Bòrd na Gàidhlig is to launch a major campaign to promote Gaelic-medium education and learning this November in order to meet the aspiration in the new National Gaelic Language Plan of doubling the number of children enrolling in P1 GME from 400 to 800 plus.
The main thrust of the campaign will be to inform parents of the benefits of bilingualism and the advantages of Gaelic medium education. The campaign will work at both national and local level, through billboard and poster advertising in major cities where Gaelic-medium education is available and through posters and local media in rural and island areas.
To provide practical support to families which respond positively to this campaign Bòrd na Gàidhlig will work with the national parental support group, Comunn nan Pàrant, and local authorities. Parental advisory support initiatives, such as home visiting will be employed. The ultimate aim is to provide such services in all areas with Gaelic medium education provision and in communities in which new interest in GME is evident.
Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s early years support team will play a pivotal role in providing support alongside Comunn nam Pàrant, Gaelic organisations and local authorities. The Bòrd has recruited Early Years Workers in the south of Scotland, Highland and Western Isles areas and is looking to recruit others in Argyll and the East Coast of Scotland. Since Bòrd na Gàidhlig recruited these workers significant progress has been made in developing support structures, and new groups have been established for the first time, while others have been reestablished, in Glasgow, Highland and the Western Isles.
Bòrd na Gàidhlig Cathraiche (Chair), Arthur Cormack said: “This campaign is an important step towards fulfilling the aims of the draft National Gaelic Language Plan on which the Bòrd is currently consulting widely. The Plan’s aims are ambitious and a step change is needed in order to achieve them. Billboard advertising, for example, is a first for Bòrd na Gàidhlig and, as well as promoting this initiative, will give Gaelic an eye-catching profile in many communities. Equally important, however, is to get the message across in a very targeted way to individual families in communities rural and urban.”
Minister for Learning and skills Dr Alasdair Allan said: “Gaelic has an important place in Scottish culture and 81 per cent of people feel it is important that Scotland does not lose its Gaelic language traditions. I very much welcome moves by Bòrd na Gàidhlig to raise awareness of the considerable benefits of Gaelic Medium Education across the country, which will help ensure a vibrant and sustainable future for the language, helping us to stabilise and grow the numbers who speak the language.”