The latest consultation outcome...
We Asked, You Said, We Did
The Comhairle’s draft Gaelic Language Plan 2022-2027
We asked the public to submit any comments to us in relation to the draft Gaelic Language Plan for 2022-2027, which would be considered before submitting the final draft of the Plan to Bòrd na Gàidhlig for approval.
The draft Plan was generally very well received by those who took part in the consultation. The following general comments about the Plan were typical:
- “The plan looks very solid, and appropriately ambitious. Some excellent aspirations, and indeed essential ones.”
- “[We welcome] the commitments in this draft Gaelic Language Plan, the 4th iteration from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. We recognise the importance of the Gaelic speaking communities in the Western Isles to the future survival of Gaelic and support all efforts to maintain these communities.”
In terms of specific actions and commitments in the draft Plan, the following were viewed as most important in the responses received:
- Early Years Officers liaising with parents and prospective parents on the benefits of Gaelic medium education (GME) for children;
- Establishing concrete targets linked to Gaelic medium enrolment;
- The piloting of a Gaelic medium immersion centre;
- Creating a stronger Gaelic ethos in schools;
- Examining the merits of Gaelic standalone schools in the Western Isles;
- Expanding the range of school subjects delivered through Gaelic;
- Continuing to develop the Gaelic curriculum offer for Primary and Secondary pupils available through e-Sgoil;
- Reviewing the range of subjects offered in GME, to include more practical or vocational subjects;
- Developing of important services such as speech therapy for Gaelic pupils;
- Making Gaelic extra-curricular activities more readily available for pupils in order to support their Gaelic learning;
- Facilitating equity of access to Gaelic SQA qualifications;
- Expanding Gaelic learning opportunities for adults, which supports Gaelic learning for their children;
- Creating more Gaelic essential jobs;
- Linking the Gaelic Plan to other local improvement strategies, such as creating more affordable housing and improving broadband in Gaelic communities;
- Liaising with schools, local employers and UHI OH to ensure that there is a common understanding with regard to the need to link language and local economic opportunity in the curriculum;
- Working to increase applications for foundation and modern apprenticeships, and local College and University courses, particularly those connected to key growth sectors, such as tourism, food and drink, creative industries, business services, energy, construction.
The final Plan will be available once it has been formally assessed by Bòrd na Gàidhlig in 2023. The results of the consultation process will be available as “Appendix B” to the Plan.
The following amendments were made to the draft Plan as a result of suggestions made in the consultation process:
- We included mention of co-operation with other organisations to promote GME to parents and prospective parents, whenever possible (p.18);
In addition to monitoring GME dropout rates in primary schools, we included a commitment to carrying out annual surveys on the reasons why some parents choose to enrol their children in English medium education rather than GME (p.24);
- In addition to continuing to develop partnerships with other educative bodies and social enterprise agencies to develop the Gaelic curriculum offer, we included mention of co-operation with arts centres to progress this (p.27);
- We included reference to the Great Place Project, Dualchas do Dhaoine 2021-2031(p.41) in terms of co-operating with agencies to increase Gaelic-related arts and heritage activity in the Isles;
- We included reference to Comann Dualchas Innse Gall/ the Outer Hebrides Heritage Forum (p.41) in terms of co-operating with agencies to increase Gaelic-related arts and heritage activity in the Isles.
We Did Not Do
Some suggestions made during the consultation, which although positive, were either outwith the scope of the draft Plan, or were contrary to Comhairle policy at this time. This included the following:
- Exploring investment opportunities for media and housing/flats in Stornoway’s industrial area, to expand the services BBC Alba can offer;
- To commit to consulting with parents across the Isles on the option of standalone Gaelic schools in the Isles within the lifetime of the Plan;
- All Education posts in the Western Isles should be advertised either as Gaelic essential or Gaelic desirable.