Inroads for trainees

17th August 2007 at 01:00
The popularity of Gaelic Higher has fallen sharply. Only 119 candidates took the Gaelic learners Higher in 2007, against 154 last year. There were 97 candidates for Gaidhlig Higher which tests fluent speakers against 124 last year.

That meant an overall 22 per cent drop in entries from 2006 to 2007.

There was also a drop in the number of Gaidhlig Standard grade candidates, from 193 to 173, although the number of Gaelic learners went up from 364 to 383.

A spokesman for BDFDrd na Gaidhlig, the Gaelic development agency, said: "There is nothing surprising about these figures. Over the last few years, we have seen a huge increase in the number of children being taught through the medium of Gaelic in primary schools. Many of these children have still not come into the secondary sector, and we would expect numbers to increase in the next few years.

"It is also a fact that Gaelic medium education has not been as successful in the secondary sector as we would have hoped. There are many reasons for this, including the lack of teachers in specific subject areas."

He said inroads were being made through the introduction of new courses for trainee teachers, while there was a record number of probationer Gaelic teachers coming into Scottish schools this year 20 in primary and nine in secondary.

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