Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Edinburgh's best kept secret?

Whenever I tell someone that my daughter attends a Gaelic medium school in the centre of Edinburgh the response, invariably, is one of surprise. That a gaelic medium school should exist, indeed thrive, so far from the traditional gaelic heartland catches people completely unaware. The children at the school are taught exclusively through the medium of gaelic. A number of the children have parents who can converse with them in gaelic but not all. Our older daughter is now in Primary three and perfectly bilingual in Gaelic and English. She loves school; I am convinced she would attend at weekends given the opportunity!

One of the fears that prospective parents have about enrolling their child at the school is that education exclusively through Gaelic, in a predominantly English based society, will inhibit the development of their child's English language development. Amazingly, the converse is true. The gaelic medium pupils, after a short intensive course in English at the end of P3, not only demonstrate that they have caught up with their monolingual peers, but have in fact overtaken them. I believe that this unexpected anomaly is also evident in other countries where more than one language is practised.

As parents, we are absolutely delighted with the quality of experience on offer at Tollcross Primary School. If Gaelic is to survive, Education as our daughter experiences, is going to be pivotal. An t-ionnsachadh og, an t-ionnsachadh boidheach!

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