Council seeks public views on options for Gaelic education

The future of primary and nursery level Gaelic education is the subject of a public consultation launched today.

The City of Edinburgh Council is seeking the views of anyone with an interest in education in the city to help inform decisions on provision.

Tollcross Primary is now full and does not have capacity in its present form to cater for any further growth of Gaelic education. The school also offers English medium education and growth in the popularity of Gaelic means that there is no longer enough space.

Two options have been put forward for consideration:

Establish a dedicated primary school with nursery facilities at the former Bonnington Primary School premises, and the withdrawal of the current Gaelic unit at Tollcross Primary School; or

Increase Gaelic medium education capacity on the Tollcross Primary School site by extending the building and relocating the nursery to a new, larger facility in the grounds of the existing school.

City Education Leader Cllr Marilyne MacLaren said:

"It's more important now than ever before that we gather as much opinion and feedback about our proposals as possible. Times are tough and, as an administration, we want to be sure that the decisions we take are fully informed by the views of the people of Edinburgh.

"Gaelic education has developed steadily in Edinburgh over the past twenty years and the City of Edinburgh Council has supported this growth. We now need to look at options for the future of Gaelic.

"Increased popularity does bring increased financial pressure and whichever option we take it's going to cost money, and that will have an impact on other city schools. I would therefore urge anyone with an interest in education in Edinburgh to take the opportunity to contribute to this important process."

The number of pupils in the Tollcross Gaelic unit has risen from 90 to 158 over the past six years and officials predict that the size of P1 intakes at Tollcross will to continue to rise in line with increasing demand for Gaelic nursery places.

The consultation runs until Monday 21st March 2011.  Responses can be submitted through the Council's primary level Gaelic education webpage.

Future provision of secondary level Gaelic education is also being considered but not through this consultation. A working group is currently considering proposals and a public consultation is expected to take place in the Spring.

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