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Conference on Gaelic Education: Transitions to Secondary

Last updated:
7 July 2017

What is this?

​This is a set of materials to support senior leaders in leading key improvements in both Gaelic Learner and Medium Education 3-18. There is a particular focus on improving transitions and increasing learning of Gaelic and through Gaelic at the secondary stages. These materials were used at a conference organised by Education Scotland and Bòrd na Gàidhlig to give strategic leadership to Gaelic Education. Action points identified by delegates at the conference will be used to draw up the next National Gaelic Language Plan.

Who is this for?

​This approach will be of particular interest to senior leaders in schools, local authority officers and teachers of Gaelic and guidance. These materials may also be useful in supporting curriculum partners in identifying how they may support a four context curriculum.

​How to use this self-evaluation resource approach to improve practice

This approach includes videos of keynote speeches delivered by Jane Renton and Joan Esson of Education Scotland; Bruce Robertson of Bòrd na Gàidhlig and Bernard Chisholm and Angus MacLennan of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.  Education Scotland's Advice on Gaelic Education could usefully be used with the following Quality Indicators in planning for improvement:

  • 1.1 Self- evaluation for self-improvement
  • 1.2 Leadership of learning
  • 1.3 Leadership of change
  • 2.2 Curriculum
  • 2.3 Learning, teaching and assessment
  • 2.4 Personalised support
  • 2.5 Family learning
  • 2.6 Transitions
  • 2.7 Partnerships
  • 3.2 Raising attainment and achievement/Securing children’s progress
  • 3.3 Increasing creativity and employability/Developing creativity and skills for life and learning

The recordings can be listened to individually, by groups of practitioners, or as part of a whole-school professional learning opportunity.


PDF file: Conference Programme - English version (180 KB)

PDF file: Conference Programme - Gaelic version (227 KB)

Please follow this link to view the Evaluation summary of the conference. A Glow login is required.

Explore this approach

Presentation by Jane Renton

“Closing the attainment gap and improving attainment across education in Scotland - in other words the pursuit of equity and excellence - will be the driving purpose of my tenure as Education Secretary” John Swinney

The following presentation by Jane Renton can be used by practitioners in all sectors. It highlights Education Scotland’s priorities including:

  • National Improvement Framework
  • Scottish Attainment Challenge
  • Developing the Young Workforce: learning pathways
  • National Improvement Hub

PDF file: Education Scotland's Priorities 2016-17 (1.2 MB)

Presentation by Joan Esson

“Partnership and collaboration are significant features of a highly-effective school and a high-performing learning system” How good is our school?

Joan Esson’s presentation highlights the findings of inspections for Gaelic Education, both strengths and drivers of improvement.  It also advises on improving the curriculum 3-18. This presentation  may be used by all sectors.

The presentation themes support planning for improvement by:

  • Examining strengths from inspection evidence
  • Increasing the focus on Gaelic in the leadership of self-evaluation by using Education Scotland's Advice on Gaelic Education
  • Articulating professional learning to the bespoke elements of Gaelic Medium Education
  • Raising attainment and fluency through effective approaches to immersion
  • Focusing on free-flow play, interactions and immersion in early learning and childcare centres and across the early level
  • Increasing collaboration and continuity in the secondary curriculum.

PDF file: Driving Improvements for Gaelic's Future - Joan Esson (8.9 MB)

Other publications referred to in this presentation:

Education Scotland's Advice on Gaelic Education
Building the Ambition

Presentation by Bruce Robertson

Bruce Robertson’s presentation highlights the Bòrd’s vision for Gaelic Education.  
This presentation focuses on:

  • The role of Bòrd na Gàidhlig
  • The Education (Scotland) Act 2016
  • Statistics to help practitioners see their role in shaping the next national Gaelic Language Plan.

PDF file: Bord na Gaidhlig's Vision for Gaelic Education - Bruce Robertson (2.4 MB)

Presentation by Angus MacLennan

Angus MacLennan’s presentation shares practice in how the Nicolson Institute, Stornoway, Lewis improved their secondary curriculum for both Gaelic Learner and Medium Education.  This presentation describes how:

  • the rationale of the curriculum embeds Gaelic
  • learner pathways promote progression from the broad general education to the senior phase
  • the four contexts of the curriculum are used to raise attainment and fluency of young people learning Gaelic and through Gaelic
  • young people’s skills for learning, life and work are developed, particularly by working with partners.

PDF file: Improving Secondary Practice Gaelic Learner and Medium Education - Angus MacLennan (English version) (1.3 MB)
PDF file: Improving Secondary Practice Gaelic Learner and Medium Education - Angus MacLennan (Gaelic version) (1.3 MB)

Presentation by Bernard Chisholm

Bernard Chisholm’s presentation highlights how Comhairle nan Eilean Siar are setting up an e-sgoil to increase the use of digital technology in the delivery of the curriculum.  Funding has been secured from Bòrd na Gàidhlig to design and develop an online learning environment that will provide high-quality learning through Gaelic to which all Gaelic Medium secondaries in Scotland can link.  E-sgoil aims to deliver subjects through Gaelic as well as other contexts of the curriculum. Practitioners will be able to share lessons and materials no matter where they are in Scotland.
PDF file: Delivering a GM Curriculum Using Digital Technology - Bernard Chisholm


Video: Presentations from Conference on Gaelic Education

To see all 4 videos, use small playlist menu at top left of window

Can't view this video? You can also view these clips on Glow (log-in required).


Discussions to impact on strategic planning

Delegates participated in discussions to identify how the next national Gaelic Language Plan can support education.

PDF file: Round table discussion questions (48 KB)

PDF file: Focus Group discussion questions on using digital technologies to build a curriculum through the medium of Gaelic and to learn Gaelic at the secondary stages (41 KB)

PDF file: Focus Group discussion questions on learning pathways for Gaelic learner and Medium Education (41 KB)

PDF file: Focus Group discussion questions on teacher recruitment and retention (40 KB)

PDF file: Focus Group discussion questions on effective professional learning to ensure leadership of the curriculum, learning, change and improvement (40 KB)

PDF file: Focus Group discussion questions on the role of legislation and guidance (40 KB) 


Self-evaluation and improvement; Leadership; Curriculum for Excellence (CfE); Gaelic; Early Learning and Childcare (ELC); Primary; Secondary