Teachers (Gaelic)

Education and Young People, Tourism, Culture and Sport – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:15 pm on 8th March 2007.

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Photo of John Farquhar Munro John Farquhar Munro Liberal Democrat 2:15 pm, 8th March 2007

To ask the Scottish Executive what action it is taking to encourage more people to take up careers as Gaelic teachers. (S2O-12316)

Photo of Hugh Henry Hugh Henry Labour

We established a ministerial action group on Gaelic teacher recruitment, appointed a Gaelic teacher recruitment officer to implement the recommendations of the group, supported new routes into Gaelic teacher training and provided a course to enable Gaelic-speaking teachers to transfer to Gaelic-medium teaching.

Photo of John Farquhar Munro John Farquhar Munro Liberal Democrat

I am sure that, like me, the minister welcomes the expansion of Gaelic-medium education in many areas of Scotland, particularly the Highlands and Islands, where Gaelic-medium education is provided in both primary and secondary schools. A new Gaelic school is being purpose built in Inverness; what initiatives will the Executive promote to ensure that qualified teachers are available to fill the posts?

Photo of Hugh Henry Hugh Henry Labour

I have outlined some of the specific actions that we are taking to encourage more people to take up careers as Gaelic teachers. I join John Farquhar Munro in complimenting the schools that are being developed. I have visited a Gaelic unit in a primary school in Oban and I have visited the new Gaelic school in Glasgow. I confess that the latter was an eye-opener, not only because I saw the clear enthusiasm in the Glasgow school but because I saw the relevance that the people in Glasgow, who did not live in a Gaelic-speaking community, saw in having their children educated through Gaelic.

I am aware of the new school in Inverness. We are committing substantial resources to expanding the teaching of Gaelic in Scotland. However, as John Farquhar Munro rightly points out, this is not just about money and commitment. If we do not have the teachers to support it, the initiative will not make progress. I hope that the measures that we are putting in place will build on what has undoubtedly been a success to date.