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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-01552: Maree Todd (Highlands and Islands)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 18 July 2016

To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to promote the teaching of (a) Scots and (b) Gaelic in (i) schools and (ii) communities.

Answered by: John Swinney 3 August 2016

(a)(i) The Scottish Government has appointed a number of Scots Language Co-ordinators to work in Education Scotland with the specific remit of developing and promoting the use of Scots in schools. Scottish Language Dictionaries also contributes to this work by providing high quality dictionaries on the Scots language. In 2014, they produced an app of the Essential Scots Dictionary to help children studying the Scots language Award. In 2015, the Scottish Government launched its Scots Language Policy, a key aim of which is to recognise the important role that school education has in promoting the use of Scots. The introduction of the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) Scottish Studies and Scots Language Awards, as well as the set Scottish texts for National 5 and Higher English courses also contribute to the promotion of Scots in schools.

(ii) In 2015, Creative Scotland published a Scots Policy which sets out its position on the Scots language and identifies ways in which it can be promoted and celebrated in the arts and in communities. This policy included the announcement of an appointment of a Scots Scriever. The Scriever works in partnership with Creative Scotland and the National Library of Scotland and is responsible for producing original creative works in Scots, as well as raising awareness, appreciation and use of Scots in communities. The Scottish Government also funds the Scots Language Centre and Scottish Language Dictionaries and both promote Scots in communities.

(b)(i) The Scottish Government is taking a number of important steps to promote Gaelic in schools. This includes providing funding to local authorities, support for teachers and provision of Gaelic resources. In 2015-16, the Scottish Government has provided grant funding totalling £4.484m to various local authorities to support costs associated with the delivery of Gaelic medium education, as well as up to £4m through the Gaelic Schools Capital Grant to support the growth of Gaelic medium education in schools. In addition, the Education (Scotland) Act 2016 contains a number of Gaelic provisions, including a duty on local authorities to promote Gaelic education, a parental right to request GME for their child where sufficient demand exists and a duty on Bòrd na Gidhlig to produce Guidance on Gaelic education.

(ii) The Scottish Government provides funding to Bòrd na Gidhlig to promote Gaelic in Scotland’s communities. This support is allocated to Gaelic organisations such as Fèisean nan Gidheal, Comunn na Gidhlig and An Comunn Gidhealach. The promotion of Gaelic in communities also features in local authority and Public Body Gaelic language plans which Bòrd na Gidhlig is also responsible for.