Gaelic Medium Education
The Comhairle’s Bilingual Policy
Since the inception of the Council in 1975, Gaelic has been promoted in many ways and a bilingual policy has been in place since its inception.
In October 2004, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar their revised bilingual policy. The overall aim of the policy is that the Western Isles should be a bilingual community in which Gaelic and English have equal validity as the languages of communication.
As Convenor Alex MacDonald explained at the time of the launch: "The policy targets some of the key issues which appear in the Gaelic Language Bill as amended by the Scottish Executive, and we anticipate it will dovetail into the National Policy for Gaelic. I am particularly pleased that Gaelic Medium Education has gained a higher profile in the amended Bill and that Bòrd na Gàidhlig have been awarded more powers which will help them in their efforts to give Gaelic a higher national profile. Comhairle nan Eilean Siar view Gaelic Medium Education as central to any regeneration of the language and we hope that the aims set out in the policy will be fulfilled. It is the Comhairle's aim to work closely with Bòrd na Gàidhlig in carrying out our agreed objectives and our participation in the Western Isles Gaelic Language Plan highlights this".
The Comhairle’s Gaelic Language Plan 2019-22
The Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005 came into force on the 13th February 2006. The Act established the statutory, non-departmental, Gaelic body, Bòrd na Gàidhlig, which is charged with preparing a National Plan for Gaelic. In January 2008 Comhairle nan Eilean Siar officially launched their Language Plan.
The main objectives of the Plan are:
- Enhance the status of Gaelic;
- Promote the acquisition and learning of Gaelic; and;
- Encourage the increased use of Gaelic.
Gaelic Language Plan Implementation Committee
The Comhairle’s Gaelic Language Plan Implementation Committee was established in February 2008 and the main aim of the Committee is to implement the Plan, not only within the Comhairle but within the wider community. As Councillor Agnes Rennie, Chair of the Committee explained: “Sgioba na Gàidhlig will have responsibility for developing, implementing and auditing the Plan, and the Committee will have responsibility in ensuring that the Comhairle meet the targets of the Plan. We are also offering funding for Gaelic projects which fulfil the targets of the National Plan for Gaelic and the Comhairle’s Gaelic Plan.
- MR JOHN A MACIVER (CHAIRMAN)
- MR ALASDAIR MACLEOD (VICE-CHAIRMAN)
- MR CALUM MACMILLAN
- MR DONALD MANFORD
- MR UISDEAN ROBERTSON
- MR RODDY MACKAY
- MR FINLAY CUNNINGHAM
- MR NORMAN A MACDONALD
- MR GORDON MURRAY
- MR DONALD CRICHTON
- MR JOHN MACKAY
- MR KENNETH MACLEOD