The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) has reaffirmed its commitment to Gaelic with a number of initiatives which it hopes will support the uptake of the language among learners across Scotland.
SQA, one of the main sponsors of this week’s Royal National Mòd, and Board member of An Comunn Gàidhealach, is committed to supporting Gaelic education.
SQA’s new Scottish Studies Award allows learners to develop their knowledge and understanding of Scotland in terms of its people, languages, society, culture, natural environment and heritage. A key aspect of the Award is its ‘Scotland in Focus’ Unit, which will allow learners to make connections across the curriculum in a wide range of subjects, including Gaelic for both learners and fluent speakers.
The Assessment Support materials for this Unit are being made available in the medium of Gaelic. To date, the Award has been well received by schools and colleges with 50 of them expressing an interest to deliver the Award this year.
Another way that SQA supports Gaelic education is making some National Courses available in the medium of Gaelic. Candidates undertaking these courses now have this recognised automatically on their Scottish Qualifications Certificate.
To date, SQA has offered Gaelic Medium exams in Standard Grade Maths, History, Geography, Modern Studies and Gaidhlig and more recently Higher Maths.
With the roll out of the new qualifications to support Curriculum for Excellence, SQA will offer Gaelic Medium assessments at all levels from National 3 to Advanced Higher in these subjects, as well as the new Units in Literacy and Numeracy.
SQA is also providing Gaelic Medium support materials in the new Media Studies National Course. As part of this course, candidates have to create a Media Product, and given the current opportunities available for Gaelic speakers in the media, SQA hope schools and colleges will offer this course fully in the medium of Gaelic. SQA is also keen to offer, in this sector in particular, Gaelic Medium vocational qualifications such as Modern Apprenticeships, Higher National and Professional Development Awards.
Head of Humanities, Arts and Business at SQA, Robert Quinn, said: “SQA’s Gaelic provision continues to attract wide interest due to the flexibility and breadth of choice available for learners and more fluent speakers of the language. We are encouraged by the interest shown in the new Scottish Studies Award and are optimistic that the new assessment support materials, being produced in the medium of Gaelic, will continue to underpin the key criteria set out within our own Gaelic Language Plan and the Scottish Government’s National Plan for Gaelic.
“Learners, parents and teachers should be aware that SQA is working closely with key partners to ensure that Gaelic Medium candidates are supported at every stage in their educational development and achievement.”