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Edinburgh opens first dedicated Gaelic school

Annabella Stephen, Ella McGuire, Jessie McGuire and Mairi McLuskey accompanied by piper Alasdair Morrison. Picture: Esme Allen

Annabella Stephen, Ella McGuire, Jessie McGuire and Mairi McLuskey accompanied by piper Alasdair Morrison. Picture: Esme Allen

  • by CLAIRE BAILLIE
 

THE opening of Edinburgh’s first dedicated Gaelic school has been hailed as a “landmark day” for the capital.

A total of 213 pupils, including 53 primary one youngsters, have enrolled for the new school, where lessons will be taught entirely in Gaelic.

Bun-sgoil Taobh na Pairce has been developed on the site of the old Bonnington primary school in Leith.

The school, which has 30 Gaelic-speaking staff, replaces the Gaelic medium education unit that had been based in the capital’s Tollcross primary since 1982.

Alasdair Allan, minister for learning and Scotland’s languages, said: “This is an exciting day as Bun-sgoil Taobh na Pairce pupils get into their new school for the first time.

“A lot of work has gone into reaching this landmark day and I would like to congratulate the staff and pupils, and wish them all the very best for the coming terms.

“I look forward to visiting again in September when they will have had a chance to settle in.”

Councillor Paul Godzik, education convener at the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “The opening of Bun-sgoil Taobh na Pairce demonstrates the council’s long-standing support for the development of the Gaelic language.

“I hope the pupils and teachers enjoy their new school, which is a really exciting development.”

Councillor Deidre Brock, Gaelic spokeswoman for the authority’s ruling Labour/SNP coalition, said the school was “a vitally important step forward for this indigenous language of Scotland”.

Head teacher Anne MacPhail, said: “It was a real joy to see all the excited faces of the children as they came into the school for the first time today.

“The opening of the new school is a significant commitment to the future of Gaelic language in the city and I’m really looking forward to working with our pupils, staff and parents to ensure the school is a success.”

 

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