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Gaelic And Cultural Development In The Region Is Progressing Well

21st November 2019

Highland councillors welcome report which says Gaelic and cultural development in the region is progressing well.

Highland councillors today warmly welcomed Chief Executive Donna Manson's report to the Corporate Resources committee that highlights the progress being made in relation to Gaelic and cultural development in the region.

Highland Councillors on 20 November 2019 were asked to consider and approve the report, which is expected to have a positive impact on Gaelic development in Highland. It implements the actions and key performance indicators in the new Gaelic Language Plan.

Chief Executive, Donna Manson, said: "We are having a complete curriculum review and will be working with national groups and key partners on this. We will continue to set out in more detail in future reports, describing the work ongoing and how we are meeting our strategic aims. It is really pleasing to see the tremendous progress being made in Highland schools. We also welcome all the support we have had recently in all our engagement and activities."

The report highlighted that educational professionals are supported by officers to engage with local and national policy and guidance developments, as part of an ongoing improvement agenda.

Inter-Authority and Inter-Agency work supports the ongoing development of Additional Support Needs resources that equip professionals with the skills and resources to meet individual learning needs. This presently involves the development of a Gaelic reading intervention programme.

Collaboration to support the identification, distribution and development of educational resources that enhance Gaelic education provision remains a core and ongoing priority.

As a national leader in Emerging Literacy, Highland Council seeks to ensure that best practice, where relevant and appropriate, is transferred into Gaelic medium classrooms, further enhancing Gaelic literacy developments; this includes a ‘Gaelic first' approach where possible.

Mechanisms are in place to deliver the high-quality Gaelic learning that children and young people are entitled to, on an ongoing basis. Officers are prepared for timeous engagement with any Gaelic Medium Primary Education Assessment Requests and according to statutory timescales. Primary and Secondary GM Catchment Areas are being formally identified across the Local Authority, as part of an extensive Statutory Consultation exercise and involving all key partners and on an ongoing basis.

Support was provided to the Gaelic Education Officer in the form of Gaelic education development resources, books, school menus, schools debate materials, and a Gaelic careers event was held in October 2019. The ongoing development of bilingual signage also increases the visual presence and raises the profile of Gaelic in schools, the workplace and the wider community.

Feedback from a recent teachers' impact survey showed that most respondents replied showing an increase in confidence with speaking the language, using the Highland Council planners and resources, using songs, games and stories etc. Confidence was also noted as increased with teaching core language and giving out classroom instructions, by most respondents.

Professional feedback continues to be a crucial to improvement processes. Evidence is collated through self-evaluative processes, in collaboration with all Teaching staff, Early Years Practitioners and relevant partners.

The Highland Gaelic Education Audit 2019/20 is presently being prepared for presentation to Key Partners. This process will contribute impact evidence for recent and ongoing Improvement Projects, while also underpinning the next phase of Gaelic Education Improvement Planning; in parallel with local and national priorities.

Engagement with Key Partners has promoted Further Education and career opportunities in Gaelic, including posts that support the expansion of GM Early Learning and Childcare provision.

Highland Council continues to engage in national dialogue regarding the expansion of secondary subjects in GME and how this can be effectively supported within financial and staffing constraints.

The year on year pupil totals in Gaelic education provision in Highland has again increased in four of the five age-groups, compared to the previous year.

In Nursery/Partner Centre numbers are 307 for 2018/19, compared to 287 the previous year. Primary School Pupil numbers are 963 in 18/19, compared to 923 the year before. Second School Pupils Fluent Gaelic are 374 in 2018/19 compared to 341 the previous year. Secondary School Pupils Subjects Through Gaelic is 282 in 18/19 and 259 the year before.

Gaelic Language Plan

Highlnd Council Support Levels for the Mod agreed at Reseources Committee on 20 Novermber 2019. See the report at

https://www.highland.gov.uk/download/meetings/id/76085/item_5b_gaelic_-_support_to_royal_natinal_mod

 

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