Fertile language

26th September 1997 at 01:00
We may have unearthed a new Gaelic education policy. The Scottish Office has told councils there is a "reasonable demand" for Gaelic schooling "where the parents of at least eight children so request".

It seems rather a high hurdle that parents must have eight children before they can exercise their entitlement. The letter was before education conveners at their regular meeting on Friday, which did not give the language an ecstatic ceud mile failte.

Edinburgh's Elizabeth Maginnis and Fife's Alec Thomson were particularly cool. They were joined by Doric champions Joan Orskov of Aberdeenshire and Margo Howe of Moray. Gaelic is a "non-event" in Shetland where they are struggling to save the Shetland dialect, said Bill Smith. It was left to Inverclyde's Yvonne Robertson to draw a distinction between a language and a dialect.

There was nothing for the hapless Western Isles representative, Roddy Mackay, to do but reassure the monoglots: "Gaelic shouldn't be forced on anyone. "

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today