This time last year Glasgow’s new Gaelic School threw open its doors, marking an exciting new era in Gaelic-medium education in Scotland. Twelve months on, and the success story continues apace in the city. Parents from in and around Glasgow have enrolled their children in record numbers at Glasgow’s Gaelic schools: Three nurseries*; the Primary and Secondary Departments in the Gaelic School at Woodside; and the Gaelic Unit at Hillpark Secondary.
The parents’ group that promotes Gaelic-medium education (GME) is delighted with the increases: 75 more children in GME this year, compared with last. “More and more parents are waking up to the benefits of this type of education. Children thrive in the environment, where Gaelic is all around them, and with its high standards of teaching,” said Mary Galbraith, the convener of Comann nam Pàrant in Glasgow.
Overall the roll in Gaelic-medium education is up an astounding 19% in Glasgow. Numbers in GME are on the increase in Scotland as a whole, with Glasgow making a major contribution to this highly positive state of affairs. This contrasts sharply with a decline in general education enrolments across Scotland, where school rolls are down each year, by as much as 5% in some Council areas.
The key details in Glasgow are:
- The primary roll – where the bulk of Gaelic-medium education takes place – is up 14%, with a total roll of 253 in the Sgoil Ghàidhlig Ghlaschu (Glasgow Gaelic School) primary department. This year's P1 intake is 50, compared with 48 last year - one of the highest in the city.
- Nursery numbers – the foundation on which future intakes are built - up 22% overall, and increasing in each of the city’s three Gaelic nurseries.
- Secondary roll – until 2011 split between both the new school and Hillpark Secondary on the south side – an increase of 32%. Two factors help to explain this significant increase:
- 100% of the last session’s primary 7 pupils transfer into S1 in the new school. In the past, some children would not continue in GME when they moved to high school; however the new all-Gaelic Secondary is helping to retain children in GME for their secondary education.
- 25% of the new S1 intake is coming from other local authorities. There are children enrolling at the new secondary school who come from East Kilbride, Cumbernauld, Greenock and Kilmarnock, and this trend – which started last year – looks set to last.
“The new 3 to 18 school certainly gives lots of parents confidence in Gaelic education”, added Seán Gallagher, Chair of the School Board, “and it is a great demonstration of Glasgow City Council’s commitment to Gaelic, and to our children’s education”.