A Gaelic learning environment where everyone can use the language naturally in a range of contexts and not just inside the classroom.
- Anne MacPhail, Headteacher
Bun-sgoil Taobh na Pàirce is Edinburgh’s first Gaelic-medium primary and nursery school, and only the 3rd dedicated Gaelic primary school in Scotland. The establishment of Bun-sgoil Taobh na Pàirce provides an exciting opportunity to build on the strong base of exceptional education whilst developing and enhancing the learning environment through the use of Gaelic throughout the school.
With Gaelic being the language of the whole school it is therefore essential we continue this ethos in order for this stated aim to be achieved.
It is important that pupils see Gaelic as more than just a classroom language. As with any minority language, the perceived status and value attached to Gaelic is an important factor influencing retention and use by our young people. Encountering and employing Gaelic in a range of settings, is important both educationally and in bolstering the self esteem of our young Gaelic speakers.
The foremost sociolinguist, Joshua Fishman, emphasised that the more natural the setting, the more effective the transmission. A Gaelic wraparound would clearly form an element of Fishman’s model of support.
Internationally successful, minority language development uses the whole-school, immersion teaching model. The target language is extended to the whole school and to the whole of the pupils’ school day including out of school care. In Wales, wraparound care, Gofal Cofleidiol, is provided as an extension to the school and through Welsh medium. It gives Welsh children the opportunity to play and learn in an environment that is totally focused on Welsh.
In addition, bilingualism is a highly marketable commodity in the jobs market. There are specific posts which require a high level of Gaelic fluency and literacy. Not all posts will require a high level of literacy, but confidence in speaking the language is extremely useful in order to operate and interact in a wide range of situations.
The more we can assist our children in developing their language skills will have benefits to them throughout life’s journey.
As a Gaelic organisation, operating within Bun-sgoil Taobh na Pàirce, it is crucial that Òganan Dhùn Èideann has a strong, clear Language Policy.
Our Language Policy is founded on two clear aims: that Òganan Dhùn Èideann will provide wraparound through the medium of Gaelic and that Òganan Dhùn Èideann itself will serve as an example of good practice in language development as a business that is run entirely though the medium of Gaelic. These two aims combine to create a supportive, cooperative Gaelic community where all staff work together for the good of the language.
To meet these dual aims, a wraparound provider that also runs as a Gaelic business, it is of the utmost importance that all staff members use Gaelic at every opportunity as the normal language of wraparound.
This means that our Language Policy is at the heart of our work. For a copy of our Gaelic Language Policy please speak to the wraparound manager.