This News Release is being issued by Comunn na Gàidhlig (CnaG) on behalf of the arliamentary Cross Party Group on Gaelic
The Scottish Parliament’s Cross Party Group on Gaelic is to lend its support to the campaign to secure a dedicated Gaelic school for the Scottish capital.
At a meeting yesterday afternoon (Wednesday 16th March) members of the group agreed to write to Edinburgh City Council supporting moves to establish a stand-alone Gaelic school at Bonnington – one of the options currently being considered by the Council.
The Group heard a submission from a representative of the Edinburgh branch of the Gaelic parents organisation Comunn nam Pàrant which outlined the three options included in the Council’s consultation process: a new stand-alone Gaelic school to be created at Bonnington, within a redeveloped existing building; to develop facilities at Tollcross (where Gaelic Medium Education [GME] is currently provided); and a ‘do nothing’ option.
According to parents options 2 and 3 would very quickly require a cap to be put on numbers of pupils able to take GME.
Members of the Cross Party Group agreed that it was extremely important GME had the opportunity to grow and expand in Edinburgh, and agreed to support the parents’ views. A letter confirming this support is to be send to the Council prior to the end of the consultation period on Monday (21st March).
Group Convener John Farquhar Munro MSP said that parents and pupils in Edinburgh should benefit from the same provision now being offered in other key Scottish towns such as Glasgow and Inverness: “The extent of parental demand for GME is now quite clear, especially where stand-alone Gaelic schools are provided, rather than Gaelic medium units within larger schools.
“We understand the Council is largely supportive of this initiative and as a Group were keen to encourage them to take this next step and to move GME to the next level in Edinburgh.”
This was the last meeting of the Cross Party Group prior to the forthcoming Scottish Parliamentary election in May. Members agreed that it would be important to boost Gaelic’s profile within the new Parliament, and to inform new MSPs of the ongoing development effort.
Because of his retiral as an MSP, and his not standing at the election, this was also John Farquhar Munro’s last meeting as the Cross Party Group’s Convener. Donald MacNeill, chief executive of Comunn na Gàidhlig, and Secretary to the Cross Party Group said that the members were very grateful for the support Mr Munro had provided over the years: “Members were unanimous in expressing their thanks to Mr Munro. They were all of the opinion that the work of the group would not have been anything like as effective without him, and that he deserved particular praise for the support he had given to the Gaelic development effort.”