Additional support to children in Gaelic Medium

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An online resource package has been designed to help practitioners support children in Gaelic Medium Education when they need extra help with speech and language.

The Collective Resource Document has been created by Gaelic educational resources organisation Stòrlann Naiseanta na Gàidhlig and pulls together papers on the subject from a wide variety of experts.

There are a number of papers within the document and it can be found at www.storlann.co.uk/feumalachdan-taic

The document is one of the outcomes of a process that began with an audit on Additional Support Needs (ASN) and staff training in Gaelic Medium Education (GME).

The audit was commissioned by Bòrd na Gàidhlig with funding support from Scottish Government in 2013 and it triggered a series of actions.

First, a multi-agency working group was set up to take forward the recommendations of the audit. Then, a conference was organised in 2014 which heard from a number of specialist speakers on the topic of Additional Support Needs and Speech and Language Therapy in the bilingual context.

This prompted research into the development of new assessment tools in GME and that work is ongoing. It also prompted this collection of papers from experts in various disciplines united by a common interest in the management of Additional Support Needs and Speech and Language Therapy within bilingual education.

The complete Collective Resource Document is available for download as a PDF and is the main resource on Storlann’s new Feumalachdan-taic (Addiditonal Support Needs) page. There are also 11 video presentations on the site and the Collective Resource Document itself contains 12 papers.

These include two by the late Archie MacLuillich, a consultant educational psychologist who collaborated with Stòrlann and played a key role in the Gaelic ASN initiative.

The primary focus of the Collective Resource Document is on the development of assessment and support tools and methods which take account of the distinctive nature of Gaelic Medium Education.

Its creation also helps to address the point made in Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s Statutory Guidance for Gaelic Education, that “steps should be taken to improve provision for children and young people in GME who require additional support in their learning”.

The resource document includes contributions from speech and language therapists, specialist teachers, psychologists, bilingualism academics and managers of ASN support services in schools.

Stòrlann chief executive Donald Morrison said: “For Stòrlann, this resource represents a first edition that is designed to be updated and added to in the future as the work of resourcing and supporting the Gaelic ASN sector expands and continues.”

He also said: “I wish to highlight the central role that the late Archie MacLullich played in

the co-ordination and design of this resource and the wider ASN initiative. Over many years, Stòrlann enjoyed a long-standing relationship with Archie in his role as advisor and consultant on matters relating to additional support needs — a work that was delivered with enthusiasm and deep insight.”

As well as contributing two chapters, Archie also wrote the foreword to the Collective Resource Document.

In it he said: “The primary focus of the research is on the development of assessment tools and methods — across disciplines and professions — which take account of the distinctive nature of the Gaelic Medium Education context.

“The Resource is a first step in an ongoing process of bringing together theoretical and applied considerations in tackling a resource inequity in the assessment of pupils in Gaelic Medium Education.”

Mona Wilson, Director of Gaelic Education at Bòrd na Gàidhlig, said: “We welcome the publication of these articles. It provides practitioners with the opportunity to access important and useful professional information which can be used to inform their professional practices.”