Bun-sgoil Taobh na Páirce

With a hat-tip to An Sionnach Fionn, here is a story from STV about the official opening of Edinburgh's first Gaelic-medium school.

First dedicated Gaelic school in Edinburgh officially opened


Bun-sgoil Taobh na Páirce has 30 Gaelic speaking staff teaching 213 pupils – 53 of them who started school for the first time this year. It has been built on the site of the former Bonnington Primary School in Leith and replaces the Gaelic Medium Education Unit at Tollcross Primary School. Dr Alasdair Allan, minister for learning, science and Scotland’s languages, officially opened the school on Wednesday.

Headteacher Anne MacPhail, said: "I’m very proud to be leading the school into a historic new era for Gaelic in the city. The local Leith community have been very welcoming since we moved in and I’m really looking forward to building on the successes of our first few weeks."

The primary school, which is open to anyone who wants to send their children there, has been funded by the Scottish Government and the City of Edinburgh Council.

Dr Allan said: "It’s a privilege to be here today to officially open Bun-sgoil Taobh na Páirce, Edinburgh’s first dedicated Gaelic school. This school, and others like it, will help ensure that Gaelic continues to be a vibrant part of our culture, immersing pupils and staff in the language and allowing them to carry it with them throughout their lives. Our efforts to encourage a new generation of Gaelic speakers and teachers is already showing encouraging results – as we’ve seen by the 12 per cent rise in pupils entering P1 this year – and the launch of City of Edinburgh Council’s Gaelic Language Plan will mean that its work to promote the language will reach even more people."

STV News, 25 September 2013

It's very good news. And I have to say that I admire the bravery of those four young girls for not running away while a live haggis was half-squeezed to death during the celebrations. The scourge of the pipes can be a bit of an ordeal. But I understand that it was released back into the wild afterwards, and is expected to make a full recovery.

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donnagreen said...

This actually looked a positive article until it had to be spoiled by the puerile and offensive quip at the end about the bagpipes. Very disappointing to see on the website of a country which also has a strong musical heritage and shares many similarities with Scotland. Really, you couldn't conclude this piece in a better way?

MH said...

Sorry that you were offended, Donna, but don't you think the picture looks a little bit strained?

Anonymous said...

"30 Gaelic speaking staff teaching 213 pupils"

That's a pretty impressive staff to pupil ratio!

Anonymous said...

It is surprising how many staff work in schools once you add in teaching assistants, cooks, caretakers, office staff and cleaners. They may also not be FTE. Usually with a new school you have a higher proportion of teachers/ staff to pupils to set up systems and provide the curriculum support. When the school gets to full capacity this evens out.

MH said...

I'm inclined to agree that the figure must include more than the teaching staff. However it might be worth noting that not all the non-teaching staff need to speak Gaelic; the secretary/receptionists would, but not necessarily the cooks, caretakers and cleaners, especially if they have no direct contact with the children. This is very often the case in Welsh-medium schools in the more Anglicized parts of Wales.

An intake of 53 this year does indicate that the school is going to grow to fill the new premises fairly quickly.

The question I always ask myself whenever a new Welsh-medium school is opened is where the next one is going to be. Opening WM schools is a response to parental demand, but as well as this it actually creates more demand.

I believe that minority language education is by far the most effective way of reversing language shift. The census figures for Gaelic in Scotland are still very fragile, so keep on campaigning for more Gaelic-medium schools, across the whole of Scotland.

Anonymous said...

I guess you would agree it would be better to have Welsh speaking cooks and caretakers so that young people, especially in Anglicized areas see that the language is not just used in the context of the classroom and learning and is a living entity.

MH said...

Yes, of course it would be better, but it isn't strictly necessary. I'd never want a lack of Welsh-speaking dinner ladies and cleaners to stand in the way of opening a new WM school ... and I'm sure you wouldn't either, 22:07.

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