Page last updated at 11:38 GMT, Thursday, 15 April 2010 12:38 UK

Gaelic language proposals under scrutiny from MSPs

A young boy studying
Plans for 15% more children every year to go into Gaelic primary schools.

MSPs are debating plans to put education at the heart of the drive to increase the number of Gaelic speakers.

According to the 2001 census only 1.2% of the Scottish population speak the language.

New proposals outline a target of 15% more children going into Gaelic primary schools each year and a major expansion in playgroups and nurseries.

Implementing the plan would not require extra funding but would reallocate £1.5m from existing projects.

The proposals come from Bord Na Gaidhlig which was established as a public body by the Gaelic Language Act 2005.

The organisation's chairman Arthur Cormack suggested that families may need legal rights if the plans are to be implemented and the Scottish government has signalled it is willing to consider legal action.

On discussing the existing National Plan for Gaelic, Mr Cormack said: "It has been held back by the fact it's at the whim of local authorities as to whether they back provisions or not."

On the new action plan, he added: "It will be the case that if there are organisations that aren't delivering or can't deliver we will have to find other ways to deliver what we have to deliver."

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