Thirty years on for Gaelic class

Marking the anniversary at Breasclete School.
Marking the anniversary at Breasclete School.

Representatives from the Education and Children’s Services Department of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar met at Breasclete School, Lewis recently to make a special anniversary.

The start of Gaelic Medium Education in Western Isles Schools began thirty years ago.

In 1986 four pupils embarked on their educational journey, through the medium of Gaelic, at Breasclete school.

The school was given official Gaelic Status last year and now over 80% of its pupils are educated through the medium of Gaelic.

Bernard Chisholm, Director of Education and Children’s Services said: “This is a day of real celebration, not only for Breasclete School, but also for the authority as a whole.

“The drive shown by parents in those early days must be noted and without the commitment shown by educational leaders such as Dr. Finlay MacLeod, John Murray and others together with those involved in the Van Leer project we would not be in the position we are in today.

“They fought, at national level, to build a network and gain resources which enabled the Comhairle to progress Gaelic Medium Education. Gaelic is now the principle language of instruction to nearly half of all pupils in the Western Isles and we have ten schools which have official Gaelic Status.

“We remain committed and passionate on the delivery of a first class educational experience in the native tongue of our islands and retaining Gaelic as the living language in our culture and communities.”

The Comhairle will celebrate the thirty-year milestone with several events across the coming academic session and plans are underway for a Gaelic Day in November at departmental level.

It’s not just within the schools that Gaelic will be promoted but in all educational settings and with the workforce of the Department.

Uilleam MacDonald, Head of Education commented: “It’s a great delight to be here today at Breasclete School. We have come a long way, not only in the Western Isles, but at national level, since 1986.

“The Comhairle is always looking to increase the numbers enrolling in Gaelic Medium Education and we are constinstently promoting the benefits of bilingualism”.

For more information on Gaelic Medium Education currently in the Western Isles visit this website: {http://www.gaelicmediumeducation.com|here