Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Friday 12 October 2012

Gaelic school in Inverness cannot find head that speaks the language

There was an interesting article in the Daily Telegraph yesterday (Friday) about the repeated difficulty a primary school in Inverness, set up specifically (with Scottish Executive [aka 'Government']) money, in other words our taxes, has had in recruiting a head teacher who actually speaks Gaelic. Basically the idea is that if a new generation of Scots can be educated (aka 'brain-washed') using this moribund, if not actually 'dead' language as their main means of communication, then the language won't actually die out completely in a new generation. The fact they have had to employ someone who is not a Gaelic speaker, and not even a Scot, but a Swede (and lovely people the Swedes are, I have absolutely no criticism of the person employed, nor of course of her home country), reveals just how artificial this whole project is. Far better to educate these children in English and give them a fighting chance of a decent future, rather than try to make them pawns in some ludicrous project to resurrect a language that is on its last legs.

If people wish to use Gaelic as a means of communication I have absolutely no objection and wish them the best of luck, just to be clear, but I do think that it is, ahem, 'short-sighted' and not to put too fine a point on it not in the children's own best interests to foist a little-used language upon them for quasi political purposes.


  1. Firstly - Yes the school was set up with 'my tax payers money'. And what of it? There is no additional cost to the education of the kids at the school and a school would have had to have been built anyway to accomodate the kids in the area. I note you don't mention the cost of new schools in Dingwall, Millburn or Milton of Leys. All funded by the tax payer.

    Brainwashed - Seriously? I'm astonished that you think that it's acceptable to use this kind of rhetoric. I am not brainwashing my daughter (who is a P7 pupil at the school). I grew up speaking Gaelic and was educated in GME and am certainly not brainwashed! Neither is it 'foisted' and there is certainly no political purpose behind it.

    Whilst admittedly the language is not in great health it is definitely not dead. I use it daily, as do many of my friends, friends and colleagues.

    You seem to be under the impression that GME in some way hinders kid's education. It doesn't. It has been well documented that bilingual education has a positive impact rather than a negative impact on their schooling. Grades are on average higher than those taught in only one language. There's plenty evidence out there to back this up if you'd care to look for it.

    The current acting Head was employed not because she was Swedish but because she was qualified to take on the post. She has taught in the Inverness area for some years now and was a Head Teacher elsewhere before taking on the post. The simple fact is that there is a national shortage of head teachers and this isn't just causing issues for BSGI.

    If anything I think it's a great advert for Gaelic that someone with little knowledge of the language can come in and still run a sucessful school.

  2. Hi Toby

    Thanks for your interesting comments.

    You don't actually dispute ANY of the basic facts mentioned in the 'Telegraph' article nor in my article commenting on it.

    I'm glad you are happy with the educational opportunities your daughter has available to her and I certainly hope that in her future life she will be successful in whatever it is that she chooses to do.

    Let's see how things develop in coming months and years, but for now I don't see any particular reason to resile from any part of what I wrote and can assure you that I will continue to write on these matters as may become necessary.

    There is room for all sorts of voices on this and other matters. I have published your comments here so will leave it to other visitors to draw their own conclusions.

    Thanks again for your comments.


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