SCOTLAND'S first Gaelic campus to teach children from the age of three to 18 opened yesterday.
The 4 million Sgoil Ghaidhlig Ghlaschu (Glasgow Gaelic School) allows pupils for the first time to have their entire education - from nursery to secondary - delivered through the medium of Gaelic. The school, in the west end, is on the site of Woodside Secondary School, which closed in 1999.
It replaces a Gaelic primary and nursery school in Ashley Street, which opened in 1999 and the Gaelic unit at Hillpark Secondary, which has been running since 1987. About 320 students will attend the school, though in the first year the secondary section will cater for only 22 S1 and S2 pupils.
Glasgow City Council called the opening "a wonderful development in Gaelic education provision". The school's head-teacher, Donalda McComb, said she was "very proud" to be chosen to run the "first three-to-18 school". She continued: "I've worked long and hard in all my teaching career to be involved in Gaelic-medium education and it's just amazing that we're at this stage."
Campaigners for the establishment of such institutions have pointed to the fact that the original Gaelic primary school scored above the Glasgow and national attainment averages and was in the top socio-economic grouping in the city, based on free school meal entitlement.
Describing the opening as "historic", Donald Martin, head of the Gaelic development agency Comunn na Gaidhlig, said it would bolster other similar projects. "It's obviously a very historic, significant development and those who have been campaigning for the combined Gaelic school over the years are to be congratulated," he said.
"It also provides an example to other parts of Scotland, for instance Inverness, where there's a Gaelic primary school being built. There's also pre-school provision."