Gaelic education: 'The city has no historic Gaelic culture'

PLOUGHING more than £1 million extra into Gaelic medium schooling in the Capital is likely to prove controversial during these financially-straitened times.

For every city parent who welcomes the move, several more will question its value – especially those who have seen their own child's school closed down, class sizes rise, or staff numbers and the choice of subjects cut back.

Of course, the general principle should usually be to take the lead from what parents want.

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And it is clear that the existing provision at Tollcross Primary and James Gillespie's cannot accommodate all those youngsters who want to be taught in Gaelic.

Questions still remain, though, about whether this is the best way forward at a time when investment in education is being spread so thin.

For a start, meeting this particular demand comes with a pretty hefty price tag. Even the cheapest option would cost more than 1m in the first year, while another also requires the writing off of a potential 1m windfall from the sale of property.

The council is seeking additional funding from the Scottish Government, but most of the cost will come out of the city's existing budget.

There is no doubt that immersing a child in another language can be good for them. Widespread research shows it can help their progress across the board.

But there is no shortage of education and business experts who would argue that learning Mandarin would be more useful than Gaelic.

While budget cuts force high schools and primaries across the city to reassess what they can do for their pupils, there seems little wisdom of setting up a Gaelic medium school in a city which has no historic Gaelic culture.

Tripped up again

WHEN the News launched its daily Get It Sorted! slot we knew it would get up the noses of those in authority.

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The council, for one, tells us that it sometimes takes a while to fix things because its priorities are not the same as those of our readers.

That presumably explains why today we mark a dismal 100 days since we first highlighted a cracked pavement in East Craigs which one local feared was a trip hazard.

In other words, it's exactly the kind of problem ordinary council tax- payers want to get sorted. And we'll keep up the pressure until it is.