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Recruits boost plan for Gaelic future

A record intake of student Gaelic teachers has been revealed, giving an early boost to plans to double the number of children studying the language from P1.

So far 17 primary and eight secondary teachers have been recruited, who will receive grants from development body Bord na Gaidhlig.

The news follows publication of a five-year national plan for Gaelic this month with the aim of boosting the number of P1s entering Gaelic-medium education annually from 400 to 800.

Minister for Gaelic Alasdair Allan said attempts to increase opportunities for learning Gaelic could only come from boosting the number of teachers of the language.

A dozen Gaelic language qualifications for adults were launched this week by the Scottish Qualifications Authority, covering four key skills for beginners, and will be piloted on Lewis.

SQA is also launching a National Progression Award in Contemporary Gaelic Songwriting to promote the "appreciation and use" of the language and culture.

A new website, learngaelic.net, was unveiled to provide a one-stop-shop for children, teachers and adults interested in learning Gaelic.

Dr Allan outlined other plans to promote the language: five Gaelic learners in Canada will be paid to travel to Scotland for language lessons, while the Ness Historical Society will be funded to become a Gaelic "hub" in North Lewis, offering courses in language, local history and genealogy.

Meanwhile, Gaelic TV channel BBC Alba has had a substantial rise in average weekly viewers, to more than 500,000.

julia.horton@tess.co.uk.

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