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Post Info TOPIC: LEARNING TO SPEAK GAELIC

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LEARNING TO SPEAK GAELIC


Record number of graduates to boost Gaelic teaching

JOHN ROSS

A RECORD number of Gaelic teachers will graduate in Scotland this year, a move seen as vital in the revival of the language.

About 20 primary and nine secondary school Gaelic speaking teachers will now enter their probationary year compared with 12 primary and two secondary probationers last year.

At present, 169 Gaelic teachers are teaching in primary schools and 71 in secondary schools.

A shortage of qualified teachers has been seen as a drawback in the fight to safeguard and develop the language.

The Executive launched a Gaelic medium teachers' action group nearly two years ago to tackle the problem and provided Brd na Gidhlig, the national development agency, with funds for a teacher recruitment officer.

The recently published National Plan for Gaelic also contains an education strategy setting out priorities, including teacher recruitment, training and supply.

All Gaelic teachers have been guaranteed an induction year within Gaelic-medium primary or secondary schools in the Western Isles, Highland, Argyll and Bute, Glasgow, Inverclyde, North Lanarkshire, Stirling and Aberdeen.

More than 2,000 pupils receive Gaelic-medium education at primary level and just under 300 at secondary level.

Matthew MacIver, the General Teaching Council for Scotland's chief executive, said:

"We have seen a number of important developments to increase access to Gaelic-medium education.

"It is important we provide the best possible start for new teachers and must not lose sight of their development needs."

Hugh Fraser, Highland Council's education director, described the figures as very encouraging, adding:

"I believe there is a very good chance that all the probationers will be able to secure jobs."

An Executive spokeswoman said: "Gaelic-medium education is a real success story with growing numbers of pupils. That is why we're working to increase the number of teachers and it's heartening to see the number of recruits rising."

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