  

More information is available on the University of Dundee website. 


The Big Read: From Gaelic-only housing to second homes, the fight to save a language

26 December 2020 (The Herald)

Gaelic is in crisis. As a community language, it could die out within a decade.

That was the stark conclusion of a book-length study published in the summer.

But momentum is building to reverse this decline, and those at the top are open to radical proposals.

Scotland’s Finance Secretary Kate Forbes told The Herald she would support the idea of housing developments reserved for Gaelic speakers.

She fears parts of the Highlands and islands could become retirement villages or ghost towns amid a rise in second homes.


Duolingo Gaelic app deemed a huge success worldwide

1 December 2020 (The Herald)

More than 560,000 people around the world have signed up to learn Gaelic - nearly ten times the official number of native speakers. 

Bosses at language learning app Duolingo hailed their Scottish Gaelic course a 'huge success', following a surge in popularity - despite only launching last year. 

Around a third of learners on the site are from Scotland, with another third from the US, and the remainder from around the world, including 8 per cent from Canada. 

It comes after Scottish campaign groups issued stark warnings over the decline of the language - claiming for first time in history there is a danger it could become extinct.


Fèis Rois launches new songwriting project for young Gaels passionate about the environment

18 November 2020 (The Herald)

Young Gaelic speakers who have a passion for the environment and a talent for songwriting could have their chance to shine, thanks to a new songwriting project launched by Highland arts organisation, Fèis Rois. 

The competition, which is open to applicants until November, Monday 23, is calling on budding Gaelic songwriters from secondary schools across the Highlands to come up with new Gaelic material, connected to the environment and Scotland's landscape. 

Fèis Rois, an arts organisation based in Dingwall, Ross-shire, has collaborated with NatureScot to launch 'Caithream na Cruinne', aimed at emerging Gaelic songwriters who take their inspiration from nature and the current environmental challenges. 


SQA Modern Languages course reports

9 November 2020 (SQA)

Advanced Higher course reports for the 2019 diet have been added to the SQA website for Gaelic (Learners), German and Spanish.


Edinburgh considers sites for Gaelic-language school

7 November 2020 (The Times)

Plans to create a dedicated Gaelic secondary school in Edinburgh have been boosted by a surge of interest from parents keen for their children to become immersed in the language.

Councillors have begun a consultation on where the facility should be located after committing to turning the project into a reality.

The Glasgow Gaelic School regularly outperforms every other secondary in the city, with half of sixth-years achieving five or more Highers. It is hoped that a new minority language school in the capital would mirror its success.

(Note - subscription required to access full article).


Bòrd na Gàidhlig calls on young people to help guide Gaelic into a new era

30 October 2020 (Bòrd na Gàidhlig)

Gaelic organisations are asking young people across the country to stand up and be heard as Bòrd na Gàidhlig launch opportunities for their voices to be listened to. 
BnG will be running online surveys for young people based on their opinions and ideas for Gaelic usage and how to increase this within their communities. 
The two surveys, which will be distributed to schools and community groups, are for Primary 5-7, Secondary pupils S1-S6 and for school leavers. The surveys will run until 15 November as the Gaelic development body collates opinions critical to the future of the language and how young people can help contribute to this across Scotland. 

More information can be found on the attached press release or by visiting the Bòrd na Gàidhlig website.


Related Files

Book Week Scotland 2020

28 October 2020 (Scottish Book Trust)

Book Week Scotland is an annual celebration of books and reading, supported by Creative Scotland and SLIC. This year's Book Week Scotland will be taking place from 16 to 22 November 2020.

The programme of events is now available. All are taking place online and whilst most are free to attend, the events are ticketed so make sure you book in advance.

As always, there's a selection of readings and events which will appeal to linguists. This year's collection of stories and poems on the subject of Future contains entries in Scots and Gaelic and the e-book is now available to download. For younger learners you can always access the Authors on Demand session exploring The Gruffalo in Scots and Gaelic.


Learning in Gaelic helps improve English

26 October 2020 (The Herald)

It is the secret to learning good English – go to a Gaelic school.

Research has shown that learning in a minority language makes you better at speaking a global one.

Scientists have long known that being bilingual in two major languages – such as Spanish and French or German and Russian – helps develop cognitive abilities.

A study led by Heriot-Watt associate professor Maria Garraffa has now compared the English of monolingual children with those who were immersed in Gaelic Medium Education (GME).

Ms Garraffa, a native Italian, and her team found the GME youngsters outperformed those taught in English – in English.

Writing in the Times Educational Supplement, Ms Garraffa said: “The research revealed that speaking Gaelic does not affect the ability to speak well in English and that being bilingual actually improves competency. We found bilingual pupils are better in complex language in English and also have better concentration, as reported in other studies on bilingualism.

“We clearly proved the positive effects of bilingualism are not contingent upon learning a global, widely spoken language, like French or Spanish, but are also true when it comes to a small heritage language like Gaelic.”


Gaelic language expected to die out in a decade, but can it be saved?

23 October 2020 (Channel 5 News)

Scottish Gaelic is a language which is set to die out in the next decade. The University of the Highlands and Islands says only 11,000 people can speak it, most over the age of 50. So how can it be saved?

See the Channel 5 video report on YouTube.


How a Gaelic education brings bilingual benefits

21 October 2020 (TES)

Being educated in Gaelic – even if you don’t speak it outside school – delivers the benefits of bilingualism, study shows.

Gaelic is not my first or second language – I’m from Italy originally and my second language is English – but for the past 10 years I have been researching the effects of learning Gaelic, a language that is not dominant in the community in Scotland.

Why? Because I wanted to know if the positive effects on the brain of bilingualism, as shown in past research, are apparent even if the language is a minority language and one that is only spoken – by some pupils – in school.

Crucially, we have found that they are.

We have now finalised the first study on cognition and language abilities in secondary school students attending Gaelic medium education. In this first piece of research, just published, we found significant benefits of speaking Gaelic alongside a global language such as English.

(Note - subscription required to access full article).


Secondary school Gaelic immersion study reports positive effects of bilingualism on language and cognition

20 October 2020 (Bòrd na Gàidhlig)

A ground-breaking study into how Gaelic is perceived by secondary school pupils and how it develops their linguistic and cognitive skills found significant benefits of speaking the language alongside a global language such as English.

The immersion study, funded by Bord na Gàidhlig, was led by Dr Maria Garraffa and a team from Heriot-Watt University, together with Prof Bernadette O’Rourke from University of Glasgow and Prof Antonella Sorace from the University of Edinburgh.

They worked together with senior pupils from The Glasgow Gaelic School, the largest provider of Gaelic medium education in Scotland, to find out how our younger generation of Gaelic speakers view and use the language. It examined for the first time particularly whether older teenagers, after 15 years of education in Gaelic, continued to speak Gaelic or what might lead them to stop.

The research revealed that speaking Gaelic does not affect the ability to speak well in English – and that being bilingual provides more opportunities for those fluent in both.


The Glasgow teacher who has led Gaelic education surge

18 October 2020 (The Herald)

The head teacher who has overseen a surge in demand for Gaelic Medium Education in Glasgow has said her own childhood experience of English-only lessons as a native speaker fuelled efforts to improve access to the language in schools.

Donalda McComb will now say “Beannach Leibh” to teaching after 34 years and heading up the city’s first joint campus, which combines a nursery, primary and secondary that was ranked ninth best performing high in this year’s league tables.

Glasgow is home to the largest number of Gaelic speakers outwith the Highlands and Islands, a mix of native speakers who move for university or jobs and those coming through Gaelic medium education (GME) or learning independently. 


Virtual Mod is certain to be a highlight of the Gaelic year

9 October 2020 (The Herald)

It’s the highlight of the Gaelic year and the community has come together to make sure the Mod will still take place – albeit in virtual form.

In common with all other major cultural events, the annual Mod has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic but although this has resulted in a dramatic change to the format there has been a positive outcome, according to James Graham, Chief Executive of An Comunn Gàidhealach.

The decision to cancel the week long physical event was taken in May but the organisers, aware of the huge impact this would have on the Mod community, agreed to create an online version to fill the void in October.

While Mr Graham admits it was a daunting task, the switch has resulted in many more entries from across the world.

“We have had a lot of interest from people who would not necessarily got over to the Mod because of the travel costs,” he said. “But one of the positives this year was that they could actually take part by recording from where they were.”


'Teachers key to development of Gaelic language in Scotland' claim as new three-year plan unveiled

2 October 2020 (Ross-shire Journal)

The vital role of teachers in the promotion of the Gaelic language in Scotland is acknowledged in a new three-year plan.

The General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTC Scotland) has launched its revised Gaelic Language Plan.

The plan sets out four key commitments:

  • To raise awareness of Gaelic as a language and to support its use through integrated communications.
  • To support the development of learning and teaching in Gaelic throughout Scotland.
  • To encourage growth of the Gaelic language both within GTC Scotland and externally.
  • To promote and support teacher professional development in the Gaelic language.

It complements the National Gaelic Language Plan which aims to promote the language and culture in Scotland. It outlines the need to explore new routes to promote, recruit, educate and retain the Gaelic education workforce and review existing routes into the profession.

And it acknowledges the role GTC Scotland has to play in addressing these challenges.


Related Links

New plan to promote Gaelic revealed (The Northern Times, 3 October 2020)


Misneachd: Gaelic campaign group launches radical manifesto ahead of Holyrood election

30 September 2020 (The Herald)

A Gaelic campaign group has published a new manifesto urging Scotland’s political parties to embrace radical measures to reverse the decline of the language.

Misneachd is calling for controls on second homes and consideration of Gaelic-speaking housing developments alongside a raft of other proposals.

It said a new government-backed target should aim for all those living in the Western Isles to be able to speak at least some Gaelic.


Bilingualism: why boosting the rights of minority language speakers could help save Gaelic in Scotland

15 September 2020 (The Conversation)

In recent months there has been talk of a “Gaelic crisis” in Scotland, based on a study that predicts Gaelic may be disappearing across the country. I do not speak Gaelic, but I have spent five years researching bilingualism, and as a German native speaker who has lived in Scotland for over a decade, I am intimately familiar with what it means to communicate in a second language.

When we talk about bilingualism, we often assume that people are equally fluent in both languages and use them equally often. The reality is that some bilinguals may be more proficient in one language than the other and, while some will use both languages equally often, others will use one language more frequently than the other.

The question of how frequently a bilingual person uses a particular language brings us back to the decline in the number of of active Gaelic speakers in Scotland. Despite the ubiquity of bilingual English-Gaelic road signs and the historic presence of the Scots language, Scotland has remained mostly monolingually English. This in itself is not surprising. Just seeing a language pictured does little to help us learn it; we need to actively use a language to accomplish this and, perhaps more importantly, continue to use it.


e-Sgoil Study Support Webinars

11 September 2020 (e-Sgoil)

Young people from across Scotland are participating in a series of live study support webinar lessons being delivered by e-Sgoil. 

Building on the success of the e-Sgoil ‘lockdown’ offer - where over 3,000 young people from across the country participated in real-time e-Sgoil lessons from their homes - the package of study support seeks to complement the work being done by schools by providing free, live, interactive webinar lessons in an extensive range of courses at Level 5 (National 5) and Level 6 (Higher). 

Twenty courses are currently on offer in the evenings, in a range of subjects including French, Gaelic, Gaidhlig, Mandarin, Spanish, Business Management, Chemistry, Computing Science, Eachdraidh, English, History, Maths, Music, Physics and RMPS. 

e-Sgoil Study Support live webinar lessons are scheduled to run for a period of eight weeks in the first instance and employ a ‘flipped’ learning approach, where participants undertake prior learning using supplied resources before attending the real-time 45-minute webinar lesson, hosted in Glow. All e-Sgoil live webinar lessons are delivered by subject specialists and are scheduled after school in the evening.  

Angus Mclennan, Head Teacher of e-Sgoil commented:
“e-Sgoil is delighted to offer Senior Phase pupils from across Scotland the opportunity to participate in a wide-range of live webinar lessons that will reinforce school-based learning. Each webinar lesson is a stand-alone learning experience, so new participants are welcome to sign-up to join future sessions”. 

Young people can sign-up directly by simply accessing the e-Sgoil Study Support registration form at

(Pupil Glow login details and Scottish Candidate Number (SCN) are required as part of the registration process). 

How technology kept Scotland's Gaelic-speaking community connected during lockdown

19 August 2020 (The Herald)

With lockdown cutting us off physically from the communities around us, technology has been a vital tool for keeping connected.

This was particularly true for Scotland’s Gaelic-speaking community, with some pioneering young people using online methods to keep the language alive - and its community of speakers connected.

Calum Ferguson, 25, and Donnie Forbes, 23, decided to team up to combine their passion for Gaelic with a love of football. During lockdown, they created YouTube videos that challenged youngsters to practice football tricks while speaking Gaelic phrases.

“If I film myself passing a ball while saying the phrase ‘pass the ball’ in Gaelic, kids eventually put two and two together and learn the language that way,” explains Donnie. “People are seeing us deliver the action, say the action at the same time- that helps the language click.”

“People learn languages in different ways,” adds Calum. “Some will learn by sitting down and reading a textbook, some by speaking it, but others might find that visual learning is best. What we feel is important is giving as many resources as you can to people, to offer plenty of opportunities to speak the language.”


Kirk on a mission to save Gaelic by spreading the word

11 August 2020 (The Times)

The battle to save Gaelic from extinction is taking divine inspiration from the Church of Scotland, which has vowed to promote the language in its services and sermons.

Research published last week suggested that Gaelic would struggle to survive beyond the current decade without urgent preservation measures.

In response the Kirk has produced a guide which will encourage people to speak, preach, read and write in Gaelic during worship and Bible study.


Gaelic language in 'crisis' in island heartlands

2 July 2020 (BBC)

Gaelic-speaking island communities could vanish within 10 years unless language policies are changed dramatically, according to a new study.

Researchers said daily use of Gaelic was too low in its remaining native island areas to sustain it as a community language in the future.

They have called for a shift away from institutional policies to more community-based efforts.

The study surveyed Gaelic communities in the Western Isles, Skye and Tiree.

The Scottish government said Gaelic was a vital part of Scotland's cultural identity and it was interested in the proposals set out in the new study.


Surge in online Gaelic learners during coronavirus lockdown

24 June 2020 (The Herald)

It seemed to be on a one-way road to extinction but now signs of a revival are emerging.

The number of people looking to take online lessons in Gaelic has surged to a record high since the start of the coronavirus lockdown, new data shows.

MG ALBA, the Gaelic media service, said that over 114,000 unique users accessed the LearnGaelic website between March 23 and June 2.


Scotland Learns - Gaelic medium resources

21 May 2020 (Education Scotland)

Education Scotland has created a new portal, Scotland Learns, to help practitioners and parents support children's home learning during school closures.

This week on Scotland Learns the team has added a range of learning activities for parents and carers whose children learn through the medium of Gaelic. Learning activities are also available in English to support parents and carers who may not speak Gaelic. 


PGDE: Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (Gaelic medium)

7 May 2020 (Sabhal Mòr Ostaig)

If you already have a degree and are interested in teaching through the medium of Gaelic, this a post-graduate diploma in teaching could be the ideal opportunity for you.

Offered by Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, part of the University of the Highlands and Islands network, the one year distance learning course is available in pathways for primary and secondary education. 

Visit the Sabhal Mòr Ostaig website for more information.


Education Scotland News Digest

24 April 2020 (Education Scotland)

Education Scotland's latest news digest is now available to view online. This edition includes resources available to support schools and parents during closures, information about new Gaelic Bookbug stories and the Young Scots Writer of the Year Competition.


More Gaelic TV from BBC Alba to help pupils in lockdown

14 April 2020 (The National)

Gaelic broadcasting bosses are to show more children’s content to support young speakers while schools are off.

Extra programmes on science, maths and other curriculum mainstays will be shown on BBC Alba from today.

The Gaelic-medium channel already runs children’s shows from 5pm-7pm every day. Additional content will also be available on the BBC iPlayer.

It is hoped that “children won’t even realise they are learning and developing their skills” when watching the tailored material.

Margaret Mary Murray, head of service at BBC Alba, said: “We hope these fabulous learning programmes will offer useful support to teachers, parents and carers and fun learning opportunities for children.”


Number of Gaelic learners outstrips entire population of Highlands and Islands

13 April 2020 (The Scotsman)

Around 300,000 people are now learning Scottish Gaelic on the free Duolingo app with the course launched just over five months ago.

The number of Gaelic learners using the app now outstrips the entire population of the Highland and Western Isles council areas, where a total of around 265,000 people live.


Outlander: 10 Best Gaelic Phrases To Use In Everyday Life

30 March 2020 (Screen Rant)

Outlander is peppered with Scots Gaelic phrases, and these are the best to add to your everyday vocabulary.


Interested in learning Scotland's mother tongue? Then choose Gaelic Duolingo

20 March 2020 (The Herald)

The decision by the world’s most popular language learning platform to offer courses in Gaelic has sparked renewed interest in the ancient tongue.

Gaelic Duolingo only launched last November but around 120,000 people have signed up to it - more than the 58,000 speakers of the language in Scotland.

It has also had a positive effect on other Gaelic language providers such as Sabhal Mòr Ostaig on Skye and LearnGaelic, a free online companion for beginners, intermediates and advanced learners. LearnGaelic editor Eilidh Lewsey believes it shows people are interested in reconnecting with their heritage.


Modern Languages webinars

19 March 2020 (SCILT/CISS)

Along with our partners at e-Sgoil, the SCILT and CISS teams are currently working on live webinars to support youngsters working on National Qualifications in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Mandarin and Gaelic. This will compliment the work already being done by teachers across the country so that youngsters due to sit National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher qualifications do not have their learning interrupted. We will give further information via our usual networks and social media. 

How a brilliant 18th century linguist linked the Celtic languages

13 March 2020 (The Conversation)

The Scottish Gaelic language is experiencing a new surge of interest in Scotland and further afield. A Gaelic course launched on language learning app Duolingo in November 2019 has attracted 232,000 active learners in just four months, meaning there are just over four times more learners than there are Gaelic speakers in Scotland. Education in Gaelic is also experiencing high demand and expanding both within and beyond the language’s stronghold in the Western Isles.

Though once the primary spoken language in the majority of Scotland, Gaelic is a language that has been on retreat for several centuries. The current wave of initiatives to promote the language are to be welcomed, but this is not the first time that people have sought to make the language more accessible to others.


Gaelic theatre company Theatre Gu Leor tackle loss of land and language in new show Maim

9 March 2020 (The Scotsman)

One of the great strengths of Gaelic culture in Scotland is that it cares not at all for the traditional distinctions between art forms; in the Gaelic-speaking world, music, song and theatre tend to appear as aspects of the same mighty storytelling tradition. 

[..] “Maim is a Gaelic word that means panic, terror, consternation or alarm,” explains Muireann Kelly, after a week of rehearsals at the National Theatre of Scotland’s Glasgow base, “and there’s no doubt that we want this show to confront some huge and frightening issues we all face now. It’s about the continuing decline of native Gaelic language and culture in the islands, despite more people learning the language in the central belt of Scotland; and it’s also about the threat posed to traditional Hebridean and West Highland landscapes by climate change, as the sea rises into the machair.

[..] The only way you can really protect a language and culture is make new things out of it, to make it part of the present and future as well as the past; and that’s what we try to do.

[..] See Maim in Glasgow, Edinburgh and on tour to Inverness, Aberdeen, Oban and across the islands until 28 March.


Gaelic newsletter

5 March 2020 (Education Scotland)

Education Scotland has published its Gaelic newsletter.


Plan to preserve Gaelic language links in Clackmannanshire

4 March 2020 (Alloa Advertiser)

Proposals to secure the status of the Gaelic language in the Wee County will go before elected members tomorrow.

Councillors will hear about the progress so far in implementing the Gaelic Language Act in the area, and are set to agree proposals going forward. The council's corporate logo is already bilingual and key high-profile signage is being updated to demonstrate equal respect for both Gaelic and English, locally.

There are currently limited services to enable Gaelic speakers to engage with the council; however, plans are to further develop opportunities by offering a translation service for attendance at public meetings or when speaking to services.


Related Links

Language plan approved: 'Suas leis a' Ghàidhlig' in Clacks (Alloa Advertiser, 6 March)

Gaelic-English book sent to Moray primary schools

28 February 2020 (The Northern Scot)

A children's book written in a mixture of English and Gaelic has been sent to primary schools in Moray.

Bheat an Sù (The Zoo Vet) was sent to schools all across Scotland. It's the first bilingual book from the educational publisher Twinkl, which creates books and online resources used across the world.

The book provides an accessible and inclusive route into Gaelic for all learners, regardless of their background or previous experience of the language. The book has been designed to help schools deliver the Scottish Government's Languages 1+2 policy, where all pupils have the opportunity to learn one other language from primary one and a second from primary five.


Gaelic CLPL Opportunity - Streap: Postgraduate Certificate in Gaelic Medium Education

24 February 2020 (Sabhal Mòr Ostaig)

The fully funded Postgraduate Certificate in Gaelic Medium Education (Streap) is a Master’s Level qualification of 60 credits at SCQF Level 11. 

The programme is aimed at Gaelic speaking GTCS registered teachers (nursery, primary or secondary) who are seeking Gaelic medium education CLPL, or those who are currently in English medium education and who wish to further develop their skills, knowledge and understanding in order to teach in Gaelic medium education. 

Visit the website for more information and apply now for September 2020 start.


Skye's the limit at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig - a unique Gaelic-only college set in a stunning island location

24 February 2020 (The Herald)

As global interest in Gaelic grows, students from across the world are travelling to Skye to study at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the National Centre for Gaelic Language and Culture.

Situated in the stunningly beautiful peninsula of Sleat in the south end of the island, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig is a unique Gaelic-only environment and the only college of its kind offering further and higher education through the medium of the language.

The college offers a range of provision from beginners’ courses to a PhD, with the flexibility of studying part-time or full-time, on campus or via distance learning. At a crucial time in the survival of the language, graduates have helped create a Gaelic speaking workforce that now holds key posts across a wide range of sectors in Scotland.

Sabhal Mòr Ostaig is one of the key partners in fulfilling the government’s objectives in the National Gaelic Plan, which aims to increase the number of people speaking the language and accelerate the growth of Gaelic.

Many people are keen to learn more about the language because of its rich culture and the college provides a wide range of short courses in Gaelic language, song and traditional music. Ceilidhs, workshops, conversation circles and music sessions all create an encouraging atmosphere that bring together students from 30 countries across five continents. 


Ferry passengers to be treated to special performances

20 February 2020 (The Press and Journal)

Passengers on CalMac ferries will be treated to a performance which celebrates the waters surrounding the Western Isles and the people who travel on them.

With the help of local communities and world class artists, Ferry Tales will bring a musical tale, told using English, Gaelic, and sign language, to three of Scotland’s major ferry routes.

Travellers from Oban to Craignure, Ullapool to Stornoway and Wemyss Bay to Rothesay will all have the chance to enjoy the show. Ferry Tales will feature songs by Scottish folk singer Josie Duncan, who is originally from Lewis and known for songs in Gaelic, Scots and English.


Edinburgh's fight for Gaelic school immortalised in new book

19 February 2020 (The Scotsman)

It was a fight that deeply divided language activists and their opponents and rumbled on in the Capital for 14 long years.

Now the campaign to have a dedicated Gaelic primary school in the Capital has been turned into a new book.

Ever since 2013 the city has had its first Gaelic medium education (GME) school at Bun-Sgoil Taobh na Pàirce, a formerly mothballed primary school in Bonnington.

Previously the Gaelic “school” had been simply a unit within Tollcross Primary.

Às na Freumhan, “From the Grassroots”, by Gaelic language expert Tim Armstrong tells the story of the sometimes bitter debate which raged around the subject of Gaelic medium education in the late 20th and early 21st centuries and the fight to get agreement for Taobh na Pàirce to be built.


Gaelic education detractors 'like bad 1970s comedians'

19 February 2020 (TES)

Critics of Gaelic-medium education are so out of touch they are like embarrassing 1970s comedians, the Scottish Parliament has heard.

And Gaelic's "very existence is at stake" so debate around the language must be depoliticised, according to a Tory MSP, whose comments were in marked contrast to recent pronouncements from his party.

Alasdair Allan, SNP MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar (Western Isles), said: "Thirty years ago, I remember hearing a prominent Scot – one who should have known better – offering the opinion on the radio that he was 'grateful' that his Gaelic-speaking parents had never spoken Gaelic to him when he was growing up in case that had 'held him back'.

"Let me be clear: the idea that Gaelic or any form of bilingualism might hold children back is a view that I thought had been long relegated to the same embarrassing corner as the views that were expressed by comedians on Saturday night TV around the year 1975."

Dr Allan was speaking – in Gaelic – to a motion calling on MSPs to welcome the decision by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council) to enrol Primary 1 pupils into Gaelic-medium education (GME) as the default choice.

His motion also noted that the percentage of children entering GME in the Western Isles has steadily increased over the past decade, and commended the council's "progressive step to consolidate the national language in its heartland communities".

Dr Allan, a former junior education minister, added that "there is an overwhelming consensus among academics and researchers in support of the cognitive benefits of bilingual education". He highlighted a 2010 University of Edinburgh study showing that GME pupils, on a whole, were by Primary 5 outperforming their English-medium education peers in English reading.


Radical Gaelic campaign group reveals plans to stand raft of local election candidates

17 February 2020 (Brinkwire)

A radical Gaelic campaign group that argues the language has been subjected to an “ongoing process of cultural genocide over many centuries” has revealed plans to field a raft of local election candidates as part of efforts to revive it.

Misneachd – which translates as confidence or courage – says all adults in the Western Isles and other Gaelic heartlands should have the right to six months’ free, full-time tuition in the language in islands-based “immersion centres”.

This would take the form of a paid sabbatical for those in work.

It also wants to phase out English-medium education in the islands and limit the number of second homes.


‘Enormous’ interest in Gaelic language over last 18 months

15 February 2020 (STV News)

A surge in the number of people taking up Gaelic in the last 18 months has raised fresh hopes for the revival of the historic Scots language.

Community leaders say interest is at its highest in the past decade and are welcoming the introduction of online learning platforms, which are helping to swell the numbers of speakers.

One factor being credited with a recent spike is online language tutorial service, Duolingo. The global service launched a Gaelic version on November 30.

Around 200,000 people have signed up to learn the language in just 11 weeks.


Wee Write 2020

14 February 2020 (Aye Write, Wee Write)

As part of Glasgow's wider Aye Write annual book festival, Wee Write is specifically aimed at children and young people.

Award winning authors, Wee Write favourites and brand new faces will bring books alive at The Mitchell Library and inspire a lifelong love of reading in children. All schools are able to book sessions at the event with Glasgow schools receiving a discounted admission. This year's Wee Write event for schools runs from 2 - 6 March, with a family day also being held on Saturday 7 March.

There are several Scots and Gaelic sessions to be enjoyed and schools can book story sessions at local libraries in a range of foreign languages.

Visit the Wee Write website for more information and booking details.


Gaelic Sports Leader SCQF Level 4 Award

14 February 2020 (Highland Council)

A Gaelic sports leader’s level 4 will be running in Plockton High School for pupils aged 13+ between Monday 30 March and Thursday 2 April (3 overnight stays).

The feedback from previous courses has been positive and this gives participants a great chance to enhance their leadership whilst also using Gaelic as the tool to do this.

There are up to 16 places available (8 Highland 8 Western Isles to begin with but this could be flexible depending on demand).

The course is free of charge and all accommodation and hot food is provided - breakfast, lunch and dinner all served at the hostel which is on site at Plockton High School.

See the attached flyer for more information and the booking form.

Caley Thistle to make home game announcements in Gaelic

1 February 2020 (The Scotsman)

Inverness Caledonian Thistle Football Club (ICTFC) is introducing Gaelic Tannoy announcements at games.

The move celebrates both the National Mod coming to Inverness this year and the wider movement of promoting the Gaelic language. Alasdair Barnett, convenor of the National Mod 2020 and also a Caley Thistle fan, approached the club – which is managed by John Robertson – last year about it being involved in promoting the National Mod on its return to the town.

Mr Barnett said: “I know several people at the club and spoke with them about ICTFC possibly hosting some fund raising events at the stadium. The club invited myself and some others from the Gaelic community in to a meeting and several projects around the Gaelic language have emerged from that. The first initiative to take place is the Gaelic announcements at home games."


Securing Gaelic in the Western Isles and beyond

31 January 2020 (The National)

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council) recently attracted a flurry of media attention by announcing that Gaelic-medium education (GME) will become the default model in the islands’ schools, so that parents preferring English-medium education will have to opt out. GME has been offered in the islands’ schools since 1987, but English has been the default option up to now.

The new policy is welcome but hardly radical. GME is a long-established and successful model, not only in the Western Isles but across Scotland. Parents will still have the option of English-medium education, unlike in northwest Wales where only Welsh-medium education is available.

There is a consensus in Gaelic circles that more must be done to secure the position of the language in the Western Isles, the only part of Scotland where the language remains widely spoken in the community. There is much less agreement on what steps ought to be taken – indeed there has been relatively little serious, focused discussion.


Championing Gaelic is an easy win for language learning

31 January 2020 (TESS)

When Scottish Conservative Liz Smith criticised Gaelic-medium education, she was way off the mark, writes Henry Hepburn.

Monsieur Boudon adored the English language. In a rural corner of France, where hardly anyone could string together more than a few words of English, he spent evenings decoding Bruce Springsteen concept albums and parsing the prose of Charles Dickens’ most doorstep-like novels.

I had just started as an English language assistant at a lycée in Le Puy-en-Velay, in Auvergne, where Monsieur Boudon was an English teacher. In what was both a benevolent gesture and a prime opportunity to test his linguistic mettle, he quickly invited me over for dinner along with two Irish students who were working in other schools.

[..] I thought about Monsieur Boudon last week for the first time in many a year when there was a political stooshie over Gaelic-medium education. Following news of the landmark move that Gaelic would become the default language of schools in the Western Isles, the Scottish Conservatives’ education spokesperson, Liz Smith, was quoted in The Scotsman describing this as a “deeply troubling step” that could put children “at a distinct disadvantage to their peers”.

This felt like an echo of culture wars from a bygone era. There are still a few mutterings on social media about whether train station signs should be in Gaelic, but you rarely hear the overblown denunciations of the language that you used to get.

Now, middle-class parents in Edinburgh and Glasgow – often with no heritage in Gaelic’s heartlands – are clamouring for their children to be taught in the language. And a few weeks ago, it was reported that the Gaelic version of the Duolingo language learning app had become the company’s fastest-growing course ever, with 127,000 sign-ups in the month since its St Andrew’s Day launch.

[..] Attempts to boost Gaelic education should be celebrated, not disparaged – because we are all enriched by a plurality of languages.

(Note - subscription required to access full article)

Dumfries and Galloway Council weighs up Gaelic on welcome signs

28 January 2020 (BBC)

A Scottish council is being asked to consider adding Gaelic to its welcome signs on roads entering the region.

There are currently 20 such boards on routes into Dumfries and Galloway - written only in English.

The chairman of promotion group Gàidhlig Dumgal has contacted the council to ask it to look at the move.

The organisation is particularly keen to see the bilingual signs on the entry routes into Galloway like the A75, A77, A714 and A713.

Gàidhlig Dumgal, the organisation set up nearly a decade ago to promote the language in the region, said there was a "a strong degree of interest" from locals and visitors alike in the Gaelic heritage of the area.

It added that there could be long-term economic benefits, as well as increasing awareness of the language.

The group said a form of Gaelic - Galwegian Gaelic - was spoken in Galloway from around the 5th Century to some time between 1600 and 1800.

Dumfries and Galloway Council's Gaelic Language Plan (GLP) has also recognised the "important role" it played in the linguistic heritage of the region.

"Gaelic speakers resident in our council area form a small but important and culturally active part of our community," it said.


MSPs demand apology for 'highly offensive' Tory comments on Gaelic education

23 January 2020 (The Scotsman)

Children's education could suffer by a move which will see Gaelic as the main teaching language for all primary one pupils in the Western Isles from next year, the Scottish Conservative shadow education secretary has said. Liz Smith, MSP, described the new policy which will see Gaelic become the "default" language for P1 pupils as a "deeply troubling step".

Alasdair Allan, SNP MSP for the Highlands and Islands, is demanding that Ms Smith withdraw her “highly offensive” remarks and apologise.

John Finnie, Scottish Greens MSP for the Highlands and Island, also said Ms Smith's comments were "offensive and inaccurate".

Pupils starting lessons in Gaelic will learn English from P4 onwards. Parents who want to opt out of the new system can have their children taught in English from P1.

However, Ms Smith, said Gaelic should not be promoted over English: “This is a deeply troubling step and one that could put children in the Western Isles at a distinct disadvantage to their peers."


Gaelic to be 'default' language for new pupils in Western Isles schools

23 January 2020 (BBC)

Children starting school in the Western Isles this summer will be taught in Gaelic, unless their parents opt-out.

Until now parents had to opt in to Gaelic-medium education (GME) on the islands, where lessons in English was the default.

But from August, all new P1 children will enrol in GME unless their parents request otherwise.

The move was prompted because more than half of parents were expected to choose Gaelic-medium education.

Western Isles council, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, is the first of Scotland's 32 local authorities to make the move.

The islands has Scotland's largest Gaelic speaking community.

GME sees lessons delivered in Gaelic until P4 and then English is introduced, with the aim of giving children a bilingual education.


e-Sgoil National 5/Higher Gaelic (Learners) course

17 January 2020 (e-Sgoil)

e-Sgoil is taking applications from S4-S6 pupils for its 2020-2021 Nat 5 and Higher Gaelic (Learners) courses. These courses are fully funded by the Scottish Government, are delivered online and are open to pupils from anywhere in Scotland. See the attached flyer for more information.


Related Files

CalMac launches new bilingual customer care service for Gaelic speakers

12 January 2020 (The Press and Journal)

Britain’s biggest ferry and harbour operator is adding to its support for Gaelic speakers by offering a bi-lingual English and Gaelic customer care service.

CalMac created a new customer care centre in Stornoway last summer, bringing six new jobs to the town. It has now confirmed this will become a permanent fixture with staff at the venue enhancing the Gaelic face of the company.

In the past, assistance from a Gaelic speaker was only available to customers telephoning or visiting port offices in Gaelic-speaking areas, but now, anyone who would like to make an enquiry in Gaelic, can be transferred to a native speaker.

The Stornoway-based team will also be steadily transforming CalMac’s social media channels into a bi-lingual offering as well.


FilmG - Gaelic short film competition entries

7 January 2020 (FilmG)

You can now watch this year's YOUTH and OPEN category entries in the FilmG short film competition, and voting is open for the People's Choice Award.


Duolingo sparks Gaelic boom as young Scots shrug off 'cringe' factor

2 January 2020 (The Guardian)

Almost double the number of people in Scotland who already speak Scottish Gaelic have signed up to learn the language on the popular free platform Duolingo in over a month, concluding a proliferation in courses, prizes and performance in Gaelic and Scots during 2019, as younger people in particular shrug off the “cultural cringe” associated with speaking indigenous languages.

The Duolingo course, which was launched just before St Andrew’s Day on 30 November and looks likely to be the company’s fastest-growing course ever, has garnered more than 127,000 sign-ups – 80% from Scotland itself, compared with just over 58,000 people who reported themselves as Gaelic speakers in the 2011 Scottish census.

And last month, the Open University Scotland launched a free online course – which has already attracted nearly 7,000 unique visitors from the UK, US, Canada and Australia – that teaches the Scots language in the context it is spoken, as well as highlighting its role in Scottish culture and society.


Related Links

Duolingo's Scots Gaelic course reaches 127,000 users (The National, 3 January 2020)

West Lothian Council to promote Gaelic language and Gaelic education

30 December 2019 (Daily Record)

West Lothian Council’s executive has agreed a draft Gaelic language plan for the authority. It will now be presented to the Bòrd na Gaidhlig. 

The body was set up by the Scottish Government in 2005 to promote the use and understanding of the Gaelic language and Gaelic education.

West Lothian is one of only four councils - the others are Midlothian, East Lothian and Scottish Borders - who have not created a Gaelic plan. A six-week public consultation produced 127 responses. The bulk were in favour of developing language classes and cultural events.


For Gaelic to survive in Scotland, it’s not enough to learn it – more people need to use it in their daily lives

18 December 2019 (The Conversation)

Launched to coincide with St Andrew’s Day this year on November 30, language app Duolingo’s Gaelic course attracted an impressive 103,000 active learners in its first two weeks – outstripping the number of actual Gaelic speakers in Scotland. The figure also represented more than 18 times the number of adults learning the language in 2018.

Gaelic was spoken in most of Scotland until the 11th century, but a gradual decline in the language means that today, most of the of the country’s Gaelic speakers in Scotland live in the Outer Hebrides (Na h-Eileanan Siar).

It is recognised as a national language of Scotland and initiatives such as the dedicated Gaelic language channel BBC Alba and the growth of Gaelic Medium Education have brought opportunities to those living across Scotland to hear and learn the language.

These initiatives were given a further boost when Gaelic joined a range of endangered languages (including Hawaiian, Navajo and Irish) to be added to the Duolingo platform after a successful social media campaign lobbied for its inclusion.

Of course, not all of the 103,000 people who signed up to Duolingo will be new to Gaelic – and not all will continue with it – but the potential to bring new speakers to the language is considerable. It also raises the question of how this can be used to support the long-term survival of the language, which is considered to be in trouble in Scotland.


Alba 2030: A' Ghàidhlig – Buaidh is piseach | The future for Gaelic: Summary

10 December 2019 (Scottish Parliament)

Alasdair McCalluim, Gaelic Development Officer, sums up #Alba2030 'The future for Gaelic' conference held at the Scottish Parliament on 6 December 2019.


Gaelic National Schools Debate 2019

6 December 2019 (Scottish Parliament)

Well done to all the semi-finalists and finalists of the Gaelic National Schools Debate. And congratulations to winners Sgoil Lionacleit and Raonaid Campbell from Sir E Scott.

The final was hosted at the Scottish Parliament on 5 December and is available to watch on the Scottish Parliament's TV channel.


New job profile on the SCILT website

6 December 2019 (SCILT)

The job profiles on our website cover a range of careers where languages are in use. Our most recent addition comes from Marion Geoffray, a theatre maker and drama teacher, who is the artistic director of Theatre Sans Accents, an innovative bilingual theatre company in Edinburgh.

Marion performs in several languages and believes immersing yourself in the language and culture is the most effective way to learn and to have fun!

Teachers use this resource with your pupils to support the Developing the Young Workforce initiative and highlight the benefits of language learning as a life skill.


The relationship between dementia and bilingualism

4 December 2019 (BBC Alba)

Listen to BBC Alba's interview (in Gaelic) with Dr Ingeborg Birnie, Education, on the bilingual and dementia project (1:19). 


Greenock pupils impress First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in a show at the Scottish Parliament

3 December 2019 (Greenock Telegraph)

It's a case of mind your languages for Greenock school pupils who impressed First Minister Nicola Sturgeon as they put on a superb show at the Scottish Parliament.

Whinhill Primary were invited to bring their culture and diversity showcase to Holyrood and blew everyone away with a special performance.

The Greenock school uses performing arts to bring languages to life and the children were able to express themselves in Gaelic, German and Tamil.

Inverclyde MSP Stuart McMillan arranged for them to come to parliament and said they proved great ambassadors.


Western Isles Gaelic debate comes to its conclusion this week

2 December 2019 (Stornoway Gazette)

The semi-finals of the National Secondary Schools’ Gaelic Debate will take place on Wednesday this week.The first semi-final will see Inverness Royal Academy B up against Lionacleit School. The second debate will see Bishopbriggs High School take on Sir E Scott.The two winning teams will meet in the Final, at The Scottish Parliament on Thursday, December 5th, at 7pm, where they will debate, ‘In 20 years time, the real Gàidhlig communities will be situated in the big cities’.

Looking forward to the final, Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament, Rt Hon Ken Macintosh MSP, said: “Gaelic matters. “It is part of who we are and part of Scotland’s rich cultural identity. The humour, insight and linguistic skill displayed by young people in this competition year after year, convincingly demonstrates that the language continues to flourish. “It gives me immense pleasure that the final will be held on the floor of Holyrood’s debating chamber, marking this, our joint twentieth anniversary.”


Thousands sign up for new online Gaelic course on Duolingo

28 November 2019 (BBC)

More than 20,000 people have signed up to learn Scottish Gaelic on a free online learning app which launches the new course on St Andrew's Day.

The Duolingo course has been created on a "record-breaking timescale" with the help of bilingual volunteers.

Its official release on Saturday is eight months ahead of schedule and the course has already attracted more than 7,000 learners using its Beta version.

Duolingo has 91 courses in 30 languages and more than 300 million users.

It uses artificial intelligence and "gamification", where users compete against each other as they learn.

In the eight years since Duolingo was launched it has added dozens of languages including Navajo, Hawaiian, Welsh and Irish Gaelic.


Education Scotland Gaelic Newsletter

20 November 2019 (Education Scotland)

The November 2019 edition of Education Scotland's newsletter for Gaelic Medium Education is now available to view online.

Topics in this issue include:

  • National Improvement Hub resources to support GME in the curriculum
  • Music and wellbeing resources
  • Professional learning and leadership opportunities
  • Early years support
  • Sharing effective practice to support improvement


Why learning Scots is having a moment

8 November 2019 (TES)

More than 1.5 million people said they spoke Scots in the 2011 census, and now this language is enjoying a resurgence in the classroom. The learning benefits are immense, writes Kirsty Crommie.

There are thought to be more than 7,000 languages spoken across the world, with many more not yet known outside the small communities in which they are spoken. Around 330 are spoken in Europe and more than 2,000 in Asia. Over 850 languages are spoken within Papua New Guinea alone (Miaschi, 2017) and, within the thousands of languages spoken worldwide, there are countless dialects and regional variations, rich in vocabulary and sounds.

Language lets us share, discover and make connections. But it is also a representation of culture and identity, and it symbolises the incredibly diverse world in which we live – so, with 75 per cent of the world’s population not speaking English, it is imperative that we encourage the learning of languages throughout school.

And this must include the Scots language: by studying our minority languages, such as Scots, we are celebrating our diverse and fascinating linguistic heritage, as we should.

In primary schools across Scotland, at least one additional language is being taught. The Scottish government’s 1+2 model for languages has a target of ensuring that by 2021, every Scottish school will offer children one additional language from P1 and a second from P5; many schools are well on their way to meeting that goal.

It is a target that is not without its challenges: staff must receive relevant training if they are to effectively deliver the teaching of a language of which they may have little or no experience. But the benefits are such that these challenges must be overcome.

Curriculum for Excellence: Modern Languages Experiences and Outcomes clearly lays out the benefits. Not only are literacy skills enhanced, but pupils learning a new language will also:

  • Gain a deeper understanding of their first language and appreciate the richness and interconnected nature of languages.
  • Enhance their understanding of their own and other languages and gain insights into other cultures.
  • Develop skills that they can use and enjoy in work and leisure throughout their lives.

The benefits apply just as much to children learning minority languages. In Scotland, there are three native languages: English, Scots and Gaelic. While English is the most common, more than 1.5 million people said they spoke Scots in the 2011 census, while over 57,000 said they spoke Gaelic.

A number of schools exist to provide teaching and learning through Gaelic, particularly in the areas where it is spoken most, but the teaching of Scots is generally left to schools and teachers with an interest in and enthusiasm for Scots, although some have opted to include Scots as part of their 1+2 approach.

(Note - subscription required to access full article)


Course to create new generation of Gaelic-speaking professionals in Scotland

29 October 2019 (The Scotsman)

A new Gaelic 'immersion' course is being set up at Glasgow University to help create a new generation of Gaelic-speaking professionals in Scotland.

The one-year course at Glasgow University will offer an intensive language learning experience for students and adult learners.

Students will undertake eight-months of tuition at the university followed by a three-week residential school at Ceòlas Uibhist, the Gaelic education and cultural centre in South Uist.

The course has been set up with a grant of £455,000 from the Scottish Funding Council.

It comes as Glasgow City Council considers a £16m commitment to build a fourth Gaelic Medium Education (GME) school.

The new course will help meet demand for Gaelic-speaking teachers as pupil numbers rise.


Related Links

Does Scotland have enough Gaelic teachers? (The Scotsman, 30 October 2019)

Gaelic immersion opportunities expanded in Scotland (Scottish Funding Council, 29 October 2019)

Bill for Glasgow's new Gaelic school could top £16 million

27 October 2019 (The Herald)

More than £16 million will be required to build Glasgow's newest Gaelic primary school, a report has revealed.

Glasgow City Council is mulling over a plan to use the disused St James' Primary building as the site of the local authority's fourth school offering Gaelic Medium Education (GME).

The disused school in the Calton area of the city has been listed as being in poor condition by Scotland’s Buildings at Risk register.

The bill for refurbishing the crumbling school is expected to be around £16.5 million, and would see the creation of 12 state-of-the-art teaching spaces and two general-purpose areas for pupils.


Book Week Scotland 2019

23 October 2019 (Scottish Book Trust)

Book Week Scotland is an annual celebration of books and reading that takes place every November. The programme for this year's Book Week Scotland has just been launched. The programme includes workshops, poetry and storytelling sessions in Gaelic and Scots for both adults and children.

Visit the website to find out about events and activities taking place near you.


The Ramshorn and Graveyard Digital Trail - now available!

23 October 2019 (SCILT)

If you find yourself in the Merchant City area of Glasgow why not complete our new 'The Ramshorn and Graveyard' digital trail? Pupils from Glasgow Gaelic School, Holyrood Secondary, Shawlands Academy and St Roch's Secondary worked with SCILT and Global Treasure Apps to create a multilingual trail around the new SCILT and CISS premises. The trail encourages visitors to learn about the history of the area by following clues set by the pupils, and gives people the chance to test their language skills.

The Ramshorn and Graveyard Digital Trail is available to download from Global Treasure Apps in Arabic, English, French, Gaelic, German, Italian, Mandarin, Polish, Spanish and Urdu.

Find Global Treasure Apps on the App store or Google Play


Gaelic 'disappearing' from Scottish island communities

18 October 2019 (The Guardian)

The number of Gaelic speakers in Scotland’s island communities has plummeted in less than a decade, according to a leading Highland researcher who believes the language is on the point of “societal collapse” across Scotland.

Although just over 58,000 people reported themselves as Gaelic speakers in the 2011 Scottish census, Prof Conchúr Ó Giollagáin, the director of the Language Sciences Institute at the University of the Highlands and Islands, will publish a study next year following extensive fieldwork in the Western Isles, Skye and Tiree that estimates that the vernacular group on the islands, where speakers are most heavily concentrated, does not exceed 11,000.

Ó Giollagáin believes that existing policies to promote Gaelic focus too heavily on encouraging new speakers, mainly in urban areas, or promoting it as a heritage language, and that without a significant shift to supporting existing speakers, Gaelic “will continue as the language of school and heritage but not as a living language”.


Related Links

Number of island Gaelic speakers ‘plummeting’ (The Scotsman, 20 October 2019)

Welsh, Hawaiian and Navajo … now Gaelic is in line for a rescue (The Guardian, 20 October 2019)

Duolingo issues call for contributors and participants as languages app prepares to launch Scottish Gaelic course

17 October 2019 (Sunday Post)

From Spanish to German, and even Klingon and Valyrian from Game of Thrones, the Duolingo app has over 300 million people across the world learning new languages.

Soon, Scottish Gaelic will join the courses available, and it’s hoped that it will pique interest in the language, which has just under 60,000 speakers in Scotland, according to the 2011 Census.

It was announced on Thursday at the Royal National Mod in Glasgow that the course would be launched on the platform in the coming weeks.

It follows huge demand for the language to be added to the free learning app, and the work of a dedicated team of volunteers working in their spare time to get it off the ground.

Contributor Martin Baillie, an architect from Skye, told The Sunday Post: “It’s a great way to make it accessible to people. In the Gaelic world, we’re always talking about small numbers and Duolingo is a great way to raise awareness not just in Scotland but internationally.

“I teach night classes in Gaelic on Skye, and you go along once a week but what do you do in between?

“Duolingo is a great and fun way to do a wee ten minutes revision every day and that makes a huge difference learning a language if you just run over the words.

“You don’t need to get lost in a book, and it helps get it into your long term memory.”

Currently there are more than four million people learning Irish on the app, with 1.2 million signed up for Welsh courses.

“If we could get a number like that learning Scottish Gaelic then it would really show that there’s an interest there,” Martin says.

“It would give a lot of strength to efforts to keep the language alive.”


Bòrd na Gàidhlig launches campaign to spread Gaelic pride

15 October 2019 (The National)

Scotland's Gaelic development board has unveiled a new campaign inspired by a scheme in Wales aimed at spreading pride in the language.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig launched the “#cleachdi” hashtag at the Royal National Mod 2019 in Glasgow.

The body is urging Gaelic speakers and learners to include #cleachdi alongside #useit and #gaidhlig on social media, email signatures or by wearing the symbol on stickers, showing their pride in the language.

Shona MacLennan, Bòrd na Gàidhlig chief executive officer, said: “More and more people want to use and learn Gaelic and this initiative is a very positive and easy to use means to encourage more people to use more Gaelic in more situations.

“We will be joining all those who speak the language in displaying our pride at letting others know we are Gaelic speakers. We think #cleachdi is the perfect way to do this. So let’s #useit and put #gaidhlig firmly on the map.”

The new #cleachdi campaign is similar to the Welsh Language Commissioner’s “Iaith Gwaith”, or “Welsh at Work”, scheme, which is used in Wales to show that a service is available in Welsh.


SQA Advanced Higher Languages Course Reports 2019

14 October 2019 (SQA)

SQA has published Advanced Higher Gaelic (Learners), German, Italian and Chinese languages course reports for the 2019 exam diet.

The reports provide information on candidates’ performance.

Visit the SQA Advanced Higher Modern Languages webpage to access the reports.  


Funding for Gaelic education

11 October 2019 (Scottish Government)

The Scottish Government is to provide £2 million of capital support towards a fourth Gaelic primary school in Glasgow.

The new school, likely to be in the north-east of the city, is being built to meet demand for Gaelic medium education.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney announced the investment as he formally opened the 116th Royal National Mod in Glasgow.


Gaelic Play Warns of Climate Change Crisis

9 October 2019 (Stornoway Gazette)

A new Gaelic language play about climate change is nearing the end of a successful six week national tour of Gaelic medium primary schools.

An Rabhadh (The Warning), performed by Artair Donald and Katie Hammond, highlights the concerns regarding climate change and points to the positive changes that can be made to reduce waste and our carbon footprint.

The tour, which started at the end of August, will visit 47 schools across Scotland, taking in the central belt, Perthshire, Aberdeen, Argyllshire, Skye and Lochalsh and the Western Isles.

The final leg will include visits to schools in the Highland Council area, East Kilbride and the Isle of Tiree.

Aimed at upper primary pupils, the play has been produced through Fèisean nan Gàidheal’s Gaelic language theatre-in-education project Meanbh-chuileag and was written and directed by Angus Macleod, Drama Officer with Fèisean nan Gàidheal. He explained: “The play features two environmentally-friendly aliens who are on a mission to rescue Earth in the year 2119.

“Unfortunately they find that reversing the effects of environmental damage is not possible but a time-travelling gizmo enables a journey back to 2019 to warn the planet’s occupants before it’s too late.”


Be bold and Gaelic will prosper, insists bard of Glasgow Niall O’Gallagher

7 October 2019 (The Times)

Glasgow’s first Gaelic poet laureate has urged Scotland not to treat the language like a “fragile vase that you can’t afford to drop” after a big decline in its use.

Niall O’Gallagher — who was appointed bard baile Ghlaschu, or Glasgow city bard, in July — said that Gaelic was under threat but thinking of it as a dialect that must be carefully preserved could make the situation worse. He also admitted that speaking it in public had become “awkward”.

The poet is urging learners to grapple and experiment with the language, and has called for more public spaces to embrace events in the language.

Subscription required to read full article


Gaelic culture takes centre stage at this year's Royal National Mòd

4 October 2019 (The Herald)

Along with the growing interest in Gaelic culture, the Royal National Mòd is flourishing into a celebration that is more inclusive and accessible than ever.

This year the biggest Gaelic festival in the world returns to Glasgow for the first time since 1990 for Mòd Ghlaschu, nine days filled with music, arts, and sport.

The birth of the Mòd came in 1891, and ever since then it has been organised by An Comunn Gàidhealach, which, for more than a century, has supported the teaching, learning, and use of the Gaelic language as well as the study and cultivation of Gaelic literature, history, music and art. The festival has held its royal charter since 1992, becoming Am Mòd Nàiseanta Rìoghail (The Royal National Mòd).

The main focus of the Mòd is competition, something that attracts the best in Gaelic sport and culture from Gaelic communities throughout the UK, Ireland, Australia, Canada and the US.

Whether they are looking to compete or spectate, visitors can enjoy more than 200 competitive events in highland dancing, sport, literature, and drama, as well as Gaelic music and song. For example, this year sees the welcome return of the London Gaelic Choir after an absence from the Mòd.


Related Links

Mod Ghlaschu to celebrate city’s Gaelic history and culture (The National, 8 October 2019)

Mòd Ghlaschu 2019 Opening Ceremony and Concert (What's on Glasgow, 4 October 2019)

Stories, songs and shinty: Why Gaelic power endures after a century of Mods (Sunday Post, 9 October 2019)

Figures reveal bumper year for entrants at Royal National Mod (Press and Journal, 10 October 2019)

Welcome to Glasgow Mòd (Fringe Supplement - pdf)

Newsletter for Gaelic education

24 September 2019 (Education Scotland)

Education Scotland has published their latest Gaelic education newsletter. This edition includes information on the following:

  • New educational resources
  • Leadership programmes 
  • Sharing effective practice - workshops and resources
  • Professional learning opportunities
  • Links to information and resources from partners supporting Gaelic in the curriculum

Access the newsletter online.


Translanguaging has made it to Scottish primary education and it is alive and 'coleando'!

11 September 2019 (Creative Multilingualism)

All the World is Our Stage: primary pupils never lost in translanguaging, a multilingual performance showcasing heritage and school languages, has brought pupils and teachers from Whinhill Primary School together with actress-singer, Rebecca Cameron, and creative language learning social enterprise, The Language Hub.

Warm and welcome feelings and emotions engulfed me the first time I set foot in Whinhill. Bilingual signs in English and Gaelic adorn the school, leaving no wall silent, and as you venture inside, the building also speaks through imagery and words in French. What a pleasure to the eye, and a delicacy for the soul!

The school currently offers Gaelic and French under the 1+2 language approach to language learning, and hosts a Gaelic Medium Education (GME) unit allowing pupils to learn through the medium of Scottish Gaelic.

The multilingual realities of our pupils is not always acknowledged, or even recognised, in the school context. English as the societal and school language can stifle pupils’ heritage languages. This project sought to combat that by raising awareness about multilingualism and celebrating linguistic diversity through the performing arts. 

Visit the website to read the full article, which contains links to the resources used in the project.


Scottish Book Trust searching for teenage writers and illustrators

10 September 2019 (The Edinburgh Reporter)

Scottish Book Trust has announced that applications are open for their What’s Your Story? programme. Now in its fifth year, the scheme has helped around 30 young Scots to develop writing, illustration and performance projects. 

14 – 17 year olds living in Scotland are encouraged to apply for an all expenses paid opportunity to learn, grow and create as a writer or illustrator.

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said : “Nurturing new young talent in the Scottish literary scene is so important and Scottish Book Trust is proud to launch the fifth year of What’s Your Story, focused on supporting young people.  The programme offers a truly unique opportunity and we urge parents and teachers to encourage the teens in their lives with a passion for writing or illustration to apply.”

[..] The Gaelic Books Council funds a Gaelic-language place. 

Applications close on 27 November 2019, and can be made online.


Educate yourself in the cognitive and educative benefits of learning Gaelic at Bòrd na Gàidhlig

4 September 2019 (The Herald)

The discussion around the Gaelic language in Scotland has tended to veer towards the romantic, the ethereal, and occasionally the political. It can certainly fall under the banner of misinformation from kneejerk detractors.

What is rarely considered are the considerable cognitive and educative benefits of learning Gaelic or learning in the Gaelic medium.

Based in Inverness, Bòrd na Gàidhlig was established to promote the development of the language in Scotland. Its CEO is Shona McLennan, who explains that like many minority languages Gaelic has been in decline, but the mission of Bòrd na Gàidhlig is to promote Gaelic language, Gaelic education, and Gaelic culture with a view to reinvigorating the language.

“One of the most effective ways to do this is to provide education in the medium of the language,” says Shona. “Alongside education in the language, pupils also need opportunities to use it outside of the classroom. You need activity around the learning such as sports activities, arts and music.”


Education Scotland Gaelic resources

30 August 2019 (Education Scotland)

Education Scotland has recently published the Gaelic version of the Slavery and Human Trafficking resources. The Gaelic versions of the Review of Family Learning and the Review of Learning at Home are also now available.

Shining a spotlight on the Scottish Clan system

30 August 2019 (Stornoway Gazette)

The Scottish Highland clans are one of the most immediately recognisable parts of Scotland’s history. Yet centuries of misrepresentation and romanticisation have created a range of persistent myths and stereotypes.

Now a new free online three-week course from the University of Glasgow, the ‘Scottish Highland Clans: Origins, Decline and Transformations’, on the FutureLearn platform, hopes to debunk some of these misconceptions to provide a critical overview of how the clans functioned in Scottish society.

[...] Dr Andrew Mackillop, a senior lecturer in Scottish History at the University’s College of Arts, who has led the creation of the clans’ course, said the course had drawn on world-class levels of expertise on all aspects of Scottish society, language, history, literature and culture.

“One of the most exciting aspects is the inclusion of Scottish Gaelic material in the form of songs and poems,” he added.

“Making these unique historical sources more accessible is a key objective. Learners will be able to engage with Gaelic but will also have full English translations – so there is no need to worry if you have no Gaelic!


Yakety Yak Language Cafés

26 August 2019 (Yakety Yak)

Improve your foreign language conversation in a local café, in a small group with an experienced tutor. 

We meet

  • in the relaxed atmosphere of local cafes and bistros in Edinburgh and Glasgow
  • in small groups of similar level of fluency
  • with a tutor who is a native speaker for each group 
  • each session normally has a minimum of 2 tutors to cater for most abilities
  • No need to book - just drop in. However, if it is your first time with us, we recommend you phone or email us to discuss your level and the best session for you first

Conversation classes commence from 2 September 2019. Visit the website for details of sessions running in both Edinburgh and Glasgow. 


New Gaelic arm of Dunfermline arts festival is on the ball

23 August 2019 (The Courier)

For the first time, the Dunfermline arts festival, which runs from September 3 to 8, is launching a new strand of Gaelic and Scots events.

The main event is on the ball for Gaelic and non-Gaelic speakers alike.

With regular appearances on BBC Scotland and BBC Alba the Gaelic voice of shinty and football, Hugh Dan MacLennan, is presenting an event in partnership with Dunfermline Athletic FC.

The two-hour interactive workshop at East End Park is for anyone who watched football on Gaelic TV channel, BBC Alba and wondered what on earth was going on.

The session will be delivered in English, and will give the participants the opportunity to learn key phrases used in commentating as well as some they can use at their next match.


Scottish Gaelic Awards 2019

13 August 2019 (Scottish Gaelic Awards)

The Scottish Gaelic Awards reward all aspects of the Gaelic language and culture across the length and breadth of the country.

The Daily Record, alongside headline sponsor Bòrd na Gàidhlig are proud to host the most prestigious night of the year within the Gaelic community calendar. Celebrating Gaelic culture, education and language highlighting the excellent work undertaken to maintain growth and heritage.

The awards are now in their seventh year and attended by over 200 guests including finalists, event sponsors and members of the Gaelic community. The event itself will be a celebration embracing traditional and modern entertainment.

The Scottish Gaelic Awards will take place on Tuesday 19 November at the Glasgow Marriott Hotel and returning to host the event will be Scottish Broadcaster and Producer, Cathy MacDonald.

Visit the website for more information and to view the award categories. Submit your nominations by 25 September 2019.


Related Links

Gaelic Awards: hail the Gaels (Daily Record, 13 August 2019)

An Comunn Gaidhealach's newsletter

1 November 2018 (An Comunn Gaidhealach)

The organisers of the Royal National Mòd have published their latest newsletter which is available to view online.


Glasgow's Gaelic heritage forms part of Celtic Connections festival

30 October 2018 (Glasgowist)

Glasgow’s Gaelic heritage is celebrated every year as part of the Celtic Connections festival. This year, there was also the Glaschu festival in August, with Gaelic poetry in Queens Park and a Ceilidh on Glasgow Green. Every year, the city is filled with the spirit of Scots Gaelic heritage, as tourists and Glaswegians unite for a celebration of Scottish tradition.

With song and dance at the heart of Gaelic culture, it is no wonder that it continues to fascinate the world. Recent books and television series have prompted a surge in interest in the Gaelic language, while Betfair hosts a slot game called Gaelic Luck. The University of Glasgow has been teaching Gaelic to undergrads for 50 years, and a recent literary festival and ad hoc lessons in Gaelic have responded to a surge in interest.


Gaelic Medium Leadership Award for Teachers & Education Professionals

25 October 2018 (Social Enterprise Academy/SCEL)

There are still a few spaces left on the bespoke leadership programme endorsed by SCEL, designed to meet the needs of emerging leaders in Gaelic Medium Education and Gaelic Learner Education. 

We will explore specific leadership issues faced by the sector, such as implementing CfE, supporting ASN pupils and managing transitions, all within the context of contemporary resource challenges.

You will gain an invaluable insight into your own leadership style and qualities, and a range of tools and techniques to use in your future career.

The programme is for teachers and educational professionals who would like to gain confidence in their ability to be effective, progressive, and self-aware leaders, potentially progressing their careers into head teacher or principal roles.

It will be delivered in Gaelic medium with learning materials provided in both Gaelic and English.


Gaelic is the talk of the town for Scottish tourists

25 October 2018 (Press and Journal)

Gaelic could add more than £82 million per year to tourism, Visit Scotland revealed yesterday.

Cabinet secretary for culture, tourism and external affairs, Fiona Hyslop officially launched The Gaelic Tourism Strategy for Scotland 2018-2023 at The Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh alongside Lord Thurso, chairman of VisitScotland and Shona Niclllinnein, chief executive of Bòrd na Gàidhlig.

The five-year plan is aimed at boosting the use of Gaelic in the tourism industry and using the language as a “unique selling point” to market to visitors.

The strategy will focus on using the language in everyday use with tourists, and developing the major benefits to businesses that come from the culture and arts associated with Gaeldom.

It will see the introduction of Gaelic ambassadors in every area of Scotland, and “Gaelic spoken here” badges for businesses, in a bid to promote the language to visitors.


Scottish Gaelic Awards 2018: The fantastic finalists are revealed

24 October 2018 (Daily Record)

The finalists have been announced for this year’s Daily Record and Bòrd na Gàidhlig Scottish Gaelic Awards.

The awards pay tribute to all aspects of Gaelic culture, education and language.

And the winners will be revealed on Wednesday, November 14, in Glasgow.


Youth committee to lead Mod into the future

16 October 2018 (Press and Journal)

A youth committee is working with An Comunn Gàidhealach to shape the Mods of the future.

The group was set up this year giving a nod to The National Year of the Young Person – and so far has set its sights on modernising the way in which the historic organisation communicates with the public to secure its future.

The committee of three – Shannon MacLean, 21, Padruig Morrison, 22 and Katie MacInnes 18 – is supported by 25-year-old Alison Bruce who is also employed by An Comunn Gàidhealach.

Miss MacLean, from Mull, said: “Being on the committee has been very interesting. Our main goal is to get more young people to come to the mod and get them involved in local mods around the country.

“This is my third mod in Dunoon, and it is certainly the competitions that have helped me, as a non-native speaker, take the language seriously.

“My job is to make sure it survives for a long time yet.”


Related Links

Top Gaelic learner blooms at the Mòd (The Scotsman, 17 October 2018)

Celebration of Gaelic begins in Dunoon

14 October 2018 (Argyllshire Advertiser)

It’s Mòd time again, and the Gaelic party is well and truly up and running in Dunoon.

Storm Callum and well-publicised road closure problems at the Rest and be Thankful were never going to prevent Gaels from all over Scotland and beyond from enjoying themselves.

Friday saw the the Royal National Mòd (Am Mòd Nàiseanta Rìoghail) get into full swing with an energetic night of live music and celebrations, as Scotland’s biggest Gaelic cultural festival arrived in the Argyll town.

The Mòd is set to bring thousands of people to Dunoon as visitors and competitors until Saturday October 20.


Gaelic Ambassador of the Year announced at Royal National Mod

13 October 2018 (BBC)

A 22-year-old singer from Skye has been named Gaelic Ambassador of the Year, as the Royal National Mod gets under way.

Eilidh Cormack, from Portree, said she was "absolutely delighted".

The Gaelic cultural festival began in Dunoon on Friday night, with a special celebration honouring Scotland's Year of Young People.

Over the next eight days there will be more than 200 competitions and events in Highland dancing, sport, literature, drama, Gaelic music and song.


Edinburgh Council to open new Gaelic schools by 2024

10 October 2018 (The Scotsman)

The city council will press ahead with proposals to open new primary and secondary Gaelic schools despite a “problematic” shortage of teachers who speak the language.

The authority hopes to open a new primary school in 2023 where pupils are taught through the medium of Gaelic - while a secondary school could follow by 2024. A host of short-term improvements will also be taken forward.

The council is facing a growing demand for Gaelic education but council officers admit that at the Bun-Sgoil Taobh na Pairce primary school, “as the school has grown, the recruitment of sufficient Gaelic-speaking teachers has proven to be problematic.”

Conservative education spokesman, Cllr Callum Laidlaw, said: “Clearly, there’s a demand for it in Edinburgh for primary expansion. There’s a problem with the citywide catchment area for the current primary school with transport, which is provided by the council. If we move forward with any expansion of primary GME, I would like to see that geographic problem tackled by building it in the south west of the city.

“As it stands, the plan demonstrates ambition rather than reality. There’s a significant recruitment challenge the council has to address first before it moves forward. We need to focus on delivering the six priority high schools in the Wave 4 funding before we commit to the GME secondary school.”

The primary school in Bonnington now has 20 Gaelic-speaking teachers. At James Gillespie’s High School, the city’s Gaelic Medium Education (GME) secondary school, a recruitment drive has helped fill vacancies – but fewer lessons than expected have been taught in Gaelic.


Agenda: Youth will be to the fore with Gaelic at the Mod

8 October 2018 (The Herald)

When cult Gaelic rock group Runrig signed off at their final concerts at Stirling some weeks ago their popularity with fans of all ages was abundantly evident. Forty years earlier these young Gaelic speakers launched their band and captured the lasting interest of many in their language and the challenging history of their people.

The group instilled new confidence and self-esteem among young Gaels and in communities in other countries. Runrig’s appearance coincided with renewed interest in Gaelic language revival and their music complemented and supported education and other cultural initiatives that have grown since.

Gaelic music’s international success reflects natural talent and continuing cultural confidence from the Runrig phenomenon of the 1970s. All involved in the promotion and revitalisation of Gaelic are acutely aware that the future of the language and culture depend on the interest and enthusiasm young people take in it.


The Pushkin Prizes 2019

4 October 2018 (The Pushkin Prizes)

Somewhere out there, in an S1 or S2 class in a school in Scotland, there are ten writers worthy of the title Pushkin Prize-winner. Are you one of them?

What can you write about? ANYTHING! We're looking for stories, poems, plays, articles, memoirs - anything you like on a subject of your choice. You can write in English, Scots or Gaelic.

Visit the website for more information and submit your entries by 20 December 2018.


Gaelic centre plan has backing of Inverness public

4 October 2018 (Inverness Courier)

A survey has shown that there is significant public support for a new Gaelic cultural centre in Inverness.

The research, which was carried out by the Alba Heritage Trust with the aim of establishing the level of interest in a project celebrating Gaelic heritage, was met with “overwhelming” backing from members of the public.

Alba Heritage Trust director Alastair Forbes says the reaction has from businesses and individuals across the board has been significant.

“We are delighted to have had so many responses to the survey,” he said.

“The reaction from the public and private sectors and from members of the community for the establishment of a Gaelic cultural centre has been extremely positive which has given us great confidence in moving forward with the project.”


National Gaelic Schools Debate 2018

3 October 2018 (Deasbad)

The announcement of the preliminary rounds of the National Gaelic Schools Debate competition has been made and the 2018 competition looks set to be another excellent year! The first two rounds will be held at the Town Hall in Stornoway, on Tuesday 6th and Wednesday 7th of November 2018. Last year, for the first time ever the first rounds from Stornoway were available online, through e-Sgoil’s You Tube channel and the Deasbad Committee will be making sure that this year’s first round will also be live streamed to a potentially global audience!

Sixteen teams from fourteen schools are due to compete in the 2018 competition. Following on from the positive feedback received from the new competition format, all the schools will participate in debates over the two days, with the four teams with the highest points, across the two days, progressing to the final stages which will be held in Edinburgh on Tuesday and Wednesday the 27th and 28th of November 2018. The Committee welcome Agnes Rennie and Boyd Robertson who will join Iain Stephen Morrison as judges.


Gaelic Medium Education promotional film previews at An t-Alltan 2018

3 October 2018 (Highland Council)

The 10th annual conference for Gaelic education practitioners, which took place in Aviemore last week, has been hailed a great success.

Around 200 delegates from all over the country attended the conference, held in the MacDonald Aviemore Conference Centre last Wednesday and Thursday (September 26 and 27), which was organised by Gaelic educational resources organisation Stòrlann Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig, with support from Bòrd na Gàidhlig and the Scottish Government.

Through a programme of talks and workshops, the conference provides delegates with an overview of current best practice and a look at new initiatives for teaching and learning. It caters for staff from the Early Years sector as well as primary and secondary schools.

This year, the conference had a focus that was very much on the whole learner journey through the Gaelic Medium Education system, right from the beginning with Cròileagan and play groups through to developing the young workforce.

A powerful new film which has been created to promote Gaelic Medium Education was shown for the first time at the conference. The film has been made by Fàs Foghlaim – Highland Council’s social media vehicle for promoting Gaelic education – and will be made available to the public later in the year but delegates got a welcome preview of it.

Entitled ‘Gaelic Medium Education – A New Perspective’, the film lasts eight minutes and features testimonies from GME parents and teachers as well as perspectives from leading bilingualism academic Professor Antonella Sorace, of the University of Edinburgh, and Tidelines singer and songwriter Robert Robertson, who came through GME himself.

With 90 per cent of connections in the brain being formed by the age of three, the role of Cròileagan and other Gaelic-speaking pre-school groups has long been recognised for their importance in getting learners started on their journey to bilingualism.

As such, the Early Years sector is seen as an important part of the Alltan conference and representatives from that sector said they gained a lot from this year’s event.


Highland schools come out top at Shinty@the Bught

1 October 2018 (Highland Council)

Iomain Cholmcille – the Gaelic Shinty Project – has worked in partnership with The Highland Council’s Gaelic Team to organise a six aside national Shinty event for P4 to P7 Gaelic Medium pupils from schools across Scotland.

In August Iomain Cholmchille announced funding of £8000, from Bord na Gàidhlig in order to help develop the use of Gaelic in youth Shinty. The project was launched at Bun- Sgoil Ghàidhlig Phort Rìgh and pupils were presented with new Gaelic strips for the school Shinty team. The funding for community projects aims to build on Iomain Cholmcille’s successful work, in partnership with the Highland Council’s Gaelic Team running Cupa Iomain na h-Òige.

Cupa Iomain na h-Òige – Youth Shinty Cup - is in its third year and although based in the Highlands, the competition, which is held entirely through the medium of Gaelic, is open to schools from across Scotland. This year the competition took place at the Bught Park in Inverness which is a national stadium and 14 teams have entered with approximately 100 pupils participating in the event.

Schools from across Scotland entered which include Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dingwall, this is the first time that the smaller schools in Skye have taken part.

Iomain Cholmcille is a project dedicated to encouraging the use of Gaelic in the Shinty world and regularly organises international exchanges with Irish-speaking hurling teams for both men and women.


SQA course reports for Advanced Higher Modern Languages 2018

1 October 2018 (SQA)

The course reports for Advanced Higher Chinese, French, Gaelic (Learners), German, Italian and Spanish are now available on the SQA website.


Runrig-inspired school resource launches in Gaelic schools

22 September 2018 (The National)

A new schools resource which celebrates the contribution Runrig have made to the Gaelic language and culture has been launched.

The unit focusing on the Scots band is from Gaelic educational resources organisation Storlann Naiseanta na Gaidhlig and is being hailed as a key addition to the Gaelic resource corpus.


SCHOLAR online tutor sessions for Modern Languages

19 September 2018 (SCHOLAR)

The schedule of online tutor sessions for Higher and Advanced Higher Modern Languages 2018-19 is now available online.


Scottish Parliament publishes new Gaelic promotion plan

19 September 2018 (Daily Mail)

A new five-year plan for promoting Gaelic has been unveiled by the Scottish Parliament.

The proposals set out how the language will be supported between 2018 and 2022 within Holyrood.

They include providing awareness training to all front-of-house staff, showing it as much respect as English as well as creating a space where the Gaelic business community can raise issues with representatives.


Related Links

Parliament publishes new 5-year Gaelic plan (Holyrood, 20 September 2018)

Castles light up in celebration of Gaelic and Scots (The Scotsman, 19 September 2018)

Scottish Parliament publishes new Gaelic promotion plan (Evening Express, 19 September 2018)

eLearning conference aims for digital revolution in Gaelic learning

19 September 2018 (SCILT)

Twenty representatives from seven local authorities across Scotland attended a conference on digital learning in Gaelic Learner Education at the University of Strathclyde on 14 September 2018. The forum discussed provision for Gaelic language learners online, with the aim of improving the digital offer and increasing the number of Gaelic learners in Scottish secondary schools.

Phyllis Green, who attended the conference on behalf of West Lothian Council, said: “The conference helped raise awareness of how we could support Gaelic learning within our authority. Following on from this event, we plan to make links with e-Sgoil, and with other local authorities, to look at how digital can be exploited to support learning within West Lothian Council.”

Jo Ellson, representing Aberdeenshire Council, commented: “It was particularly valuable to discover what is available in a wider context to support learners digitally, and to see the will of all those attending to take Gaelic learning forward.”

The event was facilitated by SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages. Delegates included representatives from Further and Higher Education as well as national education organisations, SQA and Scottish Government.

SCILT Professional Development Officer, Eòghan Stewart, said: “The conference allowed us to bring colleagues from Comhairle nan Eilean’s e-Sgoil to meet with representatives from other local authorities in order to build links with one another and with Further and Higher Education institutions. There is an appetite to learn Gaelic amongst young people but it can be unclear how to go about doing this if there is no teacher in the school. With a good digital learning strategy nationally, we hope to increase the numbers learning and, eventually, speaking the language, in line with the aims of the Scottish Government Gaelic Language Plan.”

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s e-Sgoil was established in August 2016. Through a network of staff who deliver online learning, e-Sgoil aims to support the expansion of Gaelic Medium Education locally and nationally. e-Sgoil recently launched an on-line class for National 5 and Higher Gaelic (Learners). This has attracted 12 candidates for the 2018-19 session.

Posted in: Gaelic, CPD

The Gaelic Language Promotion Trust

19 September 2018 (GLPT)

The purpose of the Gaelic Language Promotion Trust is to support and promote the teaching, learning and use of the Gaelic language in Scotland. The Gaelic Language Promotion Trust offers assistance to full-time and part-time students taking Scottish Gaelic language courses or courses through Scottish Gaelic. 

Currently, the main activity of the Trust is the provision of grants to students of Gaelic at diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate levels. However, the Trust recognises the importance of Gaelic pre-school provision, and following a generous legacy from Urras Gnìomhachas nan Gàidheal, Career Development Funding is now available for Gaelic students studying for an HNC in Childhood Practice, for Gaelic pre-school workers and GLPS primary teachers wishing to improve their Gaelic language skills. Priority is given to individuals currently employed in Gaelic pre-school establishments who are completing their HNC Childhood Practice modules on a part-time basis and primary teachers delivering Gaelic L2.

The Trust acknowledges the contribution that primary schools across Scotland are making to the promotion of the Gaelic language through the 1+2 language model and welcomes applications from GLPS schools for designated funding for Gaelic books. The Trust also provides grants in respect of Gaelic publishing, including digital and traditional printed books, and junior drama projects.

The Cameron Fund, a separate funding stream from the general fund, has been created to support community-based media projects. To this end, the Trust welcomes applications from individuals / communities / organisations for projects involving new media. This might include short films and vlogs which the GLPT would showcase on their website.

The next deadline for grant applications is 19 October 2018. 


Into Film Festival 2018

18 September 2018 (Into Film)

The Into Film Festival is a free, annual, nationwide celebration of film and education for 5-19 year olds.

This year's festival takes place from 7-23 November with UK-wide events and screenings. There are some foreign language options included in the 'Visions of Europe' selection of the programme.

Visit the website for more information and to find events near you.


Gaelic talent provide new video game's soundtrack

18 September 2018 (BBC)

Gaelic musicians, including an 82-year-old Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame inductee, have provided the soundtrack to a new video game.

The Bard's Tale IV Barrows Deep is a follow up to the 1980s game Bard's Tale.

Its soundtrack features celebrated piper and Gaelic singer Rona Lightfoot, and Peigi Barker, 16, who was the voice of Young Merida in Disney film Brave.

Simple Minds bass player Ged Grimes composed and produced the music.

Dundee-born Grimes was responsible for bringing together the Gaelic musicians.

The soundtrack features more than 30 songs. Among those singing on the tracks is a 40-member Gaelic choir.


Agenda: Let’s raise a toast to a decade of BBC Alba

17 September 2018 (The Herald)

In a world dominated by media the importance of broadcasting cannot be overemphasised in efforts to revive lesser used languages and so the 10th anniversary of the establishment of BBC Alba – launched on September 19, 2008 – is cause for celebration for all committed to the survival and advancement of the Gaelic language. That it was set up under the aegis of the BBC was a crucial achievement especially in the context of that year’s global financial crisis and the inevitable questions around the licence fee, charter renewal and the like. Therefore, to have our Scottish Gaelic channel on the first screen of the BBC iPlayer – located between the Parliament channel and S4C (the Welsh language channel) – remains a source of pleasure to language activists.

Indeed the creation of a dedicated Gaelic channel is now acknowledged as one of the key cultural developments of the new millennium in Scotland (cf National Theatre of Scotland, Dundee V & A) and crucially complements Gaelic-medium education; and arguably, in terms of impact, more significant than the Gaelic Language Act (2005).


Youngsters wow crowds at Highland festival finale

17 September 2018 (Press and Journal)

A thousand young people took to the stage to sing an inspiration Gaelic song during a celebration of young musicians in Inverness on Saturday.

They brought the Blas Festival to a stunning close in front of a packed audience at the Northern meeting park.

Their performance came at the end of a day of outstanding music and song that featured some of the biggest names in Scottish traditional music.

Gathered together for the festival showcase Oran Mor – which means Great (or Big) Song – were young musicians from Feisean and various youth initiatives from across Scotland including the Highland Council Youth Music Groups, the National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music and City of Inverness Youth Pipe Band.


CBeebies, CBBC go Gaelic

13 September 2018 (Kidscreen)

BBC Studios has inked a deal with Scottish channel BBC ALBA to bring content from CBeebies and CBBC into Scotland starting on September 17. The Gaelic-language channel is run by Gaelic media service MG ALBA, in partnership with the BBC.

Preschool channel CBeebies will run on ALBA for an hour every evening, ending with a nightly bedtime story, and followed by an hour of Gaelic CBBC content.

The partnership effectively quadruples the amount of original Gaelic children’s content on BBC ALBA, where the CBeebies and CBBC branded blocks will have a similar look and feel to their English-language versions, but with some new talent presenting in the Gaelic children’s zones alongside existing BBC personalities.


Dunoon gears up for Royal National Mòd

12 September 2018 (Oban Times)

Am Mòd Nàiseanta Rìoghail (The Royal National Mòd) will return to Dunoon next month (Friday 12 October – Saturday 20 October) for the eighth time – with a very special focus on Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018.

The nine-day spectacular of Gaelic music, arts and sport will take place in Dunoon for the first time since 2012, with a host of initiatives aimed at encouraging more young people to get involved already under way.

Throughout the year, Dunoon schools have welcomed tutors from FèisSgoil to help them prepare for Mòd competitions, as part of An Comunn Gàidhealach’s Mòd Academy initiative, which aims to help youngsters learn and develop their musical and Gaelic skills.

Local drama workshops for Dunoon’s youngsters were hosted in recent months in a bid to inspire more children to get involved with Gaelic drama, with a group set to perform at this year’s festival; and organisers have been working closely with the Camanachd Association to arrange a junior shinty Mòd Cup match before the annual senior match.

This year also saw the establishment of the first ever Young Person’s Committee, supported by the Year of Young People 2018 Event Fund, which has allowed young Gaels the opportunity to get involved in the Mòd planning process, and to have their say on what they would like to see.


Curriculum for GLE and GME

10 September 2018 (Education Scotland)

e-Sgoil is an interactive, real-time teaching facility which uses Glow, Office 365 and Vscene to support the teaching of Gaelic and through Gaelic in any school in Scotland. It supports the curriculum for 1+2, Gaelic Learner and Gaelic Medium Education. A short promotional video is available on the Education Scotland learning blog.


Maths Week Scotland - Mathématiques sans frontières / Maths wi nae borders

7 September 2018 (North Lanarkshire Council)

As part of Maths Week Scotland, pupils of all ages can participate in the 'Maths wi nae borders' competition, which requires students to respond to one of the questions in either Gaelic or Scots.

The new competition is inspired by 'Mathématiques sans frontières'. North Lanarkshire Council, the University of the West of Scotland and Heriot Watt University work together to encourage young language learners to apply their knowledge in a Maths setting.

This stimulating and light-hearted competition for secondary schools combines Maths and Modern Languages and aims to motivate pupils in both their Maths and Language Learning.  S4 classes attempt 10 questions and S5 classes 13 questions.  Ideally a whole class should tackle groups of questions in order to complete the test within the 60 minutes allowed.

The first question require an explanation in a foreign language.  It is hoped that this competition will encourage cross-curricular working and teamwork.

This year 42 teams from 27 schools took part in 'Mathématiques sans Frontières', the winning team in S4 was Girvan Academy and the S5 winners and overall winning school was Grange Academy.

Look out for the e-mail invitation inviting you to take part in January 2019.

Still Game director creates new Gaelic sketch show

6 September 2018 (BBC)

A new Gaelic language sketch show created by Still Game director Michael Hines has been announced as part of BBC Alba's autumn season.

Func will feature new acting and writing talent.


Fifth dedicated Gaelic school officially opened

4 September 2018 (Holyrood)

A new Gaelic primary - the fifth school dedicated to the language in Scotland – has been officially opened in Skye.

Bun-Sgoil Ghàidhlig Phort Rìgh in Portree is the third Gaelic medium school in the Highland Council area.

It opened to its 133 primary and 47 nursery pupils in April this year, with Education Secretary John Swinney attending a special opening ceremony on Monday.

He said: “It is a pleasure to be involved in supporting Highland Council to realise their vision for the Gaelic language. 

“We are seeing growing demand from parents for access to Gaelic medium education across the country which clearly demonstrates that the Scottish Government’s commitments to supporting the language are a having a positive result. 

“I commend Highland Council for their actions and look forward to working with them on future projects.”

Gaelic medium education is available in 14 out of 32 Scottish local authorities to all children and young people.


Education Scotland Gaelic Newsletter

31 August 2018 (Education Scotland)

The latest edition of Education Scotland's newsletter for Gaelic education is now available online.


Narrowing of secondary options hits Gaelic

30 August 2018 (TES)

A leading light in Gaelic-medium education is calling for the Scottish government to investigate the impact of the narrowing of the curriculum in senior secondary.

He says teenagers are being “lost to the language” and that the teacher supply pipeline is “in danger of drying up” as a result.

(Note - subscription required to read full article).


Related Links

Call for the right to be taught in Gaelic (TES, 31 August 2018) Subscription required to read full article.

Where next for Gaelic as it gains ground in education? (TES, 31 August 2018) Subscription required to read full article.

Gaelic archive of songs and stories unlocked for first time

27 August 2018 (The Scotsman)

Their songs and stories speak of a different time.

Now an audio archive which documents the traditions of crofters, farm workers and fishermen - in English and Gaelic and some Scots - has opened up to the public for the first time.

More than 40 audio files are being published online by Glasgow University as it works to make traditional Gaelic speech more accessible to speakers and learners of the language.


Gaelic Language plan brings forward a host of new volunteers

28 August 2018 (Press and Journal)

Gaelic speakers, and those with an interest in the language, are being invited to showcase bespoke tours for visitors at sites including Dunstaffnage Castle near Oban, Arnol Blackhouse on the Isle of Lewis and Urquhart Castle, near Inverness, to promote the historic origins of the language and its place in Scotland’s rich history.

The Gaelic volunteer programme is part of the organisation’s five-year Gaelic Language Plan.

Alex Paterson, Chief Executive of Historic Environment Scotland, said: “Gaelic is a distinct and unique part of Scotland’s history and culture which attracts visitors from all over the world, contributing significantly to Scotland’s economy.


Related Links

Historic sites to offer bespoke Gaelic tours (The Herald, 28 August 2018)

Talking up Gaelic at historic sites (Stornoway Gazette, 27 August 2018)

Historic sites to offer bespoke Gaelic tours

28 August 2018 (The Herald)

It was once a language which had been pushed to the margins, spoken only in isolated communities and far-flung outposts.

But now Gaelic is undergoing something of a renaissance in Scotland with a fresh interest apparent in the country's songs, signposts and schools.

(Note - subscription required to read full article).


Runrig say farewell as Stòrlann launch rocking resource

20 August 2018 (Stòrlann)

Legendary Gaelic rock band Runrig said farewell at the end of a 45 year career with a two-night event which attracted 50,000 people to Stirling Castle. At the event were showcases for FilmG, the Gaelic Sort Film Project, and Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Scotland’s Gaelic College. FilmG’s theme this year is “In the Blink of an Eye.” Stòrlann Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig have also launched a newly developed Runrig resource for use in schools, alongside redeveloping their Fileanta website for Gaelic Medium Education in Secondary.

Access the resources via the following links:

Gaelic eLearning by eSgoil available to learners all across Scotland

20 August 2018 (eSgoil)

Comhairle nan Eilean’s eSgoil is offering National 5 and Higher Gaelic (Learners) via computer - these will be open to school pupils and adult learners anywhere. All you need is a computer with internet access.

Get in touch with Angus MacLennan or Catriona Currie at if you or learners within your school would be interested in this opportunity

This is the timetable for the classes.

  • Monday 8:50-10:30 
  • Wednesday 14:00-14:45 
  • Thursday 13:55-15:35 
  • Friday 12:25-13:15

Leadership Award for Gaelic Education: 2 and 3 November 2018, 30 November and 1 December 2018

19 August 2018 (Education Scotland)

We are delighted to announce that the Leadership Award for educators of Gaelic Medium Education (GME) organised by Social Enterprise Academy, in collaboration with Education Scotland and Bòrd na Gàidhlig, is being offered in November and December 2018. This is a professional learning opportunity which is tailored to build leadership capacity in GME. It is delivered through the medium of Gaelic. The Leadership Award is endorsed by the Scottish College of Educational Leadership (SCEL), with accreditation by the Institute of Leadership and Management Award at SCQF level 9 and is funded by Bòrd na Gàidhlig.

Visit Education Scotland's learning blog for more information.


The lessons Gaelic schools can teach us about learning

15 August 2018 (The National)

[..] Gaelic medium education succeeds in producing new generations of fluent Gaelic speakers because, as its name suggests, it makes use of the Gaelic language to teach other subjects. Kids don’t sit in classes where they are taught Gaelic in the same way that French or other foreign languages are taught in schools.

The difference in the fluency level that is achieved is stark. I was taught Gaelic the old-fashioned way, and am the proud possessor of a Gaelic Learner’s O Grade and a Gaelic Learner’s Higher. I was taught Gaelic in much the same way kids in modern Scottish schools are taught French or German, in a dedicated class, a couple of hours a week. The result is that although I can puzzle out a written text in the language and have a reasonably sized Gaelic vocabulary, I struggle to follow a Gaelic conversation and can’t express myself orally.


Scotland experiencing 'mass movement' of parents seeking Gaelic schools

10 August 2018 (The Herald)

Scotland is experiencing a “mass movement” of parents who want their children to be educated in Gaelic, creating increasing demand for more specialist schools to be built.

Allan MacDonald, chair of Bòrd na Gàidhlig, the public body responsible for Gaelic, said there had been a “significant” boost in the number of families interested in Gaelic education in towns and cities.

He said the language was experiencing a “shift in emphasis” away from its heartlands and towards the Central Belt as populations continue to plummet in Scotland’s most rural areas.

He added: “The numbers are growing in the cities and the bigger towns all the time. And that contrasts quite significantly with the economic situation – not just in the Western Isles, but in other areas of the Highlands as well.”

t comes as a series of commitments aimed at boosting the strength of Gaelic were unveiled at a milestone meeting of public bodies chaired by Deputy First Minister John Swinney.

This includes plans to publish the first ever Gaelic tourism strategy this autumn to help bring visitors into contact with the language.

Officials also want to increase the number of school subjects which can be taught in Gaelic.


Related Links

Perth summit pledges action to accelerate use of Gaelic language (The Courier, 10th August 2018)

Scottish Gaelic Awards 2018

7 August 2018 (Scottish Gaelic Awards)

The Daily Record, alongside headline sponsor Bòrd na Gàidhlig are proud to launch the 2018 campaign to celebrate Gaelic culture, education and language highlighting the excellent work undertaken to maintain growth and heritage.

Visit the website for more information and submit your nomination by 25 September 2018.


Can £27m a year bring a language back from near death?

1 August 2018 (BBC)

The feeling of walking barefoot across a beach in summer and the sun-warmed sand chafing my toes takes me the length of this sentence to describe. My great-great-grandfather, Angus Morrison, would have used one word: driùchcainn. 

That’s because, born and bred on the fringes of Western Europe, on Lewis, in the archipelago of the Outer Hebrides, his mother tongue was Scottish Gaelic.

It’s the ancient Celtic language heard by TV audiences tuning into the Highlands time-travelling saga Outlander.

In real life, working together crofting, fishing, weaving or cutting peat for fires, my ancestors spoke in Gaelic. It was spoken at home, sung at parties, used at church. But education in Angus’s day was strictly in English. As late as the 1970s, children were sometimes punished for speaking Gaelic at school.

Raised alongside Atlantic surf and storms, he became a sailor. Then, in the mid-nineteenth century, moved to Glasgow, and settled there working as a ship’s rigger. Among the principles he instilled in the family was the importance of education. But he did not pass on his cradle tongue.

My family story illustrates what linguistics experts call intergenerational breakdown. In 2018, along with about half of the world’s estimated 6,000 languages, Scottish Gaelic is considered at risk of dying out.


Glasgow University hears its first Gaelic graduation speech in 567 years

28 June 2018 (The Herald)

Glasgow University has heard its first graduation speech in Gaelic in its 567-year history.

The ancient seat awarded a former moderator of the Church of Scotland with an honorary degree partly because of his commitment to the Celtic tongue.

And the Very Rev Dr Angus Morrison accepted with an oration partly in Gaelic.


Swimming lessons in Gaelic a first for Scotland

26 June 2018 (BBC)

Swimming lessons have been offered in Gaelic for the first time in Scotland.

More than 30 young Gaelic speakers have signed up for the classes at the High Life Highland-run Lochaber Leisure Centre in Fort William.

Eilidh Mcarthur, a student teacher working at the pool, suggested the idea after she found out that 11 of the site's staff were Gaelic speakers.


Stòrlann put Runrig and Sporting Hero resources on-line for Gaelic Medium Education in Secondary

20 June 2018 (Stòrlann)

Stòrlann have also published new literacy resources for Gaelic Medium Education, including a resource about legendary Gaelic rockers Runrig. This multimedia unit comes as the band prepare for their swan song gig in Stirling in August, bowing out after 45 long and successful years promoting Gaelic song and music. It is hoped the resource will teach learners about Runrig’s important legacy for many years to come. There is also a new resource about Highland Sporting Heroes - Laoich Spòrs Gàidhealach.


Ceumannan 5 - New Health and Wellbeing unit on-line for Gaelic Learners by end of session

20 June 2018 (Stòrlann)

Stòrlann Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig are about to publish online the second unit of the final book in the Ceumannan series for Gaelic Learners. Like all the resources in the series which launched in 2009, Ceumannan 5 Aonad 2 - Slàinte agus Sunnd, has been written by Emma Christie. It is aimed at Higher and Advanced Higher Gaelic (Learners). When the resource becomes available at the end of June 2018, it will be available on the Stòrlann website.



20 June 2018 (FilmG)

The successful Film G project which encourages the use of Gaelic through film-making has entered it’s 11th year. Film G is run by MG Alba in partnership with CGS and has been a very popular event for Gaelic Learners and Fluent speakers alike over the last decade. Film G organise school visits and more information can be found on their website.


CLAS - Successful Gaelic teachers conference held at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig 2/3 June

20 June 2018 (CLAS)

CLAS - Comann Luchd-Teagaisg Àrd-Sgoiltean, the professional body for Gaelic Secondary Teachers in Scotland, held a successful CLPL conference at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Scotland’s Gaelic College in the Isle of Skye on 2 & 3 June. SCILT was in attendance along with other speakers, as colleagues took the opportunity to share their hopes and concerns about Gaelic Education in the present time.

If you are a Gaelic teacher or a teacher who speaks Gaelic and would like to be come a member, contact Catriona MacPhee via CLAS’ facebook page.


e-Sgoil wins top praise from Swinney

15 June 2018 (We love Stornoway)

Deputy First Minister John Swinney MSP has praised Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s e-Sgoil project in a review document of its first year which has been circulated to all schools in Scotland.

Mr Swinney said “e-Sgoil makes use of our national education intranet, GLOW and it is effectively using this to bring teachers and learners together no matter their location. I would like to congratulate those involved at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar for their vision, energy and commitment in bringing this project forward in such a short period of time.

“In concluding I would like to commend this report to you and hope you are encouraged by the success set out in the following pages.”

e-Sgoil is offering National 5 and Higher Gaelic (Learners) provision on-line to Local Authorities.

e-Sgoil e have identified the following periods for the delivery of National 5 and Higher Gaelic (Learners):

  • Mon - 08.50 to 09.40 and 09.40 to 10.30 
  • Wed - 13.35 to 14.45 
  • Thurs - 13.55 to 14.45 and 11.45 to 15.35 
  • Fri - 12.25 to 13.15

Any learners wishing to access these courses can do so using Glow, Office 365 and Vscene. 

e-Sgoil also has capacity to deliver weekly Gaelic Learner classes for any schools requiring support with the 1+2 agenda.

If your school or authority is interested in exploring these options contact or phone 01851 822850.


Gaelic manuscripts join Unesco Memory of the World Register

9 June 2018 (The National)

The United Nations has paid Scotland’s Gaelic tongue a huge compliment by adding some of the earliest manuscripts in the language to the Unesco Memory of the World Register.

The National Library of Scotland (NLS) announced yesterday that its renowned collection of early Gaelic manuscripts will go on the register – which aims to preserve the world’s most important documents.

The Gaelic collection will join the likes of the Domesday Book, Magna Carta, the Churchill archives and Scotland’s own Declaration of Arbroath on the register.


The 50-Word Fiction Competition

8 June 2018 (Scottish Book Trust)

Can you write a story in just 50 words? Each month we’ll provide a prompt to get you started, but where the story goes from there is entirely up to you.

The competition includes four categories, Adult Writers, All-age Gaelic Writers, Young Writers 5-11 and Young Writer 12-18. The entries will be judged by a panel and the four winning stories will be published on our website two weeks after the closing date.

Entries for our June competition are currently open. The prompt is to 'write a story set on a beach'. Submit your story by Tuesday 3 July 2018 at noon. 

Visit the Scottish Book Trust website for more information.


Briefing on Gaelic Education

7 June 2018 (Education Scotland)

Education Scotland's latest briefing on Gaelic Education is now available on their website.


Exclusive: National tests to be offered in Gaelic

30 May 2018 (TES)

Literacy and numeracy assessments to be offered to Scottish Gaelic schools from August after government investment.


1+2 Advice - Gaelic (Learners)

30 May 2018 (Education Scotland)

The 1+2 Advice has been updated with information on Gaelic (Learners) as L3 and challenge questions. The challenge questions are designed to support senior leaders and teachers with self-evaluation. They are based on the Quality Indicators of How good is our school? The Gaelic version of the 1+2 Advice is available .

Scots-Gaelic railway map uncovers meaning of station names

23 May 2018 (Scotsman)

Railway stations can tell you a lot about a country, from its economic development to its population centres. But their names also provide an insight into how language and its meaning evolves over time, from describing little more than fields to vanished religious centres.


Related Links

Word Wizard Final 2018: Motivating young people in their language learning

18 May 2018 (SCILT/CISS)

S1-S3 pupils from across Scotland took part in the national final of Word Wizard at the Scottish Parliament on 11 May 2018. Word Wizard is a multilingual spelling competition for pupils learning French, Gaelic, German, Mandarin and Spanish. Forty-eight learners from ten local authorities and independent schools competed in the final in front of an audience of teachers, supporters and guests.
Each year pupils and teachers report that the competition increases motivation, enhances language performance and improves attitudes to language learning. Word Wizard promotes literacy skills amongst pupils and helps schools develop partnership working with universities.

A teacher entering pupils into the final commented: “It provided our pupils with a huge sense of motivation and excitement for learning languages.” 

A pupil competing in the final said: “I liked learning new vocabulary and getting to show it off to everyone.”

Word Wizard is organised by SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages based at University of Strathclyde, in partnership with the University Council for Modern Languages Scotland. 

Fhiona Mackay, Director of SCILT said of the competition: “It’s wonderful to see so many young people taking part in the Word Wizard competition representing a wide range of local authorities. Having an understanding of another language can really transform a person’s life and encourages the development of a whole range of important skills. Through such events, SCILT aims to offer teachers really motivating ways of enhancing the curriculum so that Scottish young people can reap the benefits of learning languages.”

Word Wizard supports the Scottish Government initiative, “Language Learning in Scotland: A 1+2 approach” by offering a diversity of languages as recommended by the report. The targets laid out in the Scottish Attainment Challenge are about achieving equity in educational outcomes, with a particular focus on closing the poverty-related attainment gap. One of the key drivers is improved literacy. 

In March 2018, 190 pupils from 14 local authorities and independent schools competed in semi-finals in Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh to battle it out for a place at the prestigious final. 

Word Wizard is supported by the University Council for Modern Languages Scotland (UCMLS) and the final was sponsored by Joan McAlpine MSP

Full details of the winners and further information on the competition can be found on the SCILT website.


A tongue-lashing over teacher shortage as Gaelic plan agreed

16 May 2018 (The Scotsman)

Parents and pupils at Edinburgh’s only Gaelic high school have demanded action to address a teacher shortage and to stand up for children facing discrimination. The calls came as the city council yesterday agreed its Gaelic Language Plan for 2018-22.

It was revealed the authority only has one Gaelic teacher in employment for Gaelic medium education (GME) at James Gillespie’s High School where pupils are taught primarily through the medium of Gaelic. Speaking at a meeting of the council’s corporate policy and strategy committee, which unanimously agreed the plan, parent Marion Thompson raised worries about protection for GME pupils.


Related Links

Edinburgh Council agrees new Gaelic Language Plan (The Scotsman, 15 May 2018)

An Cuan Sgith / The Little Minch art project connecting islands with Gaelic

14 May 2018 (Sabhal Mòr Ostaig)

A two year visual arts project has connected school pupils from Skye and Benbecula.

The pupils from Bunsgoil Shlèite, Skye and Bunsgoil Baile a' Mhanaich, Benbecula worked with professional artists through the medium of Gaelic.

The project, entitled An Cuan Sgìth/The Little Minch, was led by Lasair Ealain and supported by Sabhal Mòr Ostaig.

The aim of the project is to inspire and empower young people to draw their own environment, working with professional artists to encourage their individual forms of expression and a greater understanding of where they live.

After a series of drawing and painting workshops in their own landscapes the children from Bunsgoil Shlèite visited the pupils in Benbecula for 3 days enabling the children to work together with the artists in different sites, share evening activities through Gaelic and make new friends. At the end of the visit, the Balivanich pupils made the ferry journey across to Skye over An Cuan Sgìth (The Little Minch) drawing on the ferry with the Skye pupils and their teachers.

The pupils were able to work with professional artists, such as Julie Brook, Kate Macdonald and Kath MacLeod (Arts Development Officer SMO).

Subsequently each group learnt how to create compositions of specific areas of their landscape based on a number of their sketchbook drawings, enabling the children to collaborate and work together on large scale charcoal drawings.

The sketchbooks, framed A1 drawings, large scale charcoal compositions and a film of the project will form the exhibitions that express their artistic and physical journey, in Taigh Chearsabhagh, North Uist and Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Skye on 11 May to 23 June 2018.

The project has been funded by Bòrd na Gàidhlig, Western Isles Council, Young Films, Lasair Ealain.

Taigh Chearsabhagh is funded by Creative Scotland, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, and Highlands & Islands Enterprise.


Public consultation on list of Gaelic shellfish names

8 May 2018 (BBC)

A public consultation on recommended Gaelic names for the most common shellfish in Scotland's seas has been launched.

Scottish Natural Heritage has published a list of 85 marine mollusc names, Gaelic terms for parts of the animals and for different seashell shapes.

The meanings of many of the names have also been explained in English.

The recommendations have been produced by a team from Scottish Natural Heritage and Bòrd na Gàidhlig.

Gaelic-speaking environmental educator Roddy Maclean has been leading the project.

He interviewed 14 older Gaelic speakers, mostly from the Western Isles, to obtain guidance on the names they use for marine mollusc species.

Mr Maclean said: "There was a general agreement on the names for the most common species.

"But there were some species where people had different terms, or none at all. This challenged us to make a choice and also provide names for species with no recorded Gaelic form."

Some of the suggested names and terms include:

Mollusc - Moileasg
Seashell - Slige mhara
Filter feeder - Sìoltachair
Shellfish harvested by moonlight - Maorach-èalaidh


“Beairteas” seeking to add richness to Gaelic education

2 May 2018 (Fèisean nan Gàidheal)

Fèisean nan Gàidheal have launched a new initiative through their Fèisgoil project to help increase Gaelic language skills by creating and strengthening inter-generational links. 

With support from the Scottish Government, Fèisean nan Gàidheal is now seeking assistance from Gaelic speakers to establish Beairteas.

What is it?

Beairteas is an intergenerational programme to match community-based fluent Gaelic speakers with schools and community groups. Their richness of language, specialist knowledge of Gaelic culture and many other subjects about which they could speak in Gaelic, would provide a valuable resource for pupils. This would complement the sterling work being done by teachers in Gaelic education.


Gaelic education is very successful and an essential component in growing a new generation of Gaelic speakers. Teachers work extremely hard to immerse children in the language and deliver a range of subjects through the medium of Gaelic.

Gaelic speakers involved in almost any walk of life have a tremendous amount to offer Gaelic education. The Curriculum for Excellence encourages work and engagement with people in communities.

Beairteas aims to complement schoolwork, offering opportunities for children to communicate in Gaelic with people other than their teachers. Engaging them with Gaelic speakers with specialist knowledge of the work they do or have done, as well as any interesting pastimes in which they may have been involved, will strengthen the language skills of the young people giving them a breadth of vocabulary they may not pick up through their daily schoolwork.

You may be a police officer, involved in the health service, community work or a trade. You may have specialist knowledge of Gaelic songs, history, traditional stories, war, sport or working in other countries. You may be involved in fishing, crofting, gardening, photography, weaving, cooking or almost anything in which you could engage young people through the medium of Gaelic.

Would you be willing to be involved?

If you would enjoy working with young people and are passionate about the revitalisation of Gaelic, Fèisean nan Gàidheal would like to hear from you. Work will be paid, but dependent on schools engaging with the Beairteas scheme. If you have any questions, please call Eilidh Mackenzie, Fèisgoil Manager on 01463 225559 or e-mail any queries to

More information is available on the organisation's website.


#IsMiseGàidhlig spreads throughout the World

1 May 2018 (BBC)

A twitter hashtag #IsMiseGàidhlig took the Scottish internet by storm last week as members of the Gaelic community, fluent speakers and learners alike gave their positive experiences of Scotland’s oldest native language in response to negative stories in the press.

Thug an taga-hais #IsMiseGàidhlig os làimh Twitter na h-Alba an t-seachdain seo nuair a bha buill de choimhearsnachd na Gàidhlig, fileantaich agus luchd-ionnsachaidh le chèile, a’ sgaoileadh sgeulachdan togarrach mun a’ chànan mar fhreagairt air droch sgeulachdan anns na meadhanan.


Gaelic TV channel secures £5.2m of new content

27 April 2018 (The Herald)

A series of international deals has secured programmes worth £5.2 million for Scotland's Gaelic language channel.

Gaelic media service MG Alba said it had agreed the additional content for BBC Alba through deals led by its supplier companies.

(subscription required to read full article)


Tories attack language teaching ‘failures’

26 April 2018 (The Times)

The number of pupils taking Higher French and German has fallen as interest in Italian and Chinese rises.

The number of pupils studying any Higher modern languages fell 6.2 per cent between 2016 and last year. Pupils studying Higher French fell by 14 per cent to 3,918 and German was down 13 per cent from 1,020 to 89. The number of students taking Higher Spanish hit 2,809, up 8 per cent on 2016; Italian rose 21 per cent to 264; Chinese languages grew in popularity by 16 per cent to 129; and Urdu rose by 13 per cent to 104. Those learning Gaelic at Higher level fell by 18 per cent, to 69.

(Subscription required to read full article).


New funding of £2.5m for next phase of Gaelic dictionary

24 April 2018 (BBC)

Funding of £2.5m has been put in place for the next phase of the development of the first comprehensive Gaelic dictionary.

Faclair na Gàidhlig aims to document the history, development and use of every single word in the language.

It would be far more detailed than any dictionary available in bookshops.

The production is being made possible through a collaboration between several universities and the National Centre for Gaelic Language and Culture.

The latest funding announced by the Scottish government will be managed by the Scottish Funding Council.

The new dictionary is a long-term project and would be the equivalent of the multi-volume resources available for English and Scots.

It could take 30 years to produce and is likely to have around 100,000 entries.

The universities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Strathclyde and Sabhal Mòr Ostaig are involved in the project, which has the support of Bòrd na Gàidhlig, the national public body with responsibility for Gaelic.


Glasgow set for third Gaelic school in Government language drive

24 April 2018 (The Scotsman)

John Swinney has announced that a third Gaelic school is to open in Glasgow as part of the Scottish Government’s drive to increase the number of speakers of the language. 

The new school will provide Gaelic medium education (GME) and is expected to open in the Cartvale area of the city.

Nearly 900 pupils are enrolled in Glasgow’s two existing GME schools at Glendale and Berkeley Street – both of which are now at capacity. The plans for the new school were announced during a Holyrood debate on the National Gaelic Language Plan 2018-23.


£8.7million Gaelic School opens in Portree

16 April 2018 (Press and Journal)

Pupils from Portree will today attend different primary schools for the first time as a new Gaelic School opens its doors.

The school becomes the fifth dedicated Gaelic specific school across Scotland – and the third in the Highland region – to offer pupils the opportunity to be educated in the form of Gaelic medium education.

The construction phase of the £8.7million project began in September 2016 and concluded this month as parents and friends of the school will gather at the end of this week to celebrate the schools opening with a family ceilidh.


Related Links

New beginnings as Gaelic school opens in Portree (West Highland Free Press, 19 April 2018)

Row over £10m Gaelic school opening on Isle of Skye (The Scotsman, 20 April 2018)

Isle of Skye's Gaelic-only school 'will divide community' (The Herald, 21 April 2018)

Call for Gaelic to be included on Duolingo

13 April 2018 (Stornoway Gazette)

Western Isles Alasdair Allan is calling for Scottish Gaelic to be added to Duolingo, the world’s most popular online language learning service. 

Duolingo’s 200 million worldwide users can choose to learn minority languages Welsh and Irish as well as fictional languages from Star Trek and Game of Thrones for free on the app, however there are no Scottish languages currently on offer.


Together arts project for schools

10 April 2018 (UK-German Connection)

Together is a creative arts project, which invites young people to produce poetry, art, or songs on the themes of hope and unity, inspired by the shared history between the UK and Germany to mark the WW1 Centenary.

Open to all young people aged 9-16 working in groups or individually, projects should be on the theme of hope and unity, inspired by the First World War. Poetry and songs can be in English, German, Gaelic or Welsh.  Art work can be in any medium.

Visit the UK-German Connection website for more information. Entry deadline is Friday 15 June 2018.


Agenda: Our politicians should be doing more for Gaelic

7 April 2018 (The Herald)

Followers of social media and Scottish print media would be forgiven for thinking that there is widespread hostility toward Gaelic in Scotland. Yet, this does not appear to be the case. In 2012, for example, the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey indicated that 76 per cent of respondents felt that Gaelic was either very or fairly important to Scottish heritage, and only four per cent felt it was not at all important.


MSP to give Holyrood address in Gaelic to raise language profile

29 March 2018 (The Scotsman)

An MSP is seeking to raise the profile of Gaelic by delivering an entire speech in the language at Holyrood. 

Kate Forbes will become just the second female MSP, and the first in the current Scottish Parliament chamber, to deliver a whole contribution in Gaelic during a plenary debate. 

Ms Forbes, who chairs Holyrood’s cross-party group on the language, will speak as MSPs consider a motion on Scotland’s support for the (Unesco) convention for the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage. 


Launch of the new National Gaelic Language Plan

28 March 2018 (Bòrd na Gàidhlig)

The new National Gaelic Language Plan, which sets out the framework for the faster growth of the language across Scotland, has been launched today (Wednesday 28th March) at the Scottish Parliament.

The central purpose of the Plan is to encourage and enable more people to use Gaelic more often and in a wider range of situations. The key messages, aims, priorities and new commitments contained in the Plan all contribute to achieving this increased use of Gaelic.


Plans submitted for multi-million pound Gaelic cultural centre on Uist

20 March 2018 (Press and Journal)

The £7 million Cnoc Soilleir Project is a joint venture between Lews Castle College UHI and Ceolas Gaelic, the arts and heritage organisation in Daliburgh, South Uist.

It will receive investment from the Scottish Government’s Gaelic Capital Plan and is expected to create 40 jobs.

The area is recognised as a key community for the revitalisation of the Gaelic language in Scotland and Cnoc Soilleir has a significant role in leading this development.


Council’s plan aims to ensure language thrives in 21st century and beyond

16 February 2018 (The Falkirk Herald)

To some its a dead language of the past while others see it as a vital part of Scotland’s heritage. Whatever your feelings, no one can deny the Scottish Government is keeping it firmly front and centre in the national consciousness, making it a legal requirement for all local authorities in the country to create a plan outlining how they will support and increase Gaelic language culture in their area. 

At a meeting of Falkirk Council’s executive committee on Tuesday members gave their backing to the local authority’s draft Gaelic Language Plan. 

Council leader Cecil Meiklejohn said: “It’s very important our young people learn about our local history and our local heritage. Gaelic is not just a North of Scotland or Western Isles language – it was used in the Central Lowlands as well. There is an increase in interest in the Gaelic and it’s not just about language. It’s the whole culture as well and it’s something we should encourage where we can.”


£500,000 funding boost for Gaelic media firm behind BBC Alba

10 February 2018 (The Herald)

THE media company which provides services in Gaelic across Scotland has awarded £500,000 from the Gaelic Capital Fund. 

MG ALBA said it would use the investment to redevelop the Seaforth Road Studio in Stornoway to provide improved facilities for programming, which will be used to increase training in creative digital media, learning, arts and cultural heritage.

Funding will enable MG ALBA, which operates BBC Alba in partnership with the BBC, to develop a training programme for young people with an interest in working in the media.


Kirk consults on Gaelic Plan

23 January 2018 (Stornoway Gazette)

A comprehensive survey on the use of Gaelic within the Church of Scotland is being launched. 

The Kirk’s Gaelic Group is laying the groundwork for a new plan that will look at how the language is currently being used in ministry. The audit will help determine how Gaelic-led ministry could be supported in future. 

It will include a questionnaire for ministers, including student ministers, probationers and ordained local ministers, that is designed to build a complete picture of Gaelic ministry within the church today. 


Gaelic language something to embrace: Readers' Letters

16 January 2018 (The Courier)

I was motivated to write in to your letters page following a number of negative comments featured recently relating to the Gaelic language. While I can appreciate individuals’ concerns, I have to say that my own experience within the past year has been very different.

Since travelling around Scotland and taking an interest in local history and culture, I have become aware of the opportunities to learn more about Scots Gaelic. There are many myths that are perpetuated around the money spent on promoting and supporting Gaelic without thinking of the social, cultural and economic benefits to all.


Breakthrough in quest for Book of Deer monastery

6 January 2018 (The Scotsman)

The search for the lost Pictish monastery where the first examples of Scottish Gaelic were written down has made a major breakthrough ten years after the quest began. 

Recent finds in Aberdeenshire have brought archaeologists closer to pinpointing the whereabouts of the Christian site which was home to the Book of Deer before the monastery disappeared about 1,000 years ago.


Posted in: Gaelic

Gaelic row over Scotland’s hygge campaign

14 December 2017 (Scotsman)

It was meant to sum up that feeling of being all cosy, warm and settled indoors as the cold and the dark lurk outside. But the Gaelic word picked by VisitScotland to promote its’s own version of Danish hygge - a way of life characterised by candlelight, warm glows and logs on the fire - appears to have ruined the moment for some.


Related Links

VisitScotland campaign sparks war of words that’s far from cosy (The Herald, 16 December 2017)

High school move paves way for city's first secondary dedicated to Gaelic

8 December 2017 (The Herald)

Plans to move a Gaelic school in Edinburgh will pave the way for the city's first high school dedicated to the language, if demand grows.

Edinburgh City Council is consulting on plans to move its existing Gaelic medium education (GME) provision from James Gillespie's High School in Marchmont to Drummond Community High School in Bellevue. The informal consultation is to begin in the new year after reports that projections for James Gillespie's suggest it will have issues accommodating pupil intake in the future.

The council said transfer of GME provision to Drummond Community High School means it could become a dedicated Gaelic secondary in several years' time.


Map: How the number of Scottish Gaelic speakers has changed since 1891

8 December 2017 (The Scotsman)

The prevalence of Scottish Gaelic speakers has waned dramatically in the last 100 years. The language was once widely spoken across much of the Highlands and western regions of Scotland but now only around 1 in 100 Scots can speak it.

This video from UK Languages Mapping charts the decline in the language from 1891-2011 using census date.


James Eglinton: Why Gaelic speakers talk about God in English

7 December 2017 (The Scotsman)

At present, the Gaelic language is both blossoming and vulnerable. The number of young and new Gaelic speakers is increasing, although this upturn is overshadowed by the declining number of elderly speakers.

In its commitment to grow the number of fluent speakers, the Scottish Government continues to support Gaelic in education and the media. In 2017, Gaelic is doing fairly well as a language of education, media and entertainment: it is heard in news broadcasts, spoken in classrooms across the country, and enjoyed by children in the form of cartoons like Peppa and Charlie is Lola. 

Against this backdrop the Scottish Bible Society has unveiled a new translation of the New Testament in modern Scottish Gaelic.


Glasgow home to largest number of Gaelic speakers outwith highlands and islands

7 December 2017 (GlasgowLive)

A public consultation has been launched on Glasgow City Council's draft Gaelic language plan for the next few years. Views are being sought for the 2018 - 2022 proposals, designed to ensure a sustainable future for the language in Scotland's biggest city and recognise its contribution to the history of the local area. Glasgow City Council currently operates three Gaelic nurseries, two primary schools and one secondary school. There are more than 1,000 young people aged from three to 18 years in Gaelic Medium Education in the city and, in response to demand, the council is currently in discussions about the creation of another school.


Scottish pupils release Gaelic Christmas song to highlight its importance in North Lanarkshire

2 December 2017 (The National)

A new Christmas song is highlighting the importance of Gaelic in North Lanarkshire.

’S e Nollaig a th’ ann! (It’s Christmas!) was recorded by Làn Chomais, a rock band made up of pupils from Greenfaulds High School in Cumbernauld, with the backing of almost 1000 young voices from the area.

Gaelic teacher Kevin Rodgers mentored the young musicians and helped them make their first recording, and was supported by North Lanarkshire Council and Bòrd na Gàidhlig.

Rodgers said: “At Greenfaulds High School, we have been searching for a way to make the North Lanarkshire community more aware of the fact that Gaelic is alive and well in our area.”


Gaelic (Learners) conference materials

30 November 2017 (Education Scotland)

Materials from the conference Gaelic (Learners) in a 1+2 Approach to Languages are now available online and includes a keynote address from the Deputy First Minister.


Video: Ten Gaelic phrases you can use every day

28 November 2017 (The Scotsman)

On November 30, the Scottish Parliament will be hosting a number of Gaelic pop-up facilities to help you brush up on your conversational Gaelic.

A pop-up stall in the main hall will be erected charged to give you a crash course in the native Scottish language in five minutes. Challenge accepted. Then there’s a free one-hour tour of the Parliament for Gaelic speakers and learners, followed by a beginner’s level Gaelic speaking class in the Parliament’s Chat Room.

[...]We’ve picked ten everyday, run-of-the-mill phrases to test your mettle as a warm-up to Thursday’s activities at the Parliament.


University explores benefits of speaking Gaelic in business

14 November 2017 (The Scotsman)

A university is to discuss whether speaking one of Scotland’s mother tongues could offer an advantage to businesses. 

International business expert Seonaidh MacDonald will talk about his experiences of using Gaelic in a global business context at a lunchtime seminar offered by the University of the Highlands and Islands.


The Scottish Gaelic Awards are a night to celebrate the surge in Gaelic speakers

13 November 2017 (Daily Record)

The Scottish Gaelic Awards bring together the very best in learning, achievement and development and celebrate the great work being done by Gaels in every corner of Scotland.

From inner cities to the Western Isles, traditional language and culture is being developed and promoted by amazing people from every walk of life.


Word Wizard 2018 - new semi-final added!

3 November 2017 (SCILT/CISS)

SCILT's Word Wizard competition is returning for its fifth year and we are delighted to announce we are adding a fourth semi-final date!

In addition to the semi-finals already taking place at the Universities of Strathclyde, Aberdeen and Dundee, in collaboration with the UCMLS, this year we will be holding another semi-final at Edinburgh College. 

Word Wizard is a multilingual spelling competition open to S1-S3 pupils learning French, Gaelic, German, Mandarin or Spanish. The competition provides a perfect opportunity for language teachers to address The Attainment Challenge by allowing pupils of all levels the chance to excel in language learning. Word Wizard develops skills in acquisition of vocabulary, pronunciation, spelling, recall and public speaking; not to mention the many literacy outcomes it addresses. This hugely motivating competition encourages links with other curricular areas and with health and wellbeing, culminating in a high profile celebration of language learning.

Visit SCILT's Word Wizard webpage to find out more about this year's competition and to register your school.


Dual language police van hits the road in Dumfries and Galloway

1 November 2017 (BBC)

The first new police vehicle carrying the logo in both English and Gaelic has hit the road in Dumfries and Galloway. Police Scotland introduced the new branding earlier this year.

The change is being made as part of the force's commitment to its five-year Gaelic Language Plan.
It said it was keen to ensure that Gaelic-speaking communities across the country were "well served and ably represented" by the national police service.


Leadership opportunity for Gaelic teachers

27 October 2017 (SCEL)

Are you a Gaelic teacher or middle leader looking to enhance you leadership capacity? The SCEL endorsed Award in Leadership programme from Social Enterprise Academy is running next month on 3 and 4 November. This programme empowers practitioners to positively influence the teams in which they work.


‘Sing songs to learn Gaelic’, say education experts

23 October 2017 (Stòrlann Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig)

A second language can be learned more easily when it is taught through music, was the message given out at the Royal National Mod in Lochaber earlier this month.

Jackie Mullen, a consultant trainer for the Go! Gaelic programme being run by Gaelic educational resources organisation Stòrlann, has seen first hand how effective music is as a learning tool. The Go! Gaelic programme includes a comprehensive programme of online resources that are used in primary schools across the country to teach some Gaelic to children who are in English Medium Education.

Visit the website or see the attached press release for more information.


'I fell in love with these words, and despite my efforts to move on and let go of the past, Gaelic would not let me do it'

22 October 2017 (The Herald)

“Dad, I’m going to tell it to you straight,” I said at the dinner table, aged 17 and ready to jump into the big wide world. My parents put down their cutlery in preparation for whatever was to come. “I’m not going to do Celtic Studies,” I blurted out, and I remember their faces still, choking on their sprouts in their efforts to hide their amusement.

Celtic Studies was my father’s all-consuming passion, and 16 years after his early retirement from Edinburgh University, it still is. We have no family connections to the Highlands and Islands – growing up in a house in Glasgow full of French, English and Italian (and a smattering of Arabic), my father took an interest in the Gaelic he heard about him in the trams and streets and classrooms of the city.


Double Gaelic Awards nomination for GME teachers’ resource web-site

20 October 2017 (Stòrlann)

A website of resources for Gaelic Medium Education, run by two primary school teachers from Skye, has been shortlisted for a Scottish Gaelic Award for the second year running.

The website, Lasadh, is managed by Gaelic educational resources organisation Stòrlann Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig and led by teachers Gwen Culbertson and Mairi Macdonald, who both teach in Sleat Primary School (Bun-sgoil Shleite).

Lasadh is up for the Innovation in Education Award in the Daily Record’s Scottish Gaelic Awards, as it was last year, but is also nominated in the Learner Award category this year.

The awards, sponsored by Bòrd na Gàidhlig, will be held in the Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow on November 15 and aim to “reward all aspects of our Gaelic culture, education and language” and “highlight the excellent work undertaken to maintain growth and heritage”.

Lasadh is an online, digital and interactive resource for primary school pupils and teachers, created several years ago by Gwen and Mairi who had realised there was a shortage of language-related re-sources for Gaelic Medium Education (GME). Found online at, the website focuses on literacy activities and provides a range of resources for use in the classroom or at home and for individual use or group work.

There are many downloads which can be edited as required and the number of available downloads, digital games and other resources is growing all the time.

Recent additions to the website include spelling games, modelled on the ‘look, say, cover, write and check’ system used in schools, as well as jigsaws for the early years.

Use of the website’s resources has been increasing across Scotland. To support this demand, the Stòrlann team including Project Officer Sarah MacEachan, who is based in Uist, have delivered training sessions on Lasadh via video link to teachers on the mainland.

Another new development is that Gwen and Mairi have been seconded onto Lasadh since August for a day a week, thanks to support from Bòrd na Gàidhlig via the Gaelic Language Act Implemen-tation Fund (GLAIF). The money means Stòrlann can fund the necessary class cover for Gwen and Mairi. Previously, the pair were working on Lasadh in their own time. Gwen said: “The day a week each out of class for this year means that we can have a clear focus for development of materials and dedicated time to research and create them. Up until now it has been quite a juggling act with my young family of three and teaching full time, trying to fit it all in.

“Our secondment is only newly established, however thus far it has provided us with much needed opportunities to work together with Stòrlann to meet, discuss and plan the road ahead for Lasadh.”

All GME teachers are warmly invited to contribute their own resources for possible inclusion in Lasadh. The best way to contribute these resources is via a second website, also managed by Stòr-lann, which functions as a repository.

Stòrlann Project Officer Sarah MacEeachan explained how that website, called Seo Sibh!, works. Teachers can upload files to various collections — primary school, high school, etc — on the web-site, Again, this is a website for GME.

Once the resources have been checked by Stòrlann they will then be uploaded for widespread use, either via Lasadh or the main Stòrlann website,

Sarah said: “It’s for teachers to send materials in and we can proof them. We’ll quality assure mate-rials and then they can be made available for other teachers.”

Sarah, whose other projects including the popular website, warmly wel-comed the news that Lasadh was again up for an award.

She said: “I was delighted to get the nomination, pleased that they’re recognising Lasadh as some-thing valuable. We’re pleased to be nominated for the second year in a row and looking forward to the grand ceremony in Glasgow.”

Teacher Mairi said: “It’s a great feeling to be nominated again. It’s great to get good feedback on the project and it is an exciting project to be part of.

“The website and project have been growing over the years. More and more resources are being cre-ated and becoming available online. Digital games have become more available and now that Gwen and I have a day a week to work on the project, we hope it will continue to grow and resources will be available quicker and there will be a greater volume available.

“We are getting great feedback from teacher all over the country. This is the only online, accessible resource for Gaelic Medium teachers. They would like to see more resources over the curriculum so that’s something we are hoping to develop with Stòrlann in the future.”

Gwen added: “The response from teachers online and at our workshops has been very positive. This additional time allows us, with support from Stòrlann and their design team at Lumberjack Digital, to address and follow their ideas and further develop Gaelic Medium literacy resources.

“We both hope to attend the award ceremony and are very much looking forward to it. We are not entirely sure who might have nominated us, but Lasadh is very grateful. Fingers crossed for Lasadh on the night!”

In its nomination, Lasadh was described as a “fantastic and much-needed Gaelic Medium language resource”, with resources for reading, writing, talking and listening which were “high quality, easy to use, fun and have filled many of the gaps we had in language resources”.

It added: “They (Gwen and Mairi) are open to suggestions too. They know the struggles that GME teachers have because they are class teachers and resources are made to support us.

“This award would say thank you from all of us for all their hard work and give them the recogni-tion that they deserve.”

Oor Wullie gets a new life as Uilleam Againne

17 October 2017 (Press and Journal)

Stories about one of the most popular Scottish characters of all time have now been translated into Gaelic.

The Oor Wullie – or Uilleam Againne – book is being launched today at the Royal National Mod in Fort William.

The book, described as a “huge piece of work” was a labour of love for Dr Domnhnall Uilleam Stiubhart of the University of the Highlands and Islands who is based at the Gaelic college, Sabhal Mor Ostaig, on Skye and colleague, Mairi Kidd.

The young rascal, who has immortalised catchphrases such as Jings, Crivvens and Help ma Boab, and is always getting into mischief, set his translators quite a challenge – especially with the speech bubbles that come out of his mouth.

Dr Stiubhart said: “Every speech bubble had to be changed and made as simple as possible so that a child could read them. We felt that all the young Gaelic speakers were missing out by not having stories such as these in their language.

“My two sons, Alasdair who is 10 and Seumas, seven, just love Oor Wullie, so we thought it would be great to do a book on him that youngsters can start reading by themselves. Lots of adults love the Oor Wullie adventures too, so it can really be for everyone.”


Call for Gaelic language czar for Scotland

16 October 2017 (The Herald)

A Gaelic tsar would ensure Scotland’s mother tongue flourishes in the classroom in the wake of a controversial failed bid to create a new Gaelic primary school, an academic has claimed.

Professor Rob Dunbar, chair of Celtic languages at Edinburgh University, said the current mechanism to force councils and other bodies to promote the language was too weak.

It comes after a bid by parents for Gaelic primary school education was rejected by East Renfrewshire Council despite new laws designed to encourage the spread of the language.


Gaelic study sees decline in its heartland of the Outer Hebrides

12 October 2017 (The Herald)

The long-term future of the Gaelic language in the Outer Hebrides is under threat, according to a leading academic.

The warning came after new figures showed a decline in pupils studying Gaelic in parts of the Western Isles.

Once regarded as the traditional stronghold of the language, numbers sitting Gaelic exams in the third and fourth year of secondary school have fallen from 78 to just 24 in the past decade.

The decline mirrors a drop across Scotland with a nine per cent fall in entries for all Gaelic exams in 2017 including National 5 and Higher.

Professor Rob Dunbar, chair of Celtic languages at Edinburgh University, said he was concerned for the future of the language.


Related Links

Sharp drop in island learners raises fears for future of Gaelic (The Times, 12 October 2017)

The week ahead: The Mod

9 October 2017 (The Herald)

Behold Alba, the peculiar country. One of Scotland’s peculiarities is the way that people get their drathais in a twist about language.

And when we say language we mean Gaelic. Only last week, announcements that Gaelic would appear on road signs in Edinburgh and efforts made to revive the language in Tayside gave rise to frothing of the mouth and gnashing of the teeth therein from the usual suspects.

Odd thing: a desire to kill a language. Fair enough, it has declined on its own, as it were, submerged in a larger culture that for a while outlawed it. But it isn’t dead yet, and the urge to kick it when it is down is a strange aspect of the Scottish character, one with which we are familiar in its wider context of national self-loathing.


Gaelic school rejected after council shuns parents' bid

7 October 2017 (The Herald)

A bid by parents for Gaelic primary school education has been rejected despite new laws which were supposed to encourage the spread of the language.

A group of 49 families from East Renfrewshire contacted the council asking them to explore the possibility of a Gaelic primary unit or school in the area.

However, East Renfrewshire Council sent letters to all those involved warning families children would no longer be able to attend their local catchment area school if a Gaelic facility was set up.

“Instead, your child would attend another establishment in a location yet to be decided,” the letter said.

The council also highlighted the importance of parents learning Gaelic stating: “It is considered that it is crucial prospective parents ... who are not already Gaelic speakers are committed to learning Gaelic.”


What's your story? - Creative writing programme for teens in Scotland

6 October 2017 (Scottish Book Trust)

  • Are you 14-17 years old, living in Scotland, and care about creative writing and illustration?
  • Do you want to meet other teens interested in creative writing and illustration?
  • Do you want to improve your own creative skills?
  • Do you want to help create events and resources for other teens?
  • Do you want to show Scotland that teenagers make brilliant creative work?

If this sounds like you, read on to find out more about our What’s Your Story? Development Programme and how to apply to join us this year! It’s free to apply and to take part.

The programme invites and encourages Gaelic speakers to get involved.

Application deadline: 12 noon on Monday 16 October 2017.


Edinburgh Council publish Gaelic language plan ahead of consultation

2 October 2017 (The Scotsman)

Edinburgh Council have released their Gaelic language plan to support and promote the language and culture ahead of consultation. The plan aims to promote a city that develops and supports more fluent and  confident Gaelic speakers as well as promoting thriving Gaelic communities and cultures.

The ‘Draft Gaelic Language Plan’ was published by the City of Edinburgh Council today and is open for consultation until December 15. It is part of the Council’s commitment to work in partnership with Gaelic communities, organisations who deliver Gaelic services, Bòrd na Gàidhlig and the Scottish Government to support the language and culture.


Related Links

Gaelic learning to be expanded in Edinburgh (The Herald, 2 October 2017)

Virtual Gaelic school commended for helping to cover teacher shortages and supporting professional development

29 September 2017 (Holyrood Magazine)

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s virtual Gaelic school has been praised in an independent evaluation for helping to cover teacher shortages and supporting professional development.

A report of the e-Sgoil’s virtual school’s first year commended the council’s leadership team for its desire to help other local authorities and said the “energy and commitment” of those involved in the project had been “most impressive”.

The independent report by former Highland Council director of education Bruce Robertson and Martin Finnigan of consultants Caledonian Economics was presented to Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Education, Sport and Children’s Services earlier this week.

It also praised the use of e-Sgoil for professional development in education and suggested the e-Sgoil approach could be rolled out across Scotland.


Gaelic World War II project resource

27 September 2017 (Stòrlann Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig)

An interdisciplinary resource which aims to provide Gaelic Medium Education teachers with a ‘one stop shop’ of topic-specific material for the classroom was launched at the national An t-Alltan conference for GME practitioners held in Aviemore last week.

An Dàrna Cogadh was developed by Gaelic educational resources organisation Stòrlann Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig in response to Gaelic Medium Education practitioners’ requests for a comprehensive teaching package, based online, on the subject of World War Two.

The online resource brings together many informative Gaelic texts and books— some created especially for this project — with a rich variety of other material from the wider world, including web, print and video. It is designed to support teachers delivering this subject in the primary sector.

Visit the website to access the resource and for more information see the attached press release.


An t-Alltan conference

22 September 2017 (Stòrlann Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig)

Teachers involved in Gaelic Medium Education from all over the country will be gathering in Aviemore next week for the annual An t-Alltan conference.

Organised by Gaelic educational resources organisation Stòrlann Naiseanta na Gaidhlig, based in Stornoway, this will be the ninth year of An t-Alltan and the number of attendees has been growing every year.

It is taking place in the Macdonald Aviemore Conference Centre, on September 27 and 28.

Around 200 teachers from the early years sector through to high school are expected to attend and the keynote speech will be delivered by Joan Mackay, assistant director at Education Scotland, on the theme of ‘developing the young workforce’ and ‘what kind of leaders we need to be’.

There will be nearly 30 workshops held across the two days and 18 exhibitors.

See the full press release attached for more information.
photos from An t-Alltan conference

Council to spend £160,000 teaching staff to speak Gaelic

20 September 2017 (The Herald)

A council plans to spend £160,000 teaching its staff to speak Gaelic.

Perth and Kinross aims to reverse the decline which has left just 1,287 locals speaking the language.

The local authority has revealed proposals for a £160,000 Gaelic Language Plan to be rolled out over the next five years.


Police Scotland rolls out dual English-Gaelic Logo

19 September 2017 (Fife Today)

Police Scotland has today (Tuesday, September 19) introduced its dual language logo featuring both English and Gaelic.

The branding, which carries both Police Scotland and Poileas Alba, will be introduced on the service’s website and intranet.

It will also be carried on signage, stationery and vehicles, and will be introduced on these items as they are replaced on reaching the end of their serviceable life.

The changes are being made as part of the force’s commitment to implementing its Gaelic Language Plan, which sets out the service’s pledge to creating a sustainable future for the language in Scotland by integrating it within Police Scotland’s services and corporate identity.


The e-Sgoil is ‘a reason to come back to teaching’

15 September 2017 (TESS)

A project that allows lessons to be beamed into Scottish classrooms has been described as “one of the best things” happening in Scottish education by a former education director who has conducted an independent review of the scheme.

The e-Sgoil – or e-school – based in the Western Isles became a reality at the beginning of 2016-17 to help tackle the teacher shortage, particularly in Gaelic, and to give secondary pupils in remote and rural schools a wider range of subjects.

Access the full article in TESS online, 15 September 2017 (subscription may be required).


Weird and wonderful poster art of Gaelic's FilmG

9 September 2017 (BBC)

Gaelic short film competition FilmG is this year celebrating the running of its 10th contest. To help mark the anniversary, organisers held an exhibition of the competition's colourful posters at Tramway, an arts space in Glasgow.

The posters were created by Steven McKenzie, senior designer at Cànan Graphics Studio on Skye. The posters are designed to reflect each year's theme. Previously these have included "strì" meaning endeavour/conflict and "cliù" meaning prestige, fame or reputation. The theme chosen for the 10th FilmG is "fìrinn" meaning truth.


Education Scotland Gaelic news

6 September 2017 (Education Scotland)

The latest edition of Education Scotland's Gaelic e-bulletin is now available.


How relevant is Gaelic to modern Scotland today?

2 September 2017 (The Press and Journal)

Chan eil aon chànan gu leòr.

How many readers can understand this sentiment or indeed recognise the Gaelic phrase which aptly translates as one language is never enough?

Sadly, or depending in the light in which one views Gaelic, it would seem one language in Scotland is indeed enough with just 1.1% of the population speaking Gaelic.

It is no secret that Gaelic has been in decline for many years despite road signs in the Highlands and islands and even in the north-east including the Gaelic place name.

Classed as an indigenous language, it is believed Gaelic was brought to Scotland around the fourth or fifth century by settlers from Ireland, reaching its peak in 1018.

Some historians pinpoint its decline to the reign of King Malcom Canmore, although his brother re-introduced the language when he inherited the throne.

History aside, how relevant is Gaelic to modern Scotland today on both a social and economic level?


Here’s how Outlander Sam Heughan is doing his bit to save an award-winning museum in the Scottish Highlands

1 September 2017 (Scottish Sun)

Outlander stars are doing their bit to save an award-winning museum in the Scottish Highlands.

The Gairloch Herittage Museum – dubbed “one of the best in Scotland” by the National Trust – will lose its home next year.

And telly hunk Sam Heughan is getting behind a crowdfunding campaign to raise the final £60,000 needed for its proposed new location.

Fans of the hit time travel show now have the chance to get their hands on some coveted Outlander goodies.

Some of the prizes up for grabs include a limited number of Gaelic dictionaries signed by Sam and the Outlander cast.

Fans can also win Gaelic lessons with Adhamh O’Broin, who is the Gaelic consultant on the show.

Adhamh said: “Not many people are aware but Gairloch and Wester Ross have played an integral part to the creation of the TV series, Outlander.

“We use the Wester Ross Gaelic dialect throughout the series and I often called upon Gairloch man, the late Roddy Mackenzie, for advice when we were on set.

“Roddy, who was also heavily involved in the Gairloch Heritage Museum, helped us by providing accurate translations and local sayings to ensure we were portraying the language as authentically as possible.”


The 50-word fiction competition

31 August 2017 (Scottish Book Trust)

To celebrate the opening of the Queensferry Crossing, Scottish Book Trust are inviting writers to enter their 50-word fiction competition for September where a bridge must be incorporated in the story.

Entries in Scots and Gaelic are welcomed. Stories should be submitted by 30 September 2017.

Find out more on the Scottish Book Trust's website.


Gaelic ‘bear hunting’ kids are internet sensations

30 August 2017 (The Scotsman)

A group of primary school children from the east end of Glasgow have become internet sensations after their Gaelic musical version of ‘Going on a Bear Hunt’ went viral on YouTube. Views of the film, which features youngsters from Caledonia Primary enacting the story in their school grounds in Baillieston, have climbed to nearly 2.2 million.

The film, made with the help of the Grounds for Learning charity, is just under five minutes long and shows the pupils from P1 and 2 ‘hunting’ for a bear. Dressed in oilskins and wellies, they go splashing through the mud and creeping through concrete tunnels, while they sing the words to Tha Sinn a’ Dol a Shireadh Mathan, a Gaelic version of the kids classic story by Michael Rosen.


Funding for Gaelic Centre

17 August 2017 (Scottish Government)

A Gaelic music, culture and heritage centre planned in South Uist has been awarded £1 million funding.

The £7 million Cnoc Soilleir project will receive the investment from the Scottish Government’s Gaelic Capital Plan and is expected to create around 40 jobs.

Cnoc Soilleir will support the growth of Ceòlas Uibhist community-led activity around Gaelic language learning, music and dance, as well as the Lews Castle College UHI music programmes. Additional creative industry courses will be provided to enable further growth in student numbers.

Established in 1996, Ceòlas Uibhist has grown from a week-long music and dance school to become one of Scotland’s leading Gaelic culture, heritage and arts organisations.


New hub for e-Sgoil virtual Gaelic school opened in North Uist

17 August 2017 (Holyrood)

A new satellite hub for the online distance learning Gaelic school e-Sgoil has been opened in the former Carinish School building in North Uist by Education Secretary John Swinney.

The virtual Gaelic school was launched just over a year ago by Bòrd na Gàidhlig, the Gaelic language board, to provide connectivity between schools in the Western Isles and beyond, and to offer improved subject access and learning opportunities for Gaelic-medium secondaries and teachers across the country.


Scotland enjoys tourism boost thanks to interest in Gaelic

15 August 2017 (The Scotsman)

Proposals have been put forward to investigate Gaelic links with historic properties as use of the language has seen a surge in visitor interest.

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has launched a consultation for its Draft Gaelic Language Plan 2018-2023.

Under its proposals are a number of strategies aimed at increasing its use and discovering links with the properties in its care.

Alex Paterson, chief executive of HES, said: “We have developed an ambitious plan, which will help to illustrate the place of Gaelic within Scottish culture, while increasing resources for Gaelic speakers and learners.

“We want this consultation to reach as many people as possible so we can ensure that the final plan is robust and representative. We very much look forward to reviewing the feedback.”

The use of Gaelic in the hit TV series Outlander has sparked increased interest amongst visitors to Scotland and historic sites linked to the show are continuing to see significant rises in tourist numbers.


Gaelic school planned for Edinburgh as demand soars

11 August 2017 (The Times)

A dedicated Gaelic school could open in Edinburgh to cope with rising pupil numbers and soaring demand.

Edinburgh city council expects there to be more pupils than places at James Gillespie’s High School, where Gaelic education is currently provided, as soon as 2021.

The number of new pupils starting this month at Taobh na Pàirce primary, Edinburgh’s only Gaelic primary school, has also been far higher than anticipated.


Languages under pressure after fall in pupils taking German and French

9 August 2017 (The Herald)

THE number of pupils choosing key modern languages has fallen sharply.

Figures from the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) show the number of entries for Higher French dropped from 4,581 in 2016 to 3,918 this year.

The figures for German have also fallen, with entries declining from 1,019 to 890 year-on-year.

However, the increasing popularity of Spanish has continued, with entries rising from 2,600 last year to 2,809.

Entries at the lower National 5 level for French and German have also fallen.


Related Links

'Disappointing' decline in pupils sitting Gaelic qualifications (The Herald, 10 August 2017)

Parents 'key' to securing future of Gaelic in Scotland

3 August 2017 (BBC)

The future of Gaelic in Scotland could be down to parents - even if they do not speak the language themselves, according to researchers.

The University of Strathclyde said increased use of a language at home was a "first step" in its use in wider society.

Researchers surveyed 236 parents and children on the Isle of Lewis and on Sardinia.

The study included speakers and non-speakers of Gaelic and Sardinian.

Three quarters of respondents felt speaking a minority language was equally important to speaking their national tongue.

Dr Fraser Lauchlan, of the University of Strathclyde's School of Psychological Sciences and Health, said: "Previous research from more than two decades ago found that there was almost a level of embarrassment about speaking such languages and they were discouraged for many years.

"It is only in recent times that there has been a re-emergence of the importance placed on these languages - possibly because of a better understanding of the benefits that being bilingual can bring, but also because of their promotion at national or regional level by governments, including the specific introduction of legislation."

He suggested parents could encourage their children to read and to watch TV programmes in a minority language, which may even lead to them learning it themselves.


Related Links

Parents may hold the key to securing the future of Gaelic (The National, 3 August 2017)

Parents' encouragement could keep Gaelic alive (Press and Journal, 3 August 2017)

Future of Gaelic lies with non-speakers, study finds (The Herald, 4 August 2017)

Calls to boost Gaelic language with Unesco status

20 July 2017 (The Scotsman)

A campaign to boost Gaelic language and its cultural heritage is seeking Unesco status.

A parliamentary committee is leading the call for UNESCO to award special status to the language.

Currently around 60,000 people speak the language, with numbers drastically decreasing. In the 2011 census, 1.1% of the population stated that they could speak the language.

However, the chairwoman of the cross party committee on Gaelic in the Scottish Parliament, Kate Forbes believes that securing a special UNESCO status would help preserve historical traditions and ensure they are kept alive for future generations.


Ambulance service reveals Gaelic language plan

14 July 2017 (The Oban Times)

The Scottish Ambulance Service has published a Gaelic language plan for the next five years.

The plan, which is a statutory requirement for public bodies in Scotland under the Gaelic Language Scotland Act 2005, sets out how the service will harness and enhance language skills within the organisation.

A key part of the plan is to conduct an audit to establish how many staff members have Gaelic language skills and where the demand for these skills is greatest. This will help to inform training and ensure staff members with language skills are utilised effectively.


Initiative means apprentices to learn Gaelic on job

1 July 2017 (The National)

Apprenticeships are to be delivered in Gaelic as part of measures to support the language.

Skills Development Scotland (SDS) plans to deliver existing Foundation and Modern Apprenticeships in Gaelic where there is a recognised need — with Health and Social Care and Childcare as well as the Creative Industries identified as areas of demand.

Other measures that are part of SDS’s new Gaelic Language Plan include: working with partners to develop resources including up-to-date Gaelic labour market information; using Gaelic staff resources to expand services in schools delivered through the medium of Gaelic; developing web resources; and promoting Gaelic careers.


Glasgow promoted as the 'heart of Gaelic Scotland' as city prepares to host Mod

23 June 2017 (Evening Times)

Glasgow is being promoted as "the heart of Gaelic Scotland" as the city prepares to host the Royal National Mod.

Pupils from the city's schools launched the grand unveiling of a new logo for the event, which will be held in the city in 2019 and is a celebration of the ancient language in music and song.

It is the first time the Mod has been hosted in Glasgow in 29 years.


SQA update - National 5 Modern Languages

SQA (23 June 2017)

The following documents will be available for all National 5 Modern Languages courses by the afternoon of Friday 23 June:
  • Coursework assessment task - assignment (writing)
  • Coursework assessment task - performance (talking)
  • Course support notes
The course support notes will be added to the National 5 course specification as an appendix. The course specification will then be updated to version 2.0 and the date will change to June 2017, but there is no further change to the content of this document.


Gaelic e-bulletin - June 2017

21 June 2017 (Education Scotland)

Education Scotland's latest Gaelic e-bulletin has just been issued and can be accessed online.


New film inspired by soldiers who used Gaelic to escape Nazis

19 June 2017 (BBC)

The true story of a trio of Gaelic-speaking soldiers who used their native tongue to "bamboozle" the Germans has inspired a new feature film.

Pte William Kemp, Cpl Sandy MacDonald, and L/Cpl James Wilson escaped their captors after convincing them they were from the Soviet Union.

Now film producers have used the tale as a premise for new World War Two drama In the Darkest Hour.


Related Links

Story of Gaelic speaking soldiers who escaped Nazis will be film (The Scotsman, 18 June 2017)

Island teachers ready to Go! Gaelic after pilot training programme

14 June 2017 (Stòrlann Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig)

Seven primary teachers from the Outer Hebrides are about to complete a pilot training course that will enable them to train colleagues in how to teach Gaelic to children in their class.

The programme has been specially constructed by training experts working for Gaelic educational resources organisation Stòrlann Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig as part of the company’s strategic approach to boost the teaching of Gaelic in English Medium Education. The training demonstrates how to make best use of the Go! Gaelic programme of resources, created by a team of language experts, designers and IT professionals at Stòrlann.


Scottish Education Awards 2017 - Winners announced!

7 June 2017 (Education Scotland)

Congratulations to all the winners in this year's Scottish Education Awards, particularly those schools who came top in the language categories:
  • St Winning's Primary School, North Ayrshire Council (Making Languages Come Alive)
  • Ardnamurchan High School, The Highland Council (Gaelic Education Award)

Visit the website for information and photos of all the category winners.


The first map of Gaelic speakers in Scotland

18 May 2017 (The Scotsman)

Produced by Edinburgh map company Bartholomew’s, the map contains information distilled from the first census, in 1881, that counted Gaelic speakers in Scotland.

The article follows the trend of Gaelic speakers in Scotland thereafter and includes links to Gaelic phrases for beginners.


Sabhal Mòr Ostaig to offer new degree course for Gaelic teachers

23 April 2017 (SALT)

Sabhal Mòr Ostaig (SMO), the National Centre for Gaelic Language and Culture, is to deliver a new Gaelic teaching degree.

The BA (Hons) Gaelic and Education recently received validation from the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) and accreditation from the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS ) and the first cohort of students will begin the course in September.

The course will be part of Sabhal Mòr’s degree pathway and will be taught through the medium of Gaelic and will focus on immersion and bilingual teaching practices in schools. This is the first time that SMO has taken the lead role in delivering a teacher training degree, and the course is designed for either secondary teaching (Gaelic as a subject) or Gaelic-medium primary teaching.


Public Consultation on the Third National Gaelic Language Plan 2017-22

21 April 2017 (Bòrd na Gàidhlig)

A public consultation process has been launched for the third National Gaelic Language Plan, 2017-2022. The plan sets out a strategy designed to grow the numbers learning and using Gaelic in Scotland.

The consultation period will close at 5pm on 17 May 2017.

Visit the Bòrd na Gàidhlig web survey to access the plan and take part in the consultation.


Gaelic Enrichment Course for GLE & GME Teachers

7 April 2017 (Ceòlas)

Ceòlas will be running teacher training courses again this year, in July during the Summer School (2--7/7; Dalabrog) and the symposium (23-27/7; Ìochdar).

Six different levels will run, making this course suitable for teachers who are beginners up to fluent who wish to learn Gaelic as it is used within the community. Teachers really enjoy this course, many of whom have not 'experienced' a Gaelic community before.

See the attached flyer or visit the website for more information.


Dingwall Academy's pioneering sign language work hailed at Holyrood

2 April 2017 (Ross-shire Journal)

Dingwall Academy’s leadership in promoting British Sign Language (BSL) has been applauded by the Scottish Parliament – after the school was highly praised by Strathpeffer-based MSP, Maree Todd.

She used the recent debate on the consultation on the Draft BSL National Plan to highlight the initiative of Dingwall Academy’s unit. During her speech, she used BSL to welcome former Dingwall Academy pupil, Caitlin Bogan, who was watching the debate from the viewing gallery.

The MSP later said: “We should all be proud of what is being done in the Highlands. Dingwall Academy is one of the few schools to deliver a BSL unit – all students in first year, including my son Gregor this year, take BSL classes as a taster along with other languages, including French, Gaelic and German.


Sabhal Mòr Ostaig to offer new degree course for Gaelic teachers

20 March 2017 (SALT)

The BA (Hons) Gaelic and Education recently received validation from the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) and accreditation from the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS ) and the first cohort of students will begin the course in September.

The course will be part of Sabhal Mòr’s degree pathway and will be taught through the medium of Gaelic and will focus on immersion and bilingual teaching practices in schools. This is the first time that SMO has taken the lead role in delivering a teacher training degree, and the course is designed for either secondary teaching (Gaelic as a subject) or Gaelic-medium primary teaching.

Previously SMO had delivered teacher training in partnership with the University of Aberdeen, but with the new course the College is now a lead provider of Gaelic teacher training giving students a unique opportunity to learn in a Gaelic-rich environment. Students can complete the BA (Hons) Gaelic and Education through SMO or Lews Castle College, and the course can be undertaken via distance learning or on campus.


Gaelic e-bulletin

17 March 2017 (Education Scotland)

Education Scotland's March e-bulletin for Gaelic education is now available online.


Glasgow says ‘fáilte’ to a new Gaelic primary school

9 March 2017 (The Herald)

Soaring demand for Gaelic education in Scotland’s largest city has led to the need for a third primary school.

Glasgow City Council is recommending a formal consultation on a new school because the two existing primaries are already full with demand expected to grow.

The increasing numbers of primary pupils in Gaelic Medium Education (GME) also means there is a need to ensure enough places are available at secondary.


Related Links

Call for third Gaelic school in Glasgow (BBC News, 10 March 2017)

Glasgow needs new Gaelic school amid growing demand (The Scotsman, 10 March 2017)

Singapore student inspired by the pipes teaches himself Gaelic

6 March 2017 (BBC)

A student from Singapore has taught himself Gaelic after being inspired by learning to play the pipes.

Chi-Yan Lew has now travelled to study a term at Glasgow University and is making good use of his new language.

See the video report on the BBC website.


Bòrd na Gàidhlig consultation on Scotland's National Gaelic Language Plan

3 March 2017 (Holyrood)

Bòrd na Gàidhlig, the public body with responsibility for Scottish Gaelic, published the draft National Gaelic Language Plan 2017-2022 for public consultation two weeks ago. Its purpose, explains Bòrd na Gàidhlig chief executive Shona MacLennan, is to lay out the policy for Gaelic which will further strengthen the language, at both local and national levels, for the next five years.


Maurice Smith: Brexit threatens Gaelic as a living language

25 February 2017 (The Herald)

There is a hoary myth going round about a wilful Scottish Government wasting taxpayers’ money on the flagrant imposition of bilingual signs at every Scottish road and railway station, presumably as part of a dark conspiracy to make us all speak Gaelic and unwittingly vote en masse for independence.

It is one of many misunderstandings, and occasional slurs, perpetuated by some who resent any money being spent on Gaelic.


Brian Wilson: Crunch time now for BBC Alba, a Scottish success story

20 February 2017 (The Scotsman)

The Gaelic TV channel reaches far beyond those who speak the language, and can get even better if it is given proper support says Brian Wilson.

Issues surrounding the BBC Charter and its implications for broadcasting are likely to gain a high profile in the coming weeks. It would be a pity if, in the political melee, a quiet Scottish success story was overlooked – BBC Alba.

Although its raison d’etre is as a Gaelic broadcaster, BBC Alba reaches 700,000 viewers each week. It accounts for half the commissions in Scotland from independent production companies. It offers a steady stream of quality programmes which would not otherwise be made, mainly on Scottish subjects.

By any standard of media accounting, BBC Alba has achieved all this on a shoestring budget. It broadcasts for seven hours daily but only 1.9 are filled with original content, including news and live sport. The rest consists of repeats, delving deep not only into BBC Alba’s own modest archive but the entire previous output of Gaelic television.

Some of these, it must be said, are very good. The BBC Gaelic department has a history of producing current affairs programmes in particular where quality was in inverse proportion to quantity. However, there are limits to how often viewers in any language should be asked to endure fascinating throw-backs to the 1970s and 1980s.

The current funding review is a crunch point for BBC Alba. It will either survive at its present level or extend its repertoire and role. There is a particular need, from a language perspective, for more children’s programmes and also a more consistent standard of popular entertainment. The channel’s supporters are sensibly realistic in their demands, which may give them a better chance of being listened to.


Related Links

BBC Launching Scotland Channel With $37.4M Budget (Deadline, 22 February 2017)

Gaelic Translation Competition!

10 February 2017 (Education Scotland)

This translation competition is open to all children and young people in both Gaelic Learner and Gaelic Medium Education.

There are nine English and eight Gaelic posters of Scotland’s scientists available on the National Improvement Hub. One of the Gaelic posters is missing- Alexander Graham Bell.

Children and young people are invited to translate a short biography on Alexander Graham Bell into Gaelic. This is an exciting opportunity to have your work shared nationally and to feature alongside the other eight scientist biographies available on the National Improvement Hub. Your work could support learners of Gaelic across Scotland.

For more information visit the Education Scotland Learning Blog. Entries should be submitted by 3 March 2017.


Statutory guidance on Gaelic Education published

10 February 2017 (TESS)

Statutory guidance on Gaelic education has been published, spelling out the process that will allow parents under law to request a Gaelic unit for their child. Another key document has also been published: the public consultation on the National Gaelic Language Plan 2017–2022 runs until 6 May.

Read the full item in TESS online, 10 February 2017, under the 'A week in primary' section (subscription required).


Gaelic pupils outperforming their peers in literacy skills

4 February 2017 (The Herald)

Primary pupils taught in Gaelic are outperforming children in mainstream Scottish schools, according to new figures.

Scottish Government statistics show pupils in Gaelic primary schools are doing better at reading, writing, listening and talking at nearly every stage of primary.

Gaelic medium education - where pupils are taught most or all of their lessons in Gaelic as well as studying English - is increasingly popular in Scotland with more than 3,500 children taught in 2014.


Promoting Gaelic language

30 January 2017 (Stornoway Gazette)

The Gaelic language is to be promoted through one of the world’s most popular websites thanks to a new role based at the National Library of Scotland.

Dr Susan Ross, who learned Gaelic as a teenager and has since gained a doctorate in Gaelic studies, has been appointed the world’s first Gaelic Wikipedian.

The year-long post will see her working with the Gaelic community across Scotland to improve and create resources on Uicipeid, the Scottish Gaelic Wikipedia.


Professional Learning for Teachers of Gaelic Medium Education (GME)

27 January 2017 (Education Scotland)

Streap, the Postgraduate Teaching Certificate for teachers of GME will start on 4 September 2017. There are a limited number of places available. An induction event takes place in Glasgow on 14 and 15 September 2017. There is now a Facebook page relating to this professional learning. Please email for more information. This programme is currently fully funded by the Scottish Government.

Find out more about the programme on the University of Aberdeen website.


Lanarkshire school is bringing Gaelic language and culture into centre of Scotland

24 January 2017 (Daily Record)

Lanarkshire may not be known as a hotbed of Gaelic but a little school are doing their best to reintroduce the language to the wider community.

Gartcosh Primary have been nominated for the Gaelic Education Award at this year’s Scottish Education Awards.

Rachel Neilly is one of four teachers at the village primary who has done the Gaelic Learning in Primary Schools course and teaches the language to primaries five to seven.

All children from primary two upwards learn German but the upper three classes have Gaelic as a third language.

They also learn about the culture in the Highlands and islands as part of their studies.


Scottish Education Awards 2017

19 January 2017 (Scottish Education Awards)

The Scottish Education Awards celebrate the hard work and success which takes place in Scottish education. They recognise the achievements of people who dedicate their lives to children and young people and showcase the valuable work and innovation in Scottish classrooms.

There's still time to submit nominations for the Awards, so get your entries in for the Making Languages Come Alive (Primary) and Gaelic Education/Duais Foghlam Gàidhlig.awards before the closing date of 15 February 2017.

Visit the Scottish Education Award website to make your nomination.


Skye shinty player raps way to Gaelic film shortlist

19 January 2017 (BBC News)

A Skye shinty player's comedy rap has helped to get a video on the shortlist of Gaelic short film competition FilmG.

Ally MacLeod performs in Girls, Strì and Macaroni, a short film made by Iain Wilson from Staffin on Skye.

The video is among entries in the running for best mobile short and best comedy. Mr MacLeod has also been shortlisted for the best performance award.

The full list of shortlisted films can be found on the FilmG website.


SQA update to AH Modern Languages guidance on past paper usage

16 January 2017 (SQA)

The SQA has produced updated guidance documents on the use of past paper questions for Advanced Higher Modern Languages (Chinese, Italian, French, Spanish, German and Gaelic learners).

These can be found on the SQA Advanced Higher Modern Languages webpage under the 'Specimen Question Papers and Marking Instructions' section.


Meet the world’s first Gaelic rapper

15 January 2017 (The Herald)

You might expect renowned bagpiper, guitarist and traditional Gaelic singer Griogair Labhruidh to be appearing at the upcoming Celtic Connections Festival. Instead, he's at home in Ballachulish working on a very different type of project – the world’s first Gaelic hip hop record.

“Well, first hip hop record in the Gaelic tradition, anyway,” says the highlander, who raps under the pseudonym Eólas – meaning ‘knowledge’.


Gaelic writing competition

9 January 2017 (Acair Books)

Acair Books, an Lanntair and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar have created a new award to encourage original writing in Gaelic for children.

The aim of the award is to:

  • Actively support original writing in Gaelic for children
  • Encourage and nurture new writers in Gaelic

In 2017, the award is for a book for 5 to 8 year-olds and must be between 1000 and 2000 words.

The work must be written in Gaelic by a writer aged 16-years or over, and who has never had a Gaelic book published for children before.

Visit the website for further information and submit your entry by 31 January 2017.


Police Scotland officers to be encouraged to speak more Gaelic under new five-year plan

30 December 2016 (The National)

Police officers are to take crime reports in Gaelic as part of new efforts to use the minority language.

Police Scotland already puts Poileas Alba branding on uniforms, vehicles and signage in the Highlands and Islands. Now officers all over the country will be encouraged to speak Gaelic on the beat and over the phone as part of a new five-year plan.

From 2017, the force’s logo will be rendered bilingual as standard across the country and in all official material, “demonstrating equal respect for Gaelic and English”.

Senior officers will also help would-be learners pick up the tongue to help create “a sustainable future” for Gaelic and integrate it within policing. Assistant Chief Constable Andrew Cowie said the strategy has been developed in response to a public consultation.


Related Links

Police fight crime armed with their latest weapon . . . Gaelic (The Herald, 30 December 2016)

Local pupils wanting to study Gaelic might not be taken by Glasgow City Council bosses warn

19 December 2016 (Clydebank Post)

Pupils from West Dunbartonshire wanting to study Gaelic may no longer be taken by Glasgow City Council, education bosses have said.

At the education services committee last week, Laura Mason, chief education officer, said Glasgow Gaelic School currently takes their 18 pupils doing their medium language study.

But she said: “We don’t know until we start enrolling in January if parents demand Gaelic education. There is a strong possibility Glasgow City Council will say they’re full.


Uist Gaelic culture project Cnoc Soilleir secures funds

16 December 2016 (BBC News)

A project to establish a centre for Gaelic music, dance and cultural heritage in Uist in the Western Isles has secured £1m in funding.

Cnoc Soilleir is a partnership project between Ceòlas Uibhist and Lews Castle College UHI in Stornoway, Lewis. The education and arts centre could create more than 40 jobs.

The £1m funding has been allocated from the Scottish government's 2016-17 Gaelic capital fund.


Glasgow Gaelic School performs Christmas pantomime

16 December 2016 (BBC News)

A traditional Christmas panto would be nothing without the familiar catchphrases. But what do they sound like in Gaelic? BBC Scotland's very own fairy godmother, Aileen Clarke, has been to find out.


Media Release: Two weeks to go! Last chance to enter this year’s FilmG competition

29 November 2016 (All Media Scotland)

The closing date for entries in FilmG 2017 is fast approaching. However, if anyone is yet to complete their film there are still two weeks left, before the competition closes on Wednesday 14 December.

Whether it be a comedy, drama, documentary or even a music video, one of the simplest ways to make a short film, is to use mobile technology.

The FilmG team are hopeful that the increasing availability of technology along with a broader range of prizes than ever before will see a record number of entries this year.

The theme for this year’s FilmG competition is ‘Strì’ meaning to strive or endeavour. All films must be in Scottish Gaelic and can be up to five minutes long for youth category entrants or up to eight minutes in length for open category entrants.


What's Your Story Development Programme 2017

29 November 2016 (Scottish Book Trust)

If you're 14-17 years old, living in Scotland, and care about creative writing and illustration then read on!

What's Your Story? is a Scotland-wide programme of support for teenage writers & illustrators – led by teens, for teens.

Seven teenagers from around Scotland will be selected to join the What’s Your Story? Development Programme for 2017. Thanks to our friends at The Gaelic Books Council there will be one place especially for a Gaelic language applicant, but no matter what language you work in you are welcome to apply.

Visit the website to find out more about the programme and to apply by 3 January 2017.


Seven Gaelic phrases and sayings for the absolute beginner

25 November 2016 (The Scotsman)

There is nothing like learning a new language to exercise your mind and impress your friends. 

Gaelic may have become a political hot potato but picking up a few key phrases will connect you to a language spoken in Scotland for more than 1,000 years.

Little over one per cent of Scotland’s population now speaks Gaelic with highest rates found in the Western Isles. Numbers of young people learning the minority language are on the rise while the proportion of the older population with a knowledge of Gaelic starts to fall.

Here are seven easy Gaelic phrases and sayings - with phonetic transcription - to try out for size.Some may come in particularly handy over the festive season.


Experiencing a Gaelic welcome when visiting Scotland

25 November 2016 (Stornoway Gazette)

A new Welcome Scheme which recognises the special efforts made by tourism businesses to provide for visitors with an interest in Gaelic heritage was launched at the Highland Tourism Conference in Inverness this week.

Scotland’s Experiencing Gaelic is a newly-developed Welcome Scheme and was launched by John Thurso, Chairman of VisitScotland.

VisitScotland is working in partnership with The Highland Council and Highlands and Islands Enterprise to deliver this year’s conference. More than 180 delegates had the opportunity to attend breakout sessions on the topics of Slow Adventure Tourism, VisitScotland’s iKnow Scotland Programme, Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, Business Gateway support and Marine Tourism.

Recent research show that over half the visitors to Scotland are interested in learning more about the Gaelic language, heritage, culture and traditions.

VisitScotland has developed the Experiencing Gaelic scheme to recognise those businesses that excel in meeting the expectations of visitors who are interested in learning more about this native language, including all accommodation sectors, cafes, restaurants and visitor attractions.

The Experiencing Gaelic scheme is not just about speaking Gaelic but it encourages businesses to spend time researching their local area, providing translations and offering links to local Gaelic heritage centres and places of interest.


Highland tourism chiefs reveal new scheme to recognise Gaelic heritage efforts

23 November 2016 (Press and Journal)

A new scheme which recognises the special efforts made by tourism businesses to provide for visitors with an interest in Gaelic heritage was launched yesterday.

VisitScotland’s Experiencing Gaelic is a newly-developed initiative and was unveiled by John Thurso, chairman of VisitScotland, at the Highland Tourism Conference in Inverness.

Recent research shows that more than half the visitors to Scotland are interested in learning more about the Gaelic language, and also our Gaelic heritage, culture and traditions.


Language within

18 November 2016 (What's on Glasgow)

Language classes for adults, kids and teens in the heart of Glasgow.  Choose from English, Italian, Spanish, French and Gaelic.

Visit the website for more information.


Book Week Scotland 2016

18 November 2016 (Scottish Book Trust)

Book Week Scotland is taking place from 21-27 November 2016.

There will be a host of events taking place around the country, including those celebrating Scots and Gaelic languages. Check the events schedule on the Scottish Book Trust website to see what's available near you.


Outlander coach wins at Scottish Gaelic Awards

17 November 2016 (Daily Record)

Outlander's Gaelic consultant Àdhamh Ó Broin has been honoured at The Scottish Gaelic Awards.

The Gaelic consultant scooped the International Award for his work as a Gaelic language coach on the popular TV series, which has showcased the language to an audience of millions.

Gaelic in the STARZ original series Outlander, now in its third season, is considered integral to the authenticity of the show and its characters

In his role, Àdhamh teaches the actors to deliver complex Gaelic-language scenes despite having no previous spoken ability.


New survey examines impact of Gaelic media on learning

14 November 2016 (BBC News)

The influence of Gaelic media on learning of the language is being examined.

The Big Gaelic Survey has been commissioned by the language's development body, Bòrd na Gàidhlig.

The study of media, such as BBC Alba and BBC Radio nan Gàidheal, has three questionnaires. They are aimed at Gaelic speakers, Gaelic learners and people who are interested in learning Gaelic in the future.


Pupils enjoy Gaelic careers day at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig

7 November 2016 (Skye Times)

Thirty five Gaelic learners and speakers from Portree and Plockton Secondary Schools attended a Careers Day at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig.

The event was formally opened by Mr John Norman Macleod, Vice Principal/Director of Academic Studies at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig on Skye.

The annual event ‘SIUTHAD!’– GO ON!’ is aimed at both Gaelic Learners and Fluent speakers. ‘SIUTHAD!’ showcases a range of Gaelic related careers and encourages young people to continue with their Gaelic studies.

‘SIUTHAD’!’ is a partnership between The Highland Council, Skills Development Scotland, Bòrd na Gàidhlig, and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and is organised by the Council’s Gaelic Team, Skills Development Scotland(SDS) and Sabhal Mòr Ostaig.


Scottish Gaelic Awards 2016: Full list of nominees who made the shortlist

7 November 2016 (Daily Record)

The finalists have been announced for this year’s Scottish Gaelic Awards with just over a week to go until the big event.

The awards pay tribute to all aspects of Gaelic culture, education and language, highlighting the excellent work done in maintaining its growth and heritage.

The winners will be revealed on Wednesday, November 16 at Glasgow’s Grand Central Hotel.

One of the finalists in the Learner Award is radio show Beag air Bheag, aired weekly on BBC Radio nan Gàidheal.

The programme’s title means “little by little” and it introduces Gaelic learners to the language at an accessible pace.


By the numbers: the decline of specialist subjects

4 November 2016 (TESS)

Although archaeology is going to be withdrawn as an A-level option, there are other subjects that attract far fewer students.

[..] In Scotland, the lowest number of entries for a subject at Higher was for Gaelic as a foreign language, with 84, while 92 students took Urdu.

The full list of lowest entry A Levels / Highers is available in TESS online, 4 November 2016 (subscription required).


Word Wizard 2017 - registrations now open!

4 November 2016 (SCILT/CISS)

SCILT's Word Wizard competition is returning for a fourth year and we are delighted to announce that registrations are now open!

Word Wizard is a multilingual spelling competition open to S1-S3 pupils learning French, Gaelic, German, Mandarin or Spanish. The competition provides a perfect opportunity for language teachers to address The Attainment Challenge by allowing pupils of all levels the chance to excel in language learning. Word Wizard develops skills in acquisition of vocabulary, pronunciation, spelling, recall and public speaking; not to mention the many literacy outcomes it addresses. This hugely motivating competition encourages links with other curricular areas and with health and wellbeing, culminating in a high profile celebration of language learning.

Visit SCILT's Word Wizard webpage to find out more about this year's competition and to register your school. 


Gaelic Easter courses 2017

31 October 2016 (Sabhal Mòr Ostaig)

Sabhal Mòr Ostaig is a National Centre for Gaelic Language and Culture and is offering short 5-day courses during Easter 2017 on the Isle of Skye.

Visit the college website for more information and to book your place.


Take a haiku, add Gaelic - and welcome to the 'gaiku'

30 October 2016 (The Scotsman)

It is one of the world’s oldest forms of poetry, honed down the centuries with not a word or syllable left to waste. Now haiku, the major form of Japanese verse, is set to take the Gaelic world by storm with the forthcoming publication of The Little Book of Gaiku – believed to be the first full-length volume of Gaelic poems composed as haikus.


Gaelic awards judges say that the standard is so high that their task is even more difficult

26 October 2016 (Daily Record)

Entrants from across the country and across the generations and will be rewarded for their work promoting Gaelic culture and language.

Judges at this year’s Scottish Gaelic Awards have admitted they face a tough task.

Entrants of all ages delighted the panel with their high standards – but made the task of choosing the best a difficult one, according to chairman Cathy MacDonald.

The broadcaster said: “Once again, there is an excellent standard spanning the generations.

“The awards seek to reward all aspects of Scottish Gaelic culture and language, highlighting some of the excellent work undertaken to maintain its growth and heritage.

"It’s encouraging to see how much they’ve grown, attracting younger Gaelic speakers.

“They create an opportunity for those unsung heroes whom we otherwise wouldn’t have heard of and whose contribution deserves to be acknowledged and celebrated publicly.”


Swinney sets out bold ambition for Gaelic

19 October 2016 (Scottish Government)

The Deputy First Minister John Swinney has delivered the Angus Macleod Memorial lecture during the Mod in Stornoway today setting out the importance of the Gaelic language to Scotland as part of a bold ambition to build participation and economic activity in the future.

Mr Swinney was making his first major speech on the subject since assuming ministerial responsibility for the Gaelic language after the election. Over the summer the Deputy First Minister has engaged widely with a range of stakeholders central to the future of the language.


£700,000 for Gaelic language delivery

19 October 2016 (Scottish Government)

Additional funding to improve facilities at Glasgow’s two Gaelic schools has been announced by the Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, John Swinney.

Glendale Gaelic School and Sgoil Ghàidhlig Ghlaschu will use the extra £700,000 to further improve the learning environment for young people studying core subjects such as physical education, STEM and ICT, ensuring Gaelic learning provides a fully immersive experience across the curriculum.

The money will also be spent on upgrading school facilities helping to tackle an increase in demand for places.

Since the introduction of the Gaelic Schools Capital Fund in 2008 the number of young people in Gaelic medium education has increased nationally by 32%.


Seniors pass on their Gaelic skills to learners

19 October 2016 (Stornoway Gazette)

A series of films to help teach Gaelic to children learning it in primary school outwith Gaelic Medium Education has been launched. 

The films star, and were made by, senior school pupils who have come through Gaelic Medium Education and are now passing on their language skills to youngsters who are just beginning to learn it. 

The films, made with the support of media professionals, form part of the Go! Gaelic programme, a comprehensive online resource developed by Gaelic educational resources organisation Stòrlann Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig.


Royal National Mod warning that Gaelic faces battle for survival in modern world

15 October 2016 (The Herald)

Gaelic is facing a fight for its survival and every Scot needs to play a part to ensure that it continues to receive much-needed support, it has been warned.

Opening the Royal National Mod last night, the head of the Gaelic media service warned that one of Scotland’s cultural “jewels” is at serious risk of being lost forever unless it is given greater support.

Maggie Cunningham, chairwoman of MG Alba, the Gaelic Media Service, made an emotive speech about the future of the tongue which, despite receiving millions of pounds of public funding, has continued to decline.


Dundee Literary Festival 2016

12 October 2016 (Bòrd na Gàidhlig)

This year's Dundee Literary Festival takes place from 19 October to 25 November and includes Scots and Gaelic language events.

Children will especially enjoy the session on 22 October, 'Rock and Roald Dahl Party' with Matthew Fitt, featuring Scots translations of some of Dahl's classic books.

Visit the website for details.


Gaelic wikipedia being developed with help of experts

11 October 2016 (The Scotsman)

The ancient Gaelic language of Scotland is being supported by one of the modern world’s most popular websites in an ambitious initiative to develop it online.

A Gaelic speaker is being recruited to work with groups all across Scotland to develop Uicipeid, the Gaelic Wikipedia.

It is a partnership between the National Library of Scotland and Wikimedia UK, the charity that supports and promotes the free online encyclopaedia Wikipedia. It aims to improve knowledge, understanding and use of Gaelic for current and future users. The initiative is being supported with funding from Bòrd na Gàidhlig, the agency responsible for promoting Gaelic language throughout Scotland and internationally, and Wikimedia UK.


Related Links

Search begins for a Gaelic Wikipedian (BBC News, 12 October 2016)

Gaelic gets new lease of life online (Press and Journal, 12 October 2016)

Wee Ginger Dug maps Scotland entirely in Gaelic

1 October 2016 (The National)

Going out and about this weekend?

How about a trip to Grianaig, Ros Saidhe or Achadh an t-Seagail – all places included in a new all-Gaelic map of Scotland.

The project, by The National columnist and blogger Paul Kavanagh, better known as the Wee Ginger Dug, replaces the standard English-language place names normally seen on maps with terms drawn from a number of specialist maps, studies and documents.


BBC Alba future in balance warns operator

25 September 2016 (The Scotsman)

Scotland could lose its dedicated Gaelic channel and see a decline in the use of the language unless BBC Alba wins a better financial deal, its operator has warned.

MG Alba says the future of the station has been left in the balance by the BBC’s new royal charter because it does not spell out specific guarantees on future funding.


More funding for Gaelic learning

23 September 2016 (Scottish Government)

More than 10,000 young people will benefit from additional funding for Gaelic music, drama and language teaching.

The Scottish Government will provide £33,000 to Fèisean nan Gàidheal in 2016-17 to support Gaelic learning.

The new funding will go towards the production of a new Gaelic music, drama and dance show involving children from two Gaelic primary schools – one in the Highlands and one in the central belt.

It will also allow the organisation to offer their Fèisgoil Gaelic language lessons to local authorities that have not experienced them yet.


Scottish Gaelic Awards 2016

19 September 2016 (Daily Record / Bòrd na Gàidhlig)

As part of the Daily Record's drive to celebrate all aspects of Scottish culture, and following the success of the 2015 Gaelic Awards, we are proud to launch the 2016 campaign with headline sponsors Bòrd na Gàidhlig. 

The Scottish Gaelic Awards reward all aspects of our Gaelic culture, education and language highlighting the excellent work undertaken to maintain growth and heritage.

If you know someone who deserves an award for their contribution to Gaelic, submit your nomination by Friday 25 September. A list of award categories can be found on the Scottish Gaelic Awards website.

The Awards will be presented at a high-quality dinner in Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow on Wednesday 16 November 2016.


We must be proud of the rise of Gaelic education

16 September 2016 (TESS)

Three decades ago, 24 children enrolled in experimental Gaelic schooling. Now thousands of children are learning the language and exploring the culture.

This has been a milestone year for Gaelic learning. The Education (Scotland) Act 2016 introduced Gaelic-medium education (GME) provisions, assuring a national entitlement at primary-school level. New GME schools opened in Glasgow and Fort William, with building works underway in Portree, adding to three existing Gaelic schools across Scotland, and complementing departments in primary and secondary schools. And, recently, Scotland’s first director of Gaelic education, Mona Wilson, was appointed.

Read the full article in TESS online, 16 September 2016, pages 20-21 (subscription required).


Trees in Gaelic life

14 September 2016 (The Herald)

A new Gaelic place-name map is being developed to help rediscover the lost woods and wildlife of the Highlands.

It is appropriate as Scottish Gaelic is written with just 18 letters, each of which is named after a tree or shrub.

Now conservation charity Trees for Life, will promote the cultural importance of Scotland’s native woodland heritage, as part of its overall Rewilding the Highlands project, which involves the planting of more than 50,000 trees.


Scottish Parliament marks Gaelic Mòd’s 125th anniversary

4 September 2016 (Stornoway Gazette)

A motion at the Scottish Parliament has congratulated An Comunn Gàidhealach – who organise and run the annual Royal National Mòd – on its 125th anniversary.

Kate Forbes MSP, who previously competed whilst a high school pupil in Dingwall, said she was pleased the Parliament was recognising “the important role the organisation has played in the study of Gaelic literature, history, music and art”.


E-bulleting for Gaelic Education

31 August 2016 (Education Scotland)

Education Scotland has just published their latest e-bulletin for Gaelic Education. This edition includes information on Gaelic Medium Education (GME); Gaelic Learner Education (GLE) and the promotion of Learning about Gaelic Language and Culture as part of Scotland’s identity.


PG Cert Streap: Gaelic Medium Education

26 August 2016 (University of Aberdeen)

Applications are now invited for a limited number of places remaining on Streap, the Postgraduate Teaching Certificate for teachers of GME, commencing in September 2016.

This part-time programme is fully funded by the Scottish Government.

For more information, visit the University of Aberdeen website.


Ambitious virtual Gaelic school wins £700,000 boost

24 August 2016 (The Scotsman)

A scheme aimed to widen the availability of subject choices for teenagers in the Western Isles is to benefit from a massive funding boost.

Gaelic virtual school the e-Sgoil, announced by Gaelic agency Bòrd na Gàidhlig in March, will be based in Stornoway and initially focus on Highers, Advanced Highers and supporting teachers in training.

e-Sgoil will allow secondary pupils across the Western Isles to access more curriculum subjects through online classes.

It will be developed thanks to £550,000 in Scottish Government funding and £150,000 from Bord na Gaidhlig.


Scotland’s unending battle

21 August 2016 (The News on Sunday)

Hidden behind Edinburgh’s picturesque and dreamy scenery is the Scots’ struggle to bring the indigenous Gaelic language back to life.


Related Links

MSP calls for councils to be able to opt out of controversial Gaelic plans (Press and Journal, 20 August 2016)

Aberdeen's Gaelic scheme gets backing

18 August 2016 (Evening Express)

A plan to promote Gaelic in Aberdeen has been approved by councillors – despite claims there is little tradition of the language in the city.

Councillors voted 32 to 9 in favour of approving a revised Gaelic Language Plan for 2016-21 under the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005.


New body on land ownership must have a Gaelic speaker

6 August 2016 (The Herald)

The powerful body established to address the dominance of Scottish landowners who own huge tracts of the country will include a Gaelic speaker among a six-strong panel.

The new Scottish Land Commission will be tasked with transforming land ownership across the country following concerns that fewer than 500 people, some anonymous, own more than half of Scotland’s land.

Set up in the wake the Land Reform Act, ministers are now seeking applications for candidates to sit on the robust new board that could resurrect the most controversial land reform proposal, to impose an upper limit of the amount of land anyone person can own in Scotland.


Gaelic soap goes down darker road in bid for viewers

2 July 2016 (The Scotsman)

The driving force behind Scotland’s Gaelic drama series has vowed to take it in a “darker” direction in a bid to get it onto the UK network and screened overseas.

Christopher Young, who has been making Bannan on the Isle of Skye, has revealed it is to head into “noir territory” in the hope of securing a spot on BBC2 or BBC4.


Scientists create 'app' that teaches computers to understand Gaelic

25 June 2016 (The Herald)

Scots scientists have create an app-style programme that teaches computers to understand Gaelic.

It is hoped the move will help to secure the future of the language has been announced.

The device helps computers understand Gaelic text and can be used in a range of functions such as voice recognition and online translation, as well as grammar and spell checks.


Related Links

New app teaches computers to ‘speak’ Scots Gaelic (The Scotsman, 25 June 2016)

SCHOLympics competition

24 June 2016 (Heriot-Watt University)

The SCHOLympics is a multi-disciplinary, scholarly competition that is open to all students who have access to SCHOLAR via their individual username and password. It features an extensive range of questions from the subjects that are currently available in the SCHOLAR programme, including a Mandarin listening comprehension which requires speakers or headphones, and questions from our brand new, soon to be published, English courses. The questions are set at Higher level or below.

The competition will be open between Monday 25 July until Wednesday 28 August 2016.

Visit the SCHOLAR website to find out more.


Word Wizard Final 2016!

10 June 2016 (SCILT/CISS)

S1-S3 pupils from across Scotland took part in the National Final of Word Wizard at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre on 24 May 2016. 46 learners from eight local authorities and independent schools competed in French, Gaelic, German, Mandarin and Spanish in front of an audience of teachers, supporters and guests.

Visit our Word Wizard Final 2016 webpage to read the full list of prizewinners and to see photos from the event.


Scottish Education Award Winners 2016

9 June 2016 (SCILT / Education Scotland)

The Scottish Education Awards took place on 8 June in the Glasgow City Hotel. Congratulations to the winning schools in the language categories!

  • St Michael's Primary, Dumfries & Galloway - Making Languages Come Alive
  • Abercorn School, Glasgow - Gaelic Education
For more information about the awards and the finalists in each category, visit the Scottish Education Awards website.


E-bulletin for Gaelic Education

31 May 2016 (Education Scotland)

Education Scotland has just published their latest e-bulletin for Gaelic Education.


Gaelic Medium Education Newsletter - Spring 2016

13 May 2016 (Comann nam Pàrant)

Comann nam Pàrant, the national organisation that advises and supports parents/carers of those in Gaelic Medium Education (GME), has published their latest newsletter which is available online.


Age no barrier to learning a new language, say Edinburgh University experts

28 April 2016 (The Herald)

Learning another language boosts brain power, no matter how old you are, according to new research.

Tests carried out on students suggest that acquiring a new language improves a person’s attention after only a week of study.

Researchers also found that the benefits for mental agility could be maintained with regular practice.

Edinburgh University researchers assessed different aspects of mental alertness in a group of 33 students aged 18 to 78 who had taken part in a one-week Scottish Gaelic course.

They compared the results with those of people who had completed a one week course but not involving learning a new language and with a group who had not completed any course.

After one week, improvements in attention were found in both groups participating in intensive courses, but only those learning a second language were significantly better than those not involved in any courses.


Gaelic language course

22 April 2016 (Staffin Community Trust / Bòrd na Gàidhlig)

Àrainneachd, Cànan is Dualchas (‘environment, language and heritage’) is a ten-day practical course for Gaelic speakers that explores the strong links between the language and the Scottish environment. It is open to all fluent speakers and near-fluent learners of the language who would like to continue to develop their fluency.

It will run again in North Skye in 2016, from 25 to 29 July and from 01 to 05 August. Students can attend either or both weeks.

Visit the website for more information about the course.


To speak in tongues - Gaelic is making a comeback

22 April 2016 (The Economist)

Travellers at the airport in Inverness navigate a revolving door adorned with posters urging them to teach their children Gaelic. “Being bilingual is magic! Bilingual children find it easier to learn a third language,” claims one which depicts a cherubic toddler waving a magic wand over a rabbit in a hat. “Give your child a flying start—learn Gaelic,” says another.

The posters are part of a larger effort in Scotland to preserve its Celtic language, which was disappearing at a precipitous rate until recently. In 1755 almost a quarter of Scotland’s people spoke Gaelic. A new education law in 1872 forbade the language in classrooms, and children caught speaking it got the belt. Another statute in 1918 required authorities to “make adequate provision for Gaelic,” but by 1981 only 1.6% of people in Scotland spoke it. Many of them were older folk or clustered in the Highlands and islands. Their slim ranks thinned by 21% in the ten years from 1981 and by 11% in the one after that.

Now, however, Gaelic is fighting back. The proportion of Scots who speak it barely dipped between 2001 and 2011, when the most recent census was finished. And more than before are under the age of 20.


Leadership Award: Gaelic Education

19 April 2016 (Education Scotland)

Social Enterprise Academy and Education Scotland are working in partnership to deliver an Institute of Leadership and Management Award for teachers of Gaelic Education. The next Leadership Award for Gaelic Education will commence on 20 and 21 May 2016. It will be based in Strathpeffer.

If you wish to enrol for this award or require more information visit the Education Scotland learning blog.


Key Gaelic celebration to light up your Twitter

18 April 2016 (The National)

Outlander star Gilbert Macmillan and an American digital radio station have been lined up to support the fledgling Gaelic Twitter Day on Thursday.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon, comedian Sanjeev Kohli, singer Michele McManus and the Scottish Football Association are all supporters of the day which is gaining interest from across the globe.

Launched in 2014, Gaelic Twitter Day or Là na #Gàidhlig has this year attracted attention from a digital radio station in Baltimore which is to run an exclusive show from midnight BST on April 21 and will include messages from celebrities like Macmillan. It will be broadcast by Guth nan Gàidheal, a radio project by the American Gaelic Association, An Comunn Gàidhealach Ameireaganach (ACGA).

Following the success of the previous two years, it is also intended to expand Gaelic Twitter Day into other social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.


Outlander helping to promote Gaelic and Scots

9 April 2016 (The National)

It's been heralded as a feminist version of Game of Thrones and derided by critics as having a plot with more holes than a pair of well-worn socks. But now Outlander, the cult Highland costume drama, is being credited with fuelling a growing interest in both Gaelic and Scots languages.

Voice coach Carol Ann Crawford, who has helped Outlander stars Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan perfect their accents, claims that the American-British TV series, which has an international audience of millions, could be just the thing to get the languages known by a wider audience.

Crawford said that the drama, which will return to our screens for a highly-anticipated second season on Sunday, is helping keep old Scots words alive and as well as creating a new growing awareness among an international audience.


SQA National Qualifications March 2016 update

31 March 2016 (SQA)

Latest updates on the new National Qualifications are available on the SQA website.

If you're a teaching professional looking for a new challenge, included in this update are additional marker opportunities in 2016 for French and Spanish Higher exams.


Gaelic Drama Summer School

28 March 2016 (Fèisean nan Gàidheal)

This year's theatre summer school for Scots Gaelic students aged 14-18 will take place from 4-16 July at Portree in Skye.

Participants receive training and guidance in a wide range of skills - acting, voice, movement, dance, creative skills and props in general. The topics are taught by experienced team of excellent actors and other artists. No prior knowledge of drama or theatre is necessary to take part.

For further information about the summer school, visit the website.


Gaelic book publisher aims to go global as interest in language grows

24 March 2016 (Press and Journal)

Hebridean book publisher Acair is targeting new markets after seeing increased interest in its Gaelic language titles from all over the world.

The not-for-profit business aims to tap into the growing popularity of Gaelic in countries including the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, manager Agnes Rennie said yesterday.

“We believe there could be more demand for our books out there,” she said, adding that interest in Scotland and its history in general was also driving the clamour for Acair’s titles.


Bòrd na Gàidhlig appoints new Ceannard (CEO)

23 March 2016 (Bòrd na Gàidhlig)

Bòrd na Gàidhlig, today announced the appointment of Shona MacLennan as its new Ceannard (CEO) who will take up post on 6 June 2016.

Ms MacLennan, originally from Spean Bridge, brings to the Bòrd over 20 years experience in the development of business within the Highlands and Islands. She is a Gaelic learner of Edinburgh University and is currently working with Sabhal Mòr Ostaig as Director of Business and Organisational Development. She has been involved in a wide range of Gaelic initiatives and developments, including working for various Gaelic organisations. Ms. MacLennan has extensive governance and strategic planning experience as well as a sound knowledge of community development.

Welcoming the appointment, Bòrd na Gàidhlig Cathraiche (Chair), Allan MacDonald said: “We very much welcome Shona to Bòrd na Gàidhlig and wish her all the best. We are fortunate that she brings with her a wealth of experience in the Public Sector including governance, strategic planning and community development and growth. She has also served as a non-executive director of Highlands & Islands Airports Ltd, Grampian TV and UHI Ltd. The appointment comes just as we have welcomed new Board Members and just as we take the initial steps in preparing the next National Gaelic Language Plan which will take us through the next 5 years so her specific skills will be put to good use.”


£1m for Gaelic broadcasting

20 March 2016 (Scottish Government)

Gaelic broadcaster MG ALBA will receive an additional £1m investment this year.

Minister for Scotland’s Languages Alasdair Allan announced the media service will receive the funding following the UK Government’s plan to withdraw all funding to Gaelic broadcasting in Scotland.

MG ALBA is a public body that works in partnership with BBC Scotland to produce BBC Alba. Since moving to Freeview in 2011, the channel viewing figure have increased significantly.


Related Links

Gaelic TV saved in Scotland (The Herald, 20 March 2016)

Gaelic broadcaster gets £1m Scottish government funding (BBC, 21 March 2016)

More backing for Gaelic broadcasting in Scotland (Brechin Advertiser, 21 March 2016)

Gaelic Virtual School for Scotland

18 March 2016 (Stornoway Gazette)

Bòrd na Gàidhlig today announced funding to support the creation of a Gaelic virtual school for Scotland, E-Sgoil.

The announcement was made by the Cathraiche of Bòrd na Gàidhlig at the National Gaelic Language Plan 2017-2022 Seminar in Edinburgh to open discussions on the creation of the 3rd National Plan for Gaelic.

E-Sgoil will look to design and develop an online learning environment that will provide connectivity initially, between all secondary schools throughout the Western Isles and beyond.

It will provide greater quality of subject access, vocational choices and learning opportunities across Gaelic medium secondary schools nationally.


Australian Ariel Killick is on a mission to restore Gaelic to its former prominence

14 March 2016 (The National)

Sometimes it takes an outsider to help people appreciate the beauty around them.

Ariel Killick may be originally from Australia but she is making waves in schools and communities across Scotland in the promotion of Gaelic, which she believes is still in a precarious state, despite relatively recent state support to promote the language.

A performer with a passion, she has been described as being on a one-woman mission to prevent Gaelic being treated like a “cultural dung-heap”.

But while she is passionate she hasn’t lost her sense of humour and uses contemporary arts such as graffiti, rap and street theatre to spread the word, while also drawing from Scotland’s ancient storytelling traditions.

There is a chance to see her in action in Edinburgh on Saturday, when she brings Adventures of the Gaelic Tree Alphabet to the Scottish Storytelling Centre.

Aimed at youngsters aged seven and upwards, the thought-provoking workshop is also an interactive, fun, forest adventure with Scotland’s native trees, and references the Highland Clearances, the decline of Gaelic and environmental issues.

An award-winning multi-art-form performer, Killick’s upcoming bilingual workshop is just one of the ways she promotes the use of Gaelic.


Gaelic school plans for Skye take major step forward

1 March 2016 (The Scotsman)

An £8.7million contract for a new Gaelic Primary School on the Isle of Skye has been awarded.

Robertson Construction will carry out the work on the building in the village of Portree, with completion expected late 2017.

Skye Councillor Drew Millar announced the contract at the first meeting of a new Highland Council area committee dealing solely with issues on the island.

Completion of the project would see the local authority deliver two standaline Gaelic Primary School in Portree and Fort William within two years of each other.

Councillors added that they would complement Scotland’s other Gaelic schools in Inverness, Glasgow and Edinburgh.


Row breaks out in Edinburgh over Gaelic school plan

29 February 2016 (BBC News)

A row has broken out over a plan for a change to Gaelic education in Edinburgh.

Some children who leave the city's Gaelic school this year may not be going to the secondary school they had expected to go to.

Their parents are angry, and have claimed that the move could undermine Gaelic education in the capital.

The plan will be discussed by the City of Edinburgh Council at a meeting on Tuesday.

Children who attend Bun-sgoil Taobh na Pairce, the Gaelic primary school that opened in 2013, have been able to continue their education in Gaelic at James Gillespie's High School in previous years.

However, parents were told recently that their children would not be automatically entitled to a place there because of the increasing size of the overall school roll.

Instead children who do not live within Gillespie's normal catchment area will be offered a place at Tynecastle High School, which also has Gaelic facilities. Critics claim the Gaelic facilities there are inferior to Gillespie's.


Related Links

Leading churchman attacks council over "crisis" in Gaelic provision (The Herald, 29 February 2016)

Church leader slams Gaelic axe plans (The Scotsman, 29 February 2016)

Council in Edinburgh Gaelic school pupils U-turn (BBC News, 2 March 2016)

e-bulletin for Gaelic Education

26 February 2016 (Education Scotland)

The latest e-bulletin for Gaelic Education has been published by Education Scotland. This e-bulletin includes information on Gaelic Medium Education (GME); Gaelic Learner Education (GLE) and the promotion of Learning about Gaelic Language and Culture as part of Scotland’s identity.

Gaelic war of words - Is Gaelic teaching in Scottish schools a waste of resources?

23 February 2016 (The Courier)

The passing of a new law at the Scottish Parliament has reignited debate about the costs of preserving Gaelic language and culture. The Education (Scotland) Bill means that every school now has to assess the need for Gaelic education if asked. But in these times of austerity budget cuts, is that a good use of resources? Michael Alexander investigates.


Related Links

Without our own words, we Gaels are silenced (The Herald, letters, 24 February 2016)

Google Translate to add 13 new languages including Gaelic

18 February 2016 (The Scotsman)

Google has confirmed that Gaelic will be among 13 new languages to be added to its translation site.

Considered the world’s most advanced open translation site, Google Translate will now offer 103 languages for translation.

The other 12 new languages are Shona, Sindhi, Pashto, Corsican, Frisian, Amharic, Kurmanji Kurdish, Luxembourgish, Samoan, Hawaiian, Kyrgyz and Xhosa


Related Links

Gaelic becomes latest language added to Google Translate (The Herald, 18 February 2016)

Gaelic among 13 new languages added to Google Translate (Scotland Now / Daily Record, 18 February 2016)

Google recognises Gaelic for first time… You can now translate anything into Scots language (Press and Journal, 18 February 2016)

Google Translate adds Gaelic to list of supported languages (STV News, 18 February 2016)

Google goes Gaelic (Island News & Advertiser, 18 February 2016)

Scots Gaelic one of 13 new languages on Google Translate (The National, 19 February 2016)

MSP welcomes Gaelic addition to Goggle Translate (Stornoway Gazette, 19 February 2016)

Gaelic 'should be preserved' to benefit the brain

15 February 2016 (The Herald)

Languages on the brink of dying out should be preserved in light of evidence that shows juggling different tongues is good for the brain, claims a British expert.

Professor Antonella Sorace, founder of the Bilingualism Matters Centre at the University of Edinburgh, is investigating the potential benefits of studying minority languages such as Sardinian and Scottish Gaelic.

Previous research has already shown that being multilingual can improve thinking and learning ability, and may reduce mental decline with age.


New team sought to keep Gaelic “up-to-date”

21 January 2016 (Press and Journal)

Gaelic quango Bòrd na Gàidhlig plans to spend up to £130,000 recruiting a team to keep the historic language “up-to-date”.

The body is offering a contract for a group to help ensure there is “consistency” in Gaelic terminology, grammar and linguistics.

The successful bidder would also provide an administration service and a “framework” to an existing steering group, with the aim of earning “popular legitimacy through engagement with the language community and through the marriage of popular, scientific and political interests”.

Initiatives to promote the language as part of the Gaelic Language Act have been criticised in recent months, including plans to re-brand emergency service vehicles.

However, supporters insist efforts must be made to protect the Gaelic from being consigned to history.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig is responsible for promoting the language, increasing the number of speakers and advising Scottish ministers.


Briefing for Gaelic Education

18 January 2015 (Education Scotland)

Education Scotland has published a briefing providing information on Gaelic Medium Education (GME); Gaelic Learner Education (GLE) and the promotion of Learning about Gaelic Language and Culture as part of Scotland’s identity.


Ambulance crews to get Gaelic lessons

18 January 2016 (The Herald)

Scottish Ambulance Service staff will be given lessons in Gaelic as part of the government’s push to boost the language. The service has proposed to introduce measures between now and 2020 that will include “Gaelic awareness and Gaelic language skills training”.

But the idea has been attacked by critics who believe that Gaelic lessons will take staff away from helping patients.


Related Links

Gaelic logo plan for ambulance service (The Express, 17 January 2016)

Paramedics could be forced to learn Gaelic, under new Scottish Ambulance Service plans (Press and Journal, 18 January 2016)

From Creole to Scots, all our tongues need preserving, says top linguist

16 January 2016 (The National)

Few people know more about the power and influence of minority languages than linguist Hector Poullet, an expert on the Creole tongue of the Caribbean.

The softly-spoken 75-year-old is a source on Creole in the French overseas department of Guadeloupe. You could say he wrote the book on the language, co-authoring one of the world’s first Creole dictionaries and helping to introduce it into the school curriculum.

This week, Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland launched a free online resource for children. Gifting Every Child includes Scots songs and Gaelic lullabies, providing an introduction to the traditional arts for the classroom or family home.

“All of the world’s languages are like a kaleidoscope – every single one of them is multiform and each one must be protected,” Poullet says.


The 50-Word Fiction Competition

13 January 2016 (Scottish Book Trust)

Can you write a story in just 50 words? Each month a prompt will be provided to get you started, but where the story goes from there is entirely up to you.

For January the prompt is 'write a story set in the future.'

Adults and young writers are eligible to enter. Submissions are welcomed in Scots and Gaelic.

Visit the Scottish Book Trust website for more information and to submit your short story.


Leadership Award Gaelic Education

7 January 2016 (Education Scotland)

Social Enterprise Academy and Education Scotland are working in partnership to deliver an Institute of Leadership and Management Award for teachers of Gaelic Education. The next Leadership Award for Gaelic Education will commence on 26 and 27 February 2016.

For more information and to enrol see Education Scotland's learning blog.


Research claims new Gaelic speakers are 'developing a Glasgow accent'

22 December 2015 (Herald)

Scotland's biggest city accounts for the largest number of Gaelic speakers outside the Western Isles – and now, it seems, Glasgow's gaels are adapting the language to their local accent.


Media Release: MG ALBA announces new strategy to ‘transform’ Gaelic media impact

18 December 2015 (All Media Scotland)

MG ALBA today published a five-year strategic plan aimed at transforming the contribution of Gaelic media.

Key objectives of the plan include initiatives to effect a major step change in the involvement of young people in Gaelic media and to develop a wider range of learning platforms.

Partnerships with other Gaelic organisations are central to the new strategic plan.

Maggie Cunningham, chair of MG ALBA, said it laid the foundations for a new era in Gaelic media.


Gaelic Creative Writing Course

17 December 2015 (Moniack Mhor)

Are you aged 16-19 and live in Scotland? Do you like creative writing? Do you speak Gaelic? Join us for a residential course from 18-23 January 2016 that will help you start writing in Gaelic. Our tutors will guide you through tasters in poetry, prose, writing for performance and many other forms. You also get to design and create a hand printed poster for the course with help from an artist at the Highland Print Studio in Inverness.

There is no requirement other than an ability in Gaelic and an interest in writing.

There is no cost for the course, but bookings are taken on a first come first served basis.

Visit the Moniack Mhor website for more information and to book your place.


SQA updates - Advanced Higher Modern Languages

14 December 2015 (SQA)

The SQA has updated a number of files on their Advanced Higher Modern Languages webpage.

A list of updates is attached and the files can be accessed on the SQA website.


Related Files

Edinburgh student's Gaelic love song to be played live at New York Christmas after Alexander McCall Smith Prize win

11 December 2015 (The Herald)

A talented Scots student will hear a love song he composed played live at a Christmas concert in New York after winning a prestigious music prize.

James Hind, 21, landed the trip to the Big Apple after impressing expert judges of the Alexander McCall Smith Prize For Composition with his Gaelic piece, written for voice, fiddle, cello, flute, clarsach and guitar.

He will now hear his work performed by professionals in both Manhattan and New Jersey at the annual Pipes of Christmas concert produced by the Clan Currie Society, and also hopes to use his first visit to the USA to check out the city’s renowned jazz haunts.

Best-selling novelist and medical law expert Professor Alexander McCall Smith, author of The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency stories and founder of his own Really Terrible Orchestra, awards the £500 prize annually for a composition by an undergraduate music student at Edinburgh Napier University.


SCILT Christmas webpage now live!

3 December 2015 (SCILT)

Are you looking for ways to bring the festive season to your languages classroom?

SCILT have compiled resources from around the world for use with your pupils, from songs and games to interactive advent calendars. Find out how Christmas is celebrated in France, Germany, Spain and around the world!


The new computer language is - Gaelic

2 December 2015 (The National)

Coputers can now speak Gaelic thanks to Ceitidh – the world’s first synthetic Scottish Gaelic language system.

The programme was created by Edinburgh speech synthesis company CereProc.

The firm specialises in creating natural and expressive-sounding voices, including those adapted to regional accents.

The company already offers three “Scottish English” voices and another in “Glasgow English”, with others in Catalan, Brazilian Portuguese and “Lancashire English”.

Now it aims to help visually-impaired Gaelic speakers and language learners with Ceitidh.

Available to download for free, it is hoped the programme will be used by schools, colleges, universities and public sector organisations to read documents, website and audio books.

Creators say the voice is also “especially useful” to people with dyslexia, visual impairment or other reading difficulties.


St Andrew’s Day 2015 – Seven educational ways to celebrate!

30 November 2015 (Education Scotland)

The Scots language co-ordinators at Education Scotland have put together a list of seven suggestions for meaningful learning about Scotland for St Andrews Day.

Find links to Scots language websites, songs, poems and other resources, as well Gaelic language materials.


Let's hear Scots language on BBC Alba, says former SNP leader

30 November 2015 (The Herald)

BBC Alba should extend its remit to make programmes in the Scots language, a former leader of the SNP has urged.

Gordon Wilson said having a Gaelic language channel but no broadcasting in Scots was a "cultural flaw".

In a submission to the BBC Trust, which is consulting on the future of the corporation, he said: "Gaelic is an important part of Scottish culture.

"Yet Scotland has another tradition in the Scots language still spoken in different forms throughout Scotland and used widely amongst the ordinary folk of Scotland.

"It dwarves that of Gaelic.

"Scots has been instrumental in enriching Scottish culture in poetry, prose and plays but does not enjoy the support it should from a national broadcaster."


Related Links

Wee Ginger Dug: Does it suit the Tories (The National, 3 December 2015)

Gaelic e-bulletin

26 November 2015 (Education Scotland)

Education Scotland's latest e-bulletin for Gaelic Education is now available.


Warnings of blow to Gaelic TV

26 November 2015 (The Herald)

Campaigners have warned of a "major blow" to Gaelic television after George Osborne quietly axed UK Government funding.

The Chancellor did not renew a £1 million-a-year grant from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

[...] Two years ago the then Culture Secretary Maria Miller described the service as playing a "crucial role in the cultural and economic well-being of Scotland".

She also said that the Scottish Gaelic language was an "integral part of our incredibly diverse culture".

And she said that the sum provided the "funding certainty that the channel needs to continue bringing high-quality Gaelic language programmes to the small screen".


Word Wizard 2016 - last chance to register!

26 November 2015 (SCILT/CISS)

Registrations for Word Wizard 2016 close on Monday 30th November, don't miss out on the chance to enter this motivating and challenging competition!

Open to S1-S3 pupils to compete in French, Gaelic, German, Mandarin or Spanish, Word Wizard provides learners with the opportunity to improve their vocabulary, pronunciation and memory skills in a competition format. 

In partnership with UCMLS this year we have semi-finals in Aberdeen, Dundee and Glasgow. Sign up now to receive the first set of word lists and start practising!


Gaelic is the talk of the town as the great and the good take the plaudits at the Scottish Gaelic Awards

21 November 2015 (Daily Record)

One of Scotland’s best-known collectors of folk tradition has been honoured for the contribution he has made to Gaelic language and heritage.

John MacInnes, who worked at the School of Scottish Studies over four decades, was named Best Contribution at the Daily Record and Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s annual Scottish Gaelic Awards on Wednesday evening.

MacInnes, who started collecting songs, stories and the folk tradition of the nation in the early 1950s, was praised for his “unparalleled contribution” in recording the spoken word, literature and music of Scotland.

“For his academic papers and his warmth and enthusiasm towards anyone interested in Gaelic, he deserves recognition,” said his citation.


Meet the author sessions at the Gaelic Books Council

19 November 2015 (Gaelic Books Council)

Celebrate Book Week Scotland (23-29 November) by attending a meet the author session at the Gaelic Books Council.

There are sessions scheduled into Spring next year for all ages.  See the timetables below:

For more information about the Gaelic Books Council visit their website. (We recommend viewing in Chrome browser).


Animator King Rollo Films planning first Gaelic series

16 November 2015 (BBC News)

Animation studio King Rollo Films plans to make its first Gaelic language television series. 

The makers of children's TV programmes Spot, Humf and Deer Little Forest previously announced plans to develop a new series from a base on Skye. 

It also emerged last month that it will hold free workshops for artists next month and in January as part of an effort to create a local workforce. Gaelic language college Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI will host the training.


Councillors urged to back Stronger BBC Alba in Royal Charter

6 November 2015 (BBC News)

Showing more original, high quality programming on Gaelic TV channel BBC Alba would benefit Gaelic education, it has been suggested.

MG Alba, which operates in partnership with the BBC, has asked that a stronger BBC Alba should form part of the BBC's next Royal Charter.

Highland Council officers have urged councillors to support this call. The officials said more Gaelic programmes would support "significant growth" in Gaelic medium education.

Councillors on Highland Council's Gaelic implementation group will be asked to back MG Alba's position at a meeting on 12 November.


Word Wizard 2016 - regional semi-finals added!

5 November 2015 (SCILT/CISS)

Registrations for Word Wizard 2016 are now open for your French, Gaelic, German, Mandarin and Spanish pupils to develop their vocabulary, spelling and memory skills.

This year we have 3 semi-finals in venues across the country - in the Universities of Strathclyde, Dundee and Aberdeen. Schools can now choose to attend the semi-final which is most convenient for them.

The Stage 1 word lists were sent to registered schools this week, so sign up now to take part in this exciting and motivating competition!


FilmG hopes to boost entries with smartphone awards

5 November 2015 (BBC News)

The organisers of Gaelic short film competition FilmG hope to attract increased entries with new prizes rewarding the use of smartphones.

Prizes for best mobile short have been added to the youth and open categories of the annual contest.

Organisers said they hoped the new awards would help them to better engage with young Gaelic speakers.

The closing date for entries to all FilmG's categories is 16 December.


Gaelic speakers born overseas boost language in Scotland

4 November 2015 (The Scotsman)

The survival of Gaelic speaking in Scotland is being helped by a band of new speakers from Eastern Europe and Africa, it has emerged.

A second report on the 2011 Gaelic Census, released last week, has found a “notable” increase in speakers from new EU member states.


Languagenut supports 1+2

3 November 2015 (SALT)

Languagenut is a professional teaching tool that offers teaching resources across 19 world languages, including French, Spanish, German, Italian, Gaelic and Mandarin. Languagenut also supports EAL students by offering 80 native languages as support to learn English.

It is the perfect tool to support the 1+2 approach to language learning, as all audio files are recorded by native speakers. With a range of games, songs and stories, Languagenut supports the four key skills of language learning: listening, speaking, reading and writing.

In addition, Languagenut offers special integrated tools which allow teachers both create their own classes and content, and also set and track homework, generate certificates and evaluate students’ progress in real time. These timesaving tools help teachers to deliver more personalised teaching and customise lessons to fit each individual.

Accessible at school and at home and through GLOW, Languagenut helps to bridge the gap between classroom and home learning and is free for all Scottish schools.


Word Wizard 2016 - registrations now open!

30 October 2015 (SCILT/CISS)

Scotland's National Centre for Languages and Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools, in partnership with The University of St Andrews, are proud to announce the return of Word Wizard for its third year!

Motivate your French, Gaelic, German, Mandarin and Spanish pupils by taking part in this spellbinding multilingual spelling competition! 

Building on the success of last year's competition, this year we are holding 3 semi-finals across the country - hosted by the universities of Strathclyde, Dundee and Aberdeen. 

Visit our Word Wizard 2016 webpage for more information and to download the Teacher's Pack and Registration form. 


Scotland’s Census 2011 : Gaelic report (part 2)

29 October 2015 (National Records of Scotland)

This National Statistics publication for Scotland details the use of Gaelic by a variety of categories and sectors in Scotland.

See the report online.


Scottish Funding Council Gaelic Language Plan 2014-19

28 October 2015 (Scottish Funding Council)

The SFC has just published its Gaelic Language Plan 2014-19. This Plan has been prepared under Section 3 of the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005 and was approved by Bòrd na Gàidhlig on 17 September 2015.

See the SFC publication on their website.


Bella Caledonia launches Gaelic and Scots content

28 October 2015 (Commonspace)

THE Scottish new media website Bella Caledonia has announced that it will publish a new strand of work celebrating Gaelic and Scots language, and culture.

The content will be published in both English and Gaelic, and will explore the world of Scottish poetry, music and visual art.

Bella Caledonia editor Mike Small stated: "It's an outstanding group of people who are joining our editorial team - we are going to bring new richness and depth to Bella's cultural content and stand-up for Scottish culture.

"We have established a pool of contributors from up and down the country to create content and welcome input and submissions from others. It's time to take a far more pro-active and confident approach to defending and more importantly celebrating our cultural diversity."


We must develop a tolerance gene to languages, including Gaelic

21 October 2015 (The Herald letters)

Letters in the Herald from readers in support of the Gaelic language policy and language learning.


Related Links

So, who needs Gaelic? (The Herald letters, 19 October 2015)

Support for Gaelic early years

21 October 2015 (Scottish Government)

Children in Gaelic speaking communities will be helped to get the best start in life after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced £100,000 funding for 41 early years’ groups and organisations.

The money will support the running costs of the groups and provide employment opportunities for Gaelic speaking leaders so that children can develop their skills in the language.

The First Minister made the announcement in Skye as she delivered the Sabhal Mòr Ostaig lecture for the first time. She said:

“We want all of Scotland’s children to have the best start in life. That includes providing opportunities for children to learn and improve Gaelic in their early years. Our support for Gaelic medium education is encouraging and enabling more children to learn the language and has helped to slow the decline in our population of Gaelic speakers. I am determined to do all I can to support the future of the language in Scotland. Today’s announcement ensures that children will be able to take up Gaelic at the earliest possible age.”


Related Links

First minister unveils £100,000 for Gaelic speaking children (Press and Journal, 22 October 2015)

Support for Gaelic early years (Stornoway Gazette, 26 October 2015) 

Police launch plan for wider use of Gaelic language within service

15 October 2015 (The Herald)

Draft plans for greater use of the Gaelic language within the police service have been launched.

The plans are part of the Scottish Government's commitment to raise the status and profile of Gaelic, and create practical opportunities for learning and use of the language.

The draft plans from Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) were unveiled at the Royal National Mod in Oban, with the support of Bord Na Gaidhlig, with officers wearing uniforms bearing English and Gaelic forms of Police Scotland and a vehicle with the Gaelic version of the Police Scotland logo.


All pupils to learn two foreign languages by high school

13 October 2015 (Edinburgh Evening News)

It's the pioneering programme aimed at making ­language learning as easy as un, deux, trois.

Every pupil in the Capital will receive lessons in at least two foreign languages by the time they leave primary school under radical plans aimed at helping them keep pace with peers across Europe.

City bosses have confirmed they want to introduce the new scheme, called 1+2, by the start of 2017 – three years ahead of a national deadline set for 2020.

Youngsters will be offered classes in core languages including French, Spanish and Mandarin, as well as Gaelic, Scots and “heritage” tongues such as Polish and Farsi.

The Edinburgh roll-out is part of a Scottish Government-led initiative which will see all children learn a second language from P1 and have experience of a third from P5 at the latest.

Parent leaders in the city have hailed the development and said it would help prepare youngsters for the modern world.