A major drive to attract more pre-school children to Gaelic medium education was launched at the Royal National Mod in Inverness today
The Scottish Government is giving £50,000 of additional support to national Gaelic agency Bòrd na Gàidhlig for its forthcoming education marketing campaign.
This money will be used to support the promotion of Gaelic medium education in three Highland and island locations and two further south. The are the Western Isles, Dingwall, Tain as well as Perth and Stirling.
Over the past two years the bord’s education and corporate teams have worked together to create marketing campaigns which raise awareness amongst parents of the benefits of bilingualism, and encourage them to take advantage of Gaelic-medium education for their children.
The campaigns have been generic in some cases and targeted in others. The bòrd is now proposing to widen the scope of these initiatives to mount promotions in five areas where Gaelic-medium education is being provided, and where there is evident scope to grow numbers in schools with the capacity to enrol more children to Gaelic-medium education.
The focus of these new initiatives will be increasing the numbers of children in Gaelic medium pre-school with a view to transferring to Gaelic medium in Primary 1.
Minister for Gaelic, Dr Alasdair Allan said: “We are very pleased to be able to support the bòrd on such a worth while campaign. It is important that the message of the benefits of bilingualism and Gaelic-medium education is promoted to the parents of young children where they can be accessed in Scotland.
The bòrd have used new and innovative ways to market Scotland’s ‘hidden secret’ over the last two years, such as advertising in the underground system in Glasgow, the use of billboards and also television advertising, and they have proved very successful. I look forward to seeing the new campaign up and running in these new targeted areas.”
Bòrd na Gàidhlig chief executive, John Angus MacKay said: “The generic campaigns have raised awareness of Gaelic, bilingualism and Gaelic-medium education; the targeted campaigns have been successful in drawing attention to the locations of existing and future school provision of Gaelic medium education, for example Meadowburn School in Bishopbriggs and the Gaelic-medium Primary school currently under construction in Fort William.
“As a result, steady growth has been evident in the numbers of children entering P1 Gaelic medium education.”
The figures are 2011/12 – 406; 2012/13 – 428; 2013/14 – 486. It is expected that the 2014/15 will show numbers surpassing 540.
He added: “We are grateful to the Scottish Government for this additional support to help improve and expand upon our marketing campaigns.”