College promotes Celtic Studies in Scotland

Newbattle Abbey College
Newbattle Abbey College

Newbattle Abbey College, based in Midlothian near Edinburgh, is going Gaelic.

The College will launch two new, full-time courses in September to promote Celtic Studies and Gaelic in Scotland.

The courses will include mandatory Gaelic units for learners and native speakers, and have been developed with help from Sabhal Mor Ostaig and Lews Castle College.

Newbattle’s Gaelic Development Co-ordinator Morag Macdonald, originally from North Uist, Newbattle Abbey hope that the new courses will encourage more people to take up the language as she said: “There is so much happening with regards to Gaelic in Scotland at the moment and, with that, comes many opportunities for people who are familiar with the language.
“In Scotland, there’s definitely a big demand for people that are qualified to work in the Gaelic industry as it’s hard to find people that have a good grasp of the language and are confident with it.”

Mairi McMillan, Head of Education and Learning at Bord na Gaidhlig, agreed that there is a shortage of people qualified to teach Gaelic in Primary schools, and welcome news of the course.

“There is an abundance of career opportunities currently available in Gaelic-medium education,” she said.

“Scotland aims to strengthen the infrastructure of Gaelic education and learning generally by supporting the recruitment of a confident, appropriately trained workforce in order to service the expansion of Gaelic education.”

Both a National Certificate and an Access to Higher Education course in Celtic Studies will be offered where students will be given the opportunity to learn about a wider range of subjects including politics, history, art and literature.

And the Celtic Studies Access to Higher Education course – being run in collaboration with the Scottish Wider Access Programme – offers the opportunity to progress to Higher Education, including the Gaelic and Primary Education degree run by The University of Edinburgh.

The new courses are already attracting students, like Beth MacPhail, who was born in Lewis and hopes to become a Gaelic Primary School teacher.

“Gaelic seems to have become more popular nowadays and I think that it’s a great thing so I’d love to be involved,” she said.
“When I was younger, speaking Gaelic was quite unusual but now children from all over the world are learning it so I’m really looking forward to starting the Celtic Studies course in September.”

For more information on the courses offered at Newbattle Abbey College, please visit