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'Scandalous' failure to find Gaelic teachers

ONLY one new language teacher was registered last year by the Scottish Government's Gaelic quango, despite thousands being spent on a recruitment drive.

Now the Bord na Gaidhlig is to launch a fresh campaign to persuade trainees and qualified staff to learn the language.

The Scottish Government's current National Gaelic Language plan has a target of doubling the number of children taught in the language from 400 to 800 by 2017.

The Bord - which has a budget of £5.1 million - admits it will be hard pressed to meet the target without more teachers.

Yesterday, Highlands and Islands Councillor John Rosie said: "The public who pay the bills for this are absolutely disgusted at the amount of money that is thrown at Gaelic.

"Bord na Gaidhlig are particularly unsuccessful. With the amount of money they spend they have little to show for it. It is really scandalous how they throw cash about." He added: "We don't have the money."

The Bord disclosed yesterday that in 2012-13 only one new teacher has registered as a Gaelic teacher, taking the number in primary up to 165. The number of secondary teachers remains unchanged at 88. Twenty-five students are being trained - also an increase of just one over the past 12 months.

There are now plans to re-advertise, and spend £20,000 on designing a new campaign.

The Bord said in a tender document: "Bord na Gaidhlig has run an excellent teacher recruitment campaign over the last three years. We wish to completely re-design this campaign with a fresh new look and run the brand throughout print advertising, TV advertising, online advertising and an interactive website."

Last year, the Bord announced a major drive to lure education staff with extra cash, making grants of £1000 available plus "top-up support" of up to £4000.

In the past two years a total of £80,000 has been paid out to individual through direct funding.

The SNP also announced plans to spend up to £125,000 on a Gaelic immersion course to recruit more teachers, while they receive a full salary of up to £35,000.

But figures for this year show the number of children starting primary one Gaelic-medium education increased by 28 during 2012-13 to 428.

Labour councillor Deirdre Mackay of Highland Council said: "My concern is much more for the development of modern languages. We live in a global economy and the world is now a village, and currently our young people cannot compete on the same stage as their counterparts from elsewhere in the world.

"Business is crying out for skilled Scottish youngsters with Spanish, Portuguese, Cantonese. If we look at our emerging economies we need our young people to be in there and we are not providing them with the right linguistic skills."

Bord na Gaidhlig chief John Angus MacKay said: 'There is a need to strengthen the infrastructure of Gaelic education and learning by supporting the recruitment of a confident, appropriately trained workforce in order to service the expansion of Gaelic education."

Contextual targeting label: 
Education

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