Saturday, 14 February 2009

Gaelic Medium Education - Edinburgh's best kept secret?

Professor Colin Baker from the University of Bangor is an expert in bilingual education, and says bilingual children have an advantage in terms of intelligence. "They actually have a higher IQ," he said. "It seems having two languages in the brain stimulates it, adds extra associations into the brain and deepens thinking."

In 1997 just 112 Scottish pupils learned Gaelic. In 2007, 2,601 students were learning it, either in an exclusively Gaelic school, or in a bi-lingual one.
(See BBC webpages for full article)

A friend of mine recently described Tollcross Primary School as Edinburgh's best kept secret. I think what he meant by this is the fact that very few people know about the existence of the Gaelic Unit within Tollcross school and how incredibly well the pupils in the Gaelic school attain academically and achieve so well generally.

Speaking as a parent of two girls who attend the school (one in P1 and another in P4), I am delighted with the education they are receiving. Our older girl is now reading, writing and speaking quite fluently in Gaelic and English, and, pleasingly, is eager to learn other languages. At school she has the opportunity to learn the clarsach (Scottish Harp) and play shinty. Lucy (P1) loves to chat away in Gaelic, especially on the phone!

What though of the future of Gaelic Medium education in Edinburgh? I suspect that as soon as more parents become aware of what is happening at Tollcross Primary school and at other similar bi-lingual schools throughout the world, the growth of Gaelic Medium Education would be incredible. Is this an opportunity to raise attainment for all of our children and to put Edinburgh Council at the forefront of Educational thinking and practice in Scotland's 'Homecoming' year? I am pleased to learn that Edinburgh Council has commissioned a research organisation to evaluate the feasibility of developing Gaelic Medium Education.

In the meantime, sssh. Let's keep it a secret. Bigger numbers being taught in Gaelic at Tollcross would make parking and dropping off the kids even more difficult.

1 comment:

OllieBray said...

This is a bit unrelated - but just in case you didn't see this positive write up on Liberton over on Claire's blog. See you soon. Ollie