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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-10440: Kate Forbes (Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 25 July 2017

To ask the Scottish Government what plans it has to increase the number of Gaelic teachers to meet the demand for Gaelic medium education.

Answered by: John Swinney 8 August 2017

The Scottish Government is committed to supporting parental choice for those interested in placing their children in Gaelic medium education and staff at every level are key to its success.

The document “Delivering Excellence and Equity in Scottish Education - A Deliver Plan for Scotland” committed us to “Developing a new route which is focused on getting high-quality graduates into priority areas and subjects.” This will go out to tender in August and within that specification bids are expected to address priority subjects such as Gaelic.

In addition, the Scottish Government is an active member of the National Gaelic Education Steering Group which allows partners including Bord na Gaidhlig, local authorities and universities to discuss the availability of teachers, ITE courses and the development of initiatives to support the sector. We understand the need to increase the variety of opportunities to enter Gaelic Medium Education teaching and continue to look at new routes, whether full-time, part-time or distance learning. We are also continuing to fund existing courses such as the Gaelic Immersion for Teachers (GIfT) and STREAP courses, both of which are designed to equip current teachers with the skills they need to transfer into Gaelic medium teaching.

The Scottish Government also wants to ensure that those who are interested in entering teacher training are supported and we currently fund the Gaelic Teacher Recruitment Officer post at Bòrd na Gidhlig. The post holder visits schools and career events to ensure those interested in a teaching career have the information they have to succeed and also provides support to students who are on their courses or placements. In addition, Bòrd na Gidhlig offer a variety of incentives to those interested in entering Gaelic Medium Education teaching and more information on routes in to the sector can be found at the dedicated Gaelic Teaching website www.teagasg.com. The current National Gaelic advertising campaign will be expanded in the coming year to appeal to Gaelic learners or prospective learners of the language.