Non-Gaelic speaker to be headteacher of Gaelic school

The school in Inverness. Picture: Google
The school in Inverness. Picture: Google
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A non-Gaelic speaking Swede is set to be appointed as headteacher of Highland Council’s flagship Gaelic school in Inverness – much to the anger of parents.

Annika Jansson, the current acting head, is the sole candidate for the post at the £4million school when the interview process takes place next week.

She was appointed to the interim role at the 155-pupils school in August 2010.

The local authority has advertised the headteacher’s post a number of times without success, resulting in the mandatory condition that applicants should be fluent in Gaelic being lifted.

Mary MacMillan, head of education and learning for the government’s Gaelic advisers Bord na Gaidhlig, said: “We believe a Gaelic-speaking headteacher is essential to the development and status of Gaelic language in a Gaelic school.”

Dawn Morgan, chairwoman of the Gaelic school parent body Comann nam Parent, said such a long-term appointment would undermine the council’s claim that the school in an all-Gaelic school.

Councillor Alasdair Christie, chairman of the council’s adult and children’s services committee, said there was “no evidence” the appointment of a non-Gaelic speaker could damage pupils’ learing, adding: “The headteacher is not a class-facing role, it is a managerial role and if a non-fluent Gaelic-speaking headteacher is appointed the council will put in place measures and processes to ensure the school continues to have the correct ethos.”