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Thursday, 17 February, 2000, 14:14 GMT
Anger over Gaelic school snub

Parents protest Parents protested outside the council meeting


Parents' calls for a Gaelic-only school in Edinburgh have been turned down by city councillors.

Only one school in Edinburgh has a unit which teaches the language.

Dedicated Gaelic schools are in Glasgow and the Western Isles. Another is planned for Inverness.

Most parents of pupils in the Gaelic-medium unit at Tollcross Primary want it turned into a school, but the council's education committee turned down the plan for at least another two years.

Potential demand

A report to the councillors suggested the total potential demand would amount to 65 pupils. The director of education said 100 were needed to make a school viable.

It was recommended that a Gaelic Advisory Group should be set up to develop language provision.

The move infuriated campaigners. Dr Rob O'Maolalaigh, convener of Comann nam Parant, the Gaelic Parents' support group in Edinburgh and the Lothians, said: "I do not come from a Gaelic background, yet I have children receiving Gaelic medium education.

Children's work Gaelic would be the only language for teaching
"In Edinburgh, children in GM education come from Scottish, English, Irish, Japanese, African, Spanish and German backgrounds.

"So why would parents with no Gaelic background send their children to a GM school?

"Their children will have the same education as all other Scottish children, but they will have two languages instead of one; they will have access to two cultures, not one."

Government grant

The Glasgow Gaelic School, catering for 109 pupils aged from five to 12, was opened last year.

The first of its kind in Scotland, it received a 250,000 Scottish Executive grant.

All members of staff, including the school's secretary and janitor, are fluent in the language.

Children learn all subjects in Gaelic, but are taught English as a second language from the age of seven.

There are a total of 34 small Gaelic-medium units scattered across Scotland, teaching pupils in the language as part of conventional primary schools, as well as a number of nursery units.

There are estimated to be between 75,000 and 100,000 Gaelic speakers in Scotland.
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See also:
05 Feb 99 |  Education
Go-ahead for first all-Gaelic school
27 Jul 98 |  Education
Boost for Gaelic education
28 Jul 98 |  Education
Wilson backs Gaelic learning centre

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