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Furan sgeul (welcome news) as Gaelic education on the up in Cumbernauld

Written by Scott Campbell.
Published at 16:02 GMT on Wednesday, July 17th, 2013.

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North Lanarkshire Council reported Gaelic education is on the up in Cumbernauld. 

THE popularity of the Scottish Gaelic language appears to be leading a national trend, as the number of kids in Cumbernauld and Kilsyth enrolling in mainstream education, in Gaelic, has increased for the constituency’s primary one pupils.

North Lanarkshire Council has reported a rise in the number of eager youngsters being enrolled into local Gaelic education at Cumbernauld’s Condorrat Primary School.

The authority reported the news as Government-funded body, Bòrd na Gàidhlig (BnG), reported that its National Gaelic Language Plan has failed to hit its targets on increasing mainstream Gaelic education in Scottish primary schools.

BnG had hoped to increase in the number of pupils enrolling in the first year of Gaelic medium primary schools from 400 to 800, by 2017, although figures out this week show the increase is miniscule. 

Statistics show the number of kids being taught in Gaelic from the first year of primary has only increased by 28, or 6 per cent, between last year and now. Although, there has been a 16% increase in number of children in Gaelic education, who are aged between three and five.

Results from the 2001 census show that Scottish Gaelic is a language in decline, with the number of people who classified themselves as speaking it falling by 11% over 10 years to 58,650, which increases to 92,400 if those who listed themselves as having some ability to speak Gaelic are included in the data set.

Since the publication of the statistics North Lanarkshire Council has reported that the Gaelic education unit at Condorrat Primary School has seen an increase in its student population.

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The authority reported that pupil role at the Primary School had increased from 161 to 166, between 2012 and 2013.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig Chief executive John Angus MacKay said: "There is no denying we are aiming high in seeking to double the number of children entering Gaelic-medium education by 2017, but we welcome the challenge as it is the most certain way towards stabilising and growing the number of Gaelic speakers in Scotland.

"We are now beginning to see results in growth in the numbers of children in pre-school and primary Gaelic-medium education. We have also intensified our promotional efforts to encourage Gaelic teacher recruitment and retention," Mr MacKay added.

Minister for Scotland's Languages, Alasdair Allan, added: "The Bòrd has set out clear and ambitious targets for the coming years that will deliver Gaelic events and learning opportunities across Scotland. Recent work has clearly demonstrated the level of interest and the growing demand for Gaelic and shows its role as a vital part of people's everyday lives as well as a lynchpin in our culture and identity."

Following the publication of the statistics, BnG has since reported that 17 organisations across Scotland have agreed on plans to promote Gaelic in their work, including NHS Highland and NHS Western Isles, with Falkirk and North Lanarkshire councils suggested to be supportive of such a measure.

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