Bord na Gaidhlig has produced a new National Gaelic Language Plan. This sets out priorities for increasing the numbers speaking, learning and using the language.
The central aim 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.
John Swinney, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills said “I am very pleased to launch this new National Gaelic Language Plan which reflects Gaelic’s unique and important contribution to many areas of Scottish life. It is vital that we have clear agreed priorities and continue to work together to increase the numbers speaking, learning and using the language. I would like to commend Bòrd na Gàidhlig for the work they have done in completing this Plan and I look forward to the opportunities for innovation, co-operation and progress prioritised in the plan over the next five years.”
Amongst the priority areas for the next five years are:
Initiatives targeting the use of Gaelic by young people
Increasing the contribution Gaelic makes to the Scottish economy across different sectors
Increasing the demand and provision for Gaelic Education
Developing Gaelic medium workforce recruitment, retention, training and supply
Gaelic in the family
Gaelic Language Plans developed and implemented by public bodies; and
Promotion of the social, economic and cultural value of Gaelic
An Comann Gaidhealach’s newsletter has a summary of the dates for local Mods across Scotland. Education Scotland’s Advice on Gaelic Education refers to such opportunities for personal achievements as an important context for applying language, building confidence and developing a range of skills for learning life and work.
We have updated the Advice on Gaelic Education to reflect some recent changes to the 1+2 policy. This change enables children to continue with L3, as they move from primary to secondary, if schools are able to demonstrate that children’s achievements are “approaching the second level”. We have included challenge questions, matched to the quality indicators, to support self-evaluation for self-improvement.
SQA has published details of changes to the arrangements for Higher Gaelic (Learners). Units and unit assessments will be removed from session 2018-19 onwards. SQA are strengthening the course assessment to ensure that it continues to assess candidates on the full content of the course, and to maintain the current course value of 24 SCQF credit points. For more details, please visit:
Education Scotland is evidencing many successes for Gaelic (Learners) from the implementation of the policy, Language Learning in Scotland: a 1+2 Approach. Teachers’ commitment to delivering Gaelic within the curriculum is acknowledged. A presentation on the successes and challenges for Gaelic from implementing the policy is available here. One such challenge is that there are many children learning Gaelic as L3 in primary schools for whom a progression pathway into secondary is still to be identified. However, a newly-announced change to how L3 may be delivered may assist with this. In Scotland, we also have an important target to meet in increasing the number of speakers of Gaelic as part of the National Gaelic Language Plan. For this, education has a key role.
Currently, at the primary stages, children who experience a coherent and progressive experience of L3 from P5-P7 may choose to continue with that language into S1 and to the end of the broad general education (BGE). For purposes of planning the secondary curriculum, this language would become young people’s L2. For this to be the case, children need to have achieved the second level by the end of P7. In addition, there should be pathways to National Qualifications in the senior phase for that language. The 1+2 policy has recently been relaxed to state that L3 may be the language that children continue with, as they move from primary to secondary, if schools are able to demonstrate that children’s achievements are “approaching the second level”. To achieve this, the planning for the L3 language needs to result in a coherent and progressive experience from P5-P7. This new arrangement does not replace the opportunity for schools to introduce more than one language as L3.
Here are some useful steps to guide how you may incorporate this new delivery model for L3 into planning for improvement:
Revisit your curriculum rationale, particularly in light of the local context, to ascertain if increasing the numbers approaching the second level of Gaelic (Learners) is a priority for your school.
Ensure strong links between primary and secondary specialists who are delivering Gaelic (Learners).
Work with the other primaries in your cluster and the associated secondary school to plan a coherent 3-18 experience.
Review the structure of the curriculum to see how you can plan learning, teaching and assessment to enable children’s achievements to be approaching the second level.
Review how well you use the contexts of the curriculum as a means of increasing outcomes for Gaelic and assisting young people in making connections in their learning.
Review how you are using Gaelic partners and organisations to increase the time allocated to Gaelic (Learners) in the curriculum.
Plan for progression and coherence by using the experiences and outcomes to show how you will develop knowledge, skills, attributes and capabilities of the four capacities.
Plan the use of Benchmarks for Gaelic (Learners) to set out clear statements about what learners need to know and be able to do to achieve a level across all curriculum areas.
Plan how you will integrate Gaelic (Learners) as a language in the life and work of the school.
Use the principles of curriculum design to plan learning to motivate children in their learning of Gaelic. In particular, ensure that children understand the relevance of Gaelic, including for achieving a positive destination on leaving school.
Scotland’s National Centre for Languages (SCILT) has published a case study which focuses on increasing the uptake for languages as young people move from the broad general education into the senior phase. It demonstrates how self-evaluation has been used to secure improvements.
The SCEL Teacher Leadership Programme supports teachers and practitioners to make a difference in the classroom, school and wider community through access to innovative and quality leadership development programmes and activities. For more details, please visit:
This resource, although it does not refer directly to Gaelic (Learners), has some useful information on second language acquisition. It may also be useful when planning the deployment of Language Assistants.