Edinburgh Council publish Gaelic language plan ahead of consultation

Edinburgh Gaelic School, Bun-sgoil Taobh na Pairce school on Bonnington Road.
Edinburgh Gaelic School, Bun-sgoil Taobh na Pairce school on Bonnington Road.
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Edinburgh Council have released their Gaelic language plan to support and promote the language and culture ahead of consultation.

The plan aims to promote a city that develops and supports more fluent and confident Gaelic speakers as well as promoting thriving Gaelic communities and cultures.

Taobh na Pairce school on Bonnington Road.

Taobh na Pairce school on Bonnington Road.

The ‘Draft Gaelic Language Plan’ was published by the City of Edinburgh Council today and is open for consultation until December 15.

It is part of the Council’s commitment to work in partnership with Gaelic communities, organisations who deliver Gaelic services, Bòrd na Gàidhlig and the Scottish Government to support the language and culture.

This is the second Gaelic Language Plan produced by the Council and will follow on from the previous one which saw the expansion of early Gaelic Medium Education (GME), a new GME primary school Taobh na Pàirce and further development of Gaelic Learning Education at both primary and secondary schools.

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The plan also links in with the ‘Edinburgh City Vision 2050’ which states that Edinburgh aspires to be a connected, inspired, fair and thriving city. The council have stated that the Gaelic language and Gaelic communities are an integral part of that vision.

In addition to its statutory duty to produce a plan every five years the Council’s business plan for 2017-22 has a specific commitment to support the continued development of GME.

The draft plan has six strategic themes and commitments of: home and early years, education, community, workplace, culture/arts/heritage and economy.

Councillor Lewis Ritchie, Gaelic Champion for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “Gaelic is an integral part of our shared heritage and national identity and is a unique and essential feature of Scotland’s rich cultural tapestry.

“Gaelic belongs to everyone in Scotland, not least the citizens of Edinburgh and as the capital city, we have a special responsibility to ensure that the language is protected, supported and nurtured.

“As the City of Edinburgh Council’s Gaelic Champion, I am incredibly proud of the commitment that the Council continues to demonstrate towards Gaelic language and culture.

“We have made great strides since our last Gaelic Language Plan delivering a new GME primary school and expanding Gaelic learning across our schools. We have also worked hard to foster a stronger relationship with the Gaelic community, indeed, without the tireless efforts of the Gaelic Language Plan co-production group this plan would not have been possible.

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“However, the position of Gaelic and everything we have achieved so far remains extremely fragile – we must redouble our efforts and continue our commitment if we are to build on the success we have enjoyed.

“Gaelic pupils have a right to demand the highest possible quality learning experience that any of their English language counterparts might receive in Edinburgh’s schools. We therefore have a duty to ensure that they leave school with a sense of achievement and attainment, as well as confidence and fluency in their Gaelic. So, over the next five years, we need to work hard to improve all aspects of the Council’s offer to Gaelic pupils and further expand provision.

“I would urge everyone to give us their views on the plan so we can deliver more confident, fluent Gaelic speakers, a stronger Gaelic community and a brighter future for this language of Scotland. That is the challenge to which we all must rise.”

Full details of the consultation and engagement are available on the Council website. The final Gaelic Language Plan will come back to the City of Edinburgh Council in early 2018 for approval. It will then run until September 2022.