How curious that Joe Darby, while acknowledging that Gaelic needs “positive public backing”, along with Scots, still sees Gaelic immersion schools as a problem, despite the fact that they need cost no more than English immersion schools.
Oh, yes – there’s the cost of transport. But transport is surely an issue in every rural area in Scotland. My own daughter travels 15 miles to school every day, as do many of her classmates.
And, far from “locking out” other languages, I would urge the Gaelic schools to introduce third, or fourth, languages – say German and Bengali – at the earliest stage possible.
After all, a study of French immersion schooling in Canada, some years ago, recorded “enhanced cognitive plasticity” among its beneficiaries.
So, if our bilingual children have that built-in advantage, it is surely there to be built on. Let’s see it as not a problem but an opportunity.