£20k campaign produces one extra Gaelic teacher

A fresh recruitment drive for Gaelic teachers in Scotland has been launched as Gaelic quango Bord na Gaidhlig seek new blood. Picture: Getty
A fresh recruitment drive for Gaelic teachers in Scotland has been launched as Gaelic quango Bord na Gaidhlig seek new blood. Picture: Getty
Share this article
Have your say

A MAJOR new recruitment drive has been launched to attract more Gaelic teachers into Scotland’s education system – as the number of registered teachers rose by only one in the last year.

A £20,000 advertising campaign promoted by the government’s Gaelic quango Bòrd na Gàidhlig aims to find new teachers and help teachers who may wish to transfer their skills from mainstream schools.

The organisation insists it has been succeeding in attracting more people to train in the medium, and says it takes time for those in the system to qualify.

At the same time, it says that while they wait for probationary students to graduate, more ageing teachers are retiring.

However, the Bòrd said it accepted more needs to be done to meet the teaching needs of the growing pupil rolls in Gaelic, resulting in the new campaign.

The number of Gaelic-medium teachers has risen from 164 in 2011-12 at primary schools to just 165 in 2012-13. The number of secondary teachers remains unchanged at 88.

The Bòrd said this did not mean only one new teacher was hired, but that a larger number have become registered at the same time as others have left the service.

The Scottish Government’s current national Gaelic language plan has a target of doubling the number of children taught in the language from 400 to 800 by 2017.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig chief executive John Angus MacKay said: “Bòrd na Gàidhlig does not register teachers, we encourage and support them. It takes years to train teachers, pass them through the probationary system and secure registration. In the meantime, older teachers retire.

“There is a significant increase in the numbers of students in Gaelic teacher education in the last four years – from 12 in 2010-11 to 24, 25, 28 between 2011-12 and 2013-14.

“This is indicative of the interest generated by Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s promotions highlighting career opportunities and incentives to students, investments in people. These are relatively recent developments which are beginning to show results.

“Courses are available to those who wish to enter teaching, or to transfer to teaching Gaelic or through the medium of Gaelic.”

However, Labour councillor Deirdre Mackay, leader of the Caithness and Sutherland area committee on the Highland Council, said: “My concern is much more for the development of modern languages.

“We live in a global economy and the world is now a village, and currently our young people cannot compete on the same stage as their counterparts from elsewhere in the world.

“Business is crying out for Scottish youngsters with Spanish, Portuguese and Cantonese.”