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Talk to me about Gaelic medium education

(25 Posts)
momdidit Tue 10-Oct-17 11:26:07

We're considering a Gaelic medium primary school for our dc, can you tell me the advantages of these & also the disadvantages? Research says kids finish school ahead of kids that have attended normal schools, is this true in your experience. Does English or math suffer as reading is introduced so late & little time is spent on it, can grammer, spelling, creative writing be an issue? In a conondrum, dh is not Scottish & I have no Gaelic but our local GM is the best school in the area....

prettybird Wed 11-Oct-17 11:53:51

You'd be better putting this in the Scotsnet topic.

There is at least one MNer with children in Gaelic Medium Education, having gone through primary in it and now in secondary. She does have strong links to the Western Isles though (lived there for a number of years) - although neither her dh nor her are Gaelic speakers.

But be prepared for the flack from those that think it is a vanity project from those that just want "better education".

FWIW, ds' old primary school is now in a new building, sharing the campus with a Gaelic Medium Primary school. Both are great schools. Ds had a fantastic foundation for secondary (he is now doing well in S6) - despite - or perhaps more accurately because his primary was 60% ethnic minorities/English as an Additional Language.

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Wed 11-Oct-17 11:57:20

I'm one of the ones that thinks it's a vanity project, especially where there is no link to gaelic in the home and school won't fund the support my son with SN needs 'cos budgets' ... but have to say I can't see any disadvantages to the children, the ones I know in GM schools are thriving.

Celticlassie Wed 11-Oct-17 12:00:52

I believe the parents have to commit to try to learn gaelic, at least to an extent. The idea is to try to stop those with no interest in the language from taking the places of those that do. Not sure it works in practice though.

The funding also comes from a different budget from SEN funding.

trixymalixy Wed 11-Oct-17 12:06:40

They do get good results, but whether that is to do with learning in another language or the fact that it's a self selecting group of aspirational parents is debatable. I think correlation is being confused with causation here. It's considered equivalent to private education without paying for it, given the amount of money that's thrown at it by the SNP.

Celticlassie Wed 11-Oct-17 12:09:06

Trixy, I’d certainly say it is the second.**

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Wed 11-Oct-17 12:14:24

Celtic I don't really care where the money sits, all the schools I know are struggling to support SN while there's money being flung at GM and I don't think it's right, personally.

Pidlan Wed 11-Oct-17 12:17:02

The benefits of bilingualism on brains is well researched and documented. Fantastic opportunity for your child.

chocolateisnecessary Wed 11-Oct-17 12:17:10

In Wales, about a third of primaries are Welsh medium now. No impact on English at all. Bilingualism is amazing and a lot of parents don't know Welsh and the kids are more than fine!
Go and have a look at the schools and see what you think maybe?

MaybesAye Wed 11-Oct-17 12:19:46

I have kids in GME. Gone through to secondary. Native speaker household. Parents are encouraged to learn basic phonics. It’s not a deal breaker though as majority haven’t and don’t intend to. All GME schooling at p1 stage is open to all though in Glasgow its restricted to within city limits due to demand. Only selective entry for Glasgow Gaelic Secondary as child needs to have gone through primary to attain decent level of understanding/fluency as lots of subject done through Gaelic even sciences and modern languages. Other secondaries in EK, Bishopriggs, Edinburgh Cumbernauld are standard entry that offer one/2 subjects in Gaelic. Not all get to full fluency by p7 and still manage. It’s a hard slog. Parents need to be aware that everything until p3 is delivered in Gàidhlig. Including homework. So it worth your while learning some phonics/basics and/or networking with other parents/homework online resources who can help support you. It’s only a vanity project if you’re vain.

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Wed 11-Oct-17 12:22:40

It's completely different in Scotland though choc, according to wiki in total c4,000 children are in GM schools, 1.6% of the total student population. Only 1.1% of adults in Scotland have gaelic.

I should point out I have no problem with GM in the Highlands where there's a language and culture to save, but do think it's a vanity project in places like Edinburgh.

MaybesAye Wed 11-Oct-17 12:22:42

For those who think it’s more costly - GME teachers training and salaries cost the same as English medium. Both glasgow schools are at capacity. Same struggles finding teachers in GME as in English and classes are not small. So it’s not private by stealth.

chocolateisnecessary Wed 11-Oct-17 13:34:04

Lonny Really curious, just because bilingual education is sort of the norm here now I guess - do you think they'll be more Gaelic schools soon tho/is there the demand? I've just noticed a lot more Gaelic resources coming online where I usually find the Welsh ones.

Kokeshi123 Wed 11-Oct-17 13:35:18

I think the private by stealth comments are because this is a self-selecting group of parents, who tend to be a lot more educated than average. So regardless of funding, you may get a different timbre in the classrooms, fewer behavioral issues probably, and so on.

Not snarking on the idea, necessarily, just saying why I think it gets some pushback. I really like the idea of Gaelic being a living language again, actually.

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Wed 11-Oct-17 14:08:45

Chocolate I don't know, is the short answer. I think the OP is interesting because she admits she's considering GM because of the results of the school, not because of any connection to the language. That's not me being snarky, I have no connection to it either as a lowlander. Certainly the govt is supporting gaelic - I'm open to what their motives is though.

It seems clear on the evidence of this one thread (I know that's not real evidence!) that there are people who do have a connection to gaelic culture who want to preserve it, those who are interested in it as a route to better results and those, like me, who don't necessarily think that GM schools are the best use of resources. As many people speak Urdu as Gaelic in Scotland, no-one is talking about Urdu Medium schools, are they?

I do get irked when people assume gaelic is some sort of national language of Scotland though. I'm from the lowlands, my ancestors spoke Scots.

chocolateisnecessary Wed 11-Oct-17 14:33:06

@LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Yeah, that's fair enough. I read Scots at uni and get that!
There are mixed reasons for parents choosing Welsh schools too. One is definitely Lang/culture, then the benefits of bilingualism, then results too I think. The Welsh schools do have a reputation as being better and producing better results. Tho here the Welsh Gov is v def making having it a career advantage.
It's an interesting one to watch!

Worriedobsessive Wed 11-Oct-17 14:34:21

Thought this was about spiritualism.blush

I'll get my coat.

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Wed 11-Oct-17 17:56:02

For sure choc and tbh I don't have any real skin in the game. I do think Wales is different because more people speak Welsh. And of course I don't want gaelic culture/language to die out. I do wish some of the Edinburghers who have never been further north than the House of Bruar would be as honest as the OP though!

Kokeshi123 Thu 12-Oct-17 00:48:23

Didn't everyone in the British Isles originally speak Celtic languages of some type, though? (except perhaps in some of the Scottish islands, where apparently Norse was spoken....)

I think the politics around Gaelic/Welsh medium. I would choose this for my own child if we were a monolingual family. As we are already bilingual at home, I'd worry about the stress of handling three languages.

At the moment, I send my kid to school in a language that is not English.

Maintaining spoken English is not an issue, but I do feel more pressure to make sure that she gets a strong vocabulary in English at home--like having lots of reference books and non-fiction books, visiting museums and all that. I would wonder about what would happen in the case of families which are more deprived and where the parents' educational level is not high--might there not be a risk that the children will do less well in terms of an "academic" English vocabulary--the kinds of vocab that kids do not just pick up from playing with other kids?

Just musing, as I do not know enough about the politics of British minority languages to really say that much.

momdidit Thu 12-Oct-17 09:26:45

Kokeshi, that is an excellent point & very eloquently put! That is what we fear, that the dcs would lose out on scientific & mathamatical terms, they will definitely be going to an English secondary as we have no GM is the vicinity. I would love to hear others thoughts on Kokeshi's point, thanks. As I said upthread, we have no love for Gaelic or we don't speak it but it's the best school by far in the area & we want to give the dc every advantage & opportunity we can

chocolateisnecessary Thu 12-Oct-17 09:44:13

This was the fear here re maths and science but now it's seriously not a problem.
Kids here do switch languages at secondary sometimes and get state support to help.
Honestly tho, go and speak to the head. S/he will be used to these worries and be able to tell you what's what.
But they will do English from 7. And it's often the kids from Welsh schools that win the national Eng-Lang writing comps bizarrely.

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Thu 12-Oct-17 10:34:20

But to return to your previous point Kokeshi, GM parents are a self-selecting group. Perhaps different in the Highlands, or even Wales where it is more common, but if you take somewhere like Edinburgh (affluent anyway, generally) where there are only 2 GM primaries and parents are already making an effort to get their children into the schools, those are the kind of kids who are going to do ok.

MaybesAye Thu 12-Oct-17 15:42:30

Lonny. Those kids would go well regardless of school. I don’t feel like our kids are short changed wrt terminology. From p4 English was introduced and in secondary they have access to such novelties as the internet, tv, English books etc. What they have is terminology in Gàidhlig and English. Most come from non Gàidhlig speaking homes too. I can’t speak to why people with no Gàidhlig background choose GME. I know why I did.

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Thu 12-Oct-17 16:08:51

That's what I'm saying Maybes. I may hae ma doots about GM as a 'thing' but I don't think the children are disadvantaged at all, quite the opposite in fact bc they become bilingual and are surrounded by other well-supported children.

disahsterdahling Fri 13-Oct-17 13:26:59

I don't have any experience of Gaelic education but I did go to uni in Wales and there was a guy on my course who was a native Welsh speaker and had done his entire education through the medium of Welsh. He struggled a little bit with the course at the outset because he wasn't used to working in English, but by the end he was fine. So I think it's fine, but yes, you are right to be cautious about possibly falling behind in competency in English - that said, if you speak English at home, the issue may not arise like it did with my friend.

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