PLANS for new legislation to expand Gaelic education will create unrealistic expectations from parents, councils have warned.

Cosla, the umbrella body for local authorities, said a lack of Gaelic teachers and scarcity of funding would make it impossible to meet the expected growth in demand.

The warning came in a submission to a Scottish Government's consultation on its proposed new Education (Scotland) Bill which introduces a requirement for local authorities and ministers to report to how they are closing the attainment gap between rich and poor.

The Bill also includes provisions to promote Gaelic Medium Education (GME), ensure all teachers working in independent schools are registered with the General Teaching Council Scotland, improve the process for dealing with complaints about councils and schools and create a chief education officer post in local authorities.

There has already been a sharp increase in GME across Scotland with more than 3000 pupils in 2012/13 compared to just 24 in 1985.

However, the 2013 National Gaelic Medium Teacher Education Strategy, which sets out priorities until 2016, has already highlighted a lack of teachers.

The Cosla submission states: "Cosla has discussed GME provision..... with our members and the lack of Gaelic language teachers has consistently arisen as a key issue. The availability of staff is a major barrier to provision and we aware that some councils have had unfilled vacancies for a long period.

"We know the Scottish Government has indicated that they want to increase the number of qualified Gaelic language teachers, but the shortages are being felt now, even before GME provision is potentially expanded as a result of the Bill.

"It is a concern, therefore, that teacher training and the ability of councils to recruit teachers will not be able to match the demand from parents."

The submission said councils were concerned the Bill would generate demand for faster growth in GME provision "than is possible to deliver with the available resources".

It adds: "In summary, we are concerned that due to the lack of available Gaelic language teachers and the lack of funding for increased provision local authorities may not be able to meet parental expectations which will be raised by the Bill."

Cosla also criticised other aspects of the Bill, including the appointment of new chief education officers and a requirement to report to government on progress.

The submission states: "For some good reasons we remain to be convinced by the need for a chief education officer. So far Scottish Government have failed to develop a convincing business case or rationale for the post and have rushed to implement a proposal that will have negligible educational impact.

"We have never argued that Parliament and Scottish Government do not have a crucial interest in how well children are educated.

"Where we do have an issue is that ministers should be able to hold to account locally elected members over the detail of how service are delivered, and should be able to demand wide ranging reports on all aspects of how councils are tackling poor attainment."

Launching the Bill in March, Education Secretary Angela Constance said the proposals underlined the government's determination to give every child the best chance to succeed in life.

She said: "Tackling educational inequality is at the heart of this Government's work and our Bill underlines our expectations of local councils in the process of addressing educational inequality."