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Three subjects don't make a curriculum

Twenty per cent of pupils coming into S1 at Plockton High have learnt all they know through Gaelic-medium education, yet the school offers just three subjects in Gaelic.

Duncan Ferguson, the shinty-addicted headteacher, who doubles as chairman of the first Gaelic Board, admits this is not good enough. "My argument and personal research elsewhere is that they should get five to be really fluent at 14. At the moment, it's just by chance they get art, history and home economics and there is no logic to it. They are struggling with just three," he accepts.

Plockton is one of the Highland schools where all S1 and S2 pupils, regardless of their previous experience, are given at least three hours of Gaelic a week, along with a similar taste of French.

Mr Ferguson has tried to create an ethos of Gaelic in which it is normal to speak the language. "I believe there is no lack of motivation and young people see the high profile of the traditional music school (based at Plockton) in the media," he said.

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