In a significant change of climate, the Education Minister will today overturn the Inspectorate's opposition to Gaelic-medium education in secondary schools.
HMI provoked an outcry in a 1994 report which concluded that "the vagaries of resource availability", including a shortage of trained teachers, made teaching in Gaelic "neither desirable nor feasible in the foreseeable future".
Brian Wilson, in his first education speech as Minister for Gaelic, is expected to tell the annual conference of Comunn na Gaidhlig in Inverness that the extension of Gaelic-medium teaching ought to be part of the natural progression of pupils who have been taught through the language in primary.
Mr Wilson plans to explore whether Gaelic-speaking teachers can be retrained to work with Gaelic-medium classes to address staff shortages in the first two years of secondary school.
The minister is also keen to ensure that councils make Gaelic provision available for under-fives when setting up Gaelic-medium primary classes. Pre-school groups would have access to Government cash, heightening speculation that the Pounds 2 million provided through specific grants will be increased.