Pollokshields goes Gaelic

POLLOKSHIELDS will be home to Glasgow’s second Gaelic school following an £800,000 investment from the Scottish government.

Plans for a new facility were unveiled last week, with the new Gaelic Medium Education primary school to be incorporated into the Glendale campus on McCulloch Street.

At present, one per cent of young Scots are learning Scotland’s Celtic language, lagging behind Ireland, which has seven per cent of children learning its other tongue, and Wales on 21 per cent.

A 2001 census showed that more than 92,000 people in Scotland – just under two per cent of the population – spoke some of the language, and almost half of these lived in in the north.

The new school is part of a plan to revitalise the Gaelic tongue, with Holyrood pledging to double the number of five-year-olds going into classes for the language in the next five years – and the focus on extending the language into the lowlands.

Alastair Allan, minister for learning, science and Scotland’s languages, said: “The continued increase in demand for Gaelic medium education in Glasgow clearly demonstrates that parents are not only recognising the impressive learning benefits that come with a bilingual education, but that we are securing a sustainable and vibrant future for the language in future generations.

“I am delighted to announce this latest funding and look forward to work beginning on the school to create an environment that will inspire pupils and school staff throughout their time there.”

The southside school joins the Glasgow Gaelic school in Finnieston, which opened in 2006 and now caters to 750 pupils from all over Scotland, ranging in age from nursery to secondary level.

Stephen Curran, Glasgow city council’s executive member for education and young people, commented the investment was “very welcome”, and, along with funding from GCC, would “create opportunities for over 200 Gaelic-speaking pupils”.

The southside councillor added: “The new school will help provide progression for teachers in GME by extending their prospects in the city and alleviate the pressure on the Woodside campus.”

Work on the new school is due to begin in September this year, with completion expected in early 2015.