Renfrewshire Council are set to teach early stage Gaelic from a school in Paisley.

Gaelic Medium Primary Education (GMPE) is an option within Scottish education that gives children an opportunity to become fluent in Gaelic at primary school level.

Currently there is no provision in Renfrewshire and the local authority transports 33 resident children to neighbouring Glasgow and Inverclyde to access Gaelic education.

Long term benefits would be bilingualism, speaking both English and Gaelic. It won’t be possible to have entry points for older children unless they have already been in Gaelic immersion education.

The new unit has been created in response to long-term requests from several families seeking Gaelic education for their children.

The first GMPE intake would be August 2022 and is only open to children due to enter primary education (primary 1). The unit will be based within West Primary School and any pupils enrolled in GMPE in Renfrewshire catchment area would go there.

A fluent Gaelic-speaking Principal Teacher will be hired to develop the Unit.

Currently, there are 6 parents interested in placing their children within the Renfrewshire Council area and the provision will grow from Primary 1 stage.

In GMPE there is an initial focus on learning Gaelic, until children become fluent enough in the language to enable its use across all subjects and aspects of learning. The entire curriculum is taught through the medium of Gaelic.

Councillor Kenny MacLaren, SNP – Paisley Northwest, said: This is an excellent move which, over time, will encourage more parents to send their children to study in Gaelic.

“As one of the local councillors for West Primary School, I am delighted that this school has been chosen as the base for Gaelic Medium Primary Education in Renfrewshire.

“Gaelic Medium Primary Education gives children an opportunity to learn Gaelic through their normal schoolwork as their classes are delivered in Gaelic and they absorb Gaelic along with their learning. The linguistic benefits of bilingualism are well documented.

“I have an interest in this subject due to one of my brothers who couldn’t enrol his children for GMPE in Renfrewshire and they had to travel each day into Glasgow to receive their education, so it is great that the council is now offering this locally.

“Recruitment is planned for a fluent Gaelic-speaking Principal Teacher to develop the Unit, supported by the Leadership Team. Proposals to recruit additional staff are in development and external funding through Bòrd na Gàidhlig is being targeted.”

The provision will be announced and discussed in the upcoming Education and Children’s Services Policy Board at Renfrewshire House on Thursday.

Photo Credit: Hermann Traub / Pixabay

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