Last Updated: Tuesday, February 08, 2022

Improving the Gaelic Medium Curriculum: Broad General Education and the Senior Phase

What is this?

​​The  National Improvement Framework commits to driving excellence through raising attainment, and to achieving equity by ensuring that every child and young person has an opportunity to succeed. This is a series of presentations designed to support improvements in the 3-18 curriculum for Gaelic Medium Education ​(GME). They aim to:

  • support early learning and childcare (ELC), primary and secondary headteachers, and local authorities in implementing Curriculum for Excellence for GME;
  • promote effective practice in the expansion of the extended free hours for ELC, particularly in the use of total immersion approaches;
  • promote foundation apprencticeships in Social Services: Children and Young People through the medium of Gaelic; and
  • provide opportunities for professional dialogue.

Who is this for?

​Presentations and challenge questions are provided to enable all ELC, primary and secondary headteachers and teachers, education officers in local authorities, parents and other interested stakeholders to engage with key aspects of the curriculum for GME.​

​Explore this exemplar

Keynote presentations

John Swinney​, MSP Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education - Faster Rate of Progress for Gaelic​​​

John Swinney, MSP Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education supports Scottish Government’s drive for excellence in Gaelic Medium Education (GME) by raising attainment. This aims to ensure “faster and more effective progress with Gaelic in Scotland”.


Improvement questions:

  • How can your local authority and school's strategic planning be adjusted to achieve a faster pace of progress for Gaelic?
  • What short and longer-term changes can you make to improve the curriculum for GME?​

Joan Esson, HM Inspector of Education - Early learning, early gains in reducing the attainment gap in GME​

HM Inspectors and the Care Inspectorate supported the evaluation of the Scottish Government 1140 hour trial delivery models, across 14 trial authorities. In this presentation, Joan Esson, HMI, highlights what is working well and the barriers that exist to providing high-quality ELC for GME. Read the full report on the Scottish Go​vernment website​.​


PDF file: Early learning, early gains in reducing the attainment gap (English version) (797 KB)

PDF file: ​Early learning, early gains in reducing the attainment gap (Gaelic version)​ (787 KB)

Improvement questions

  • How effective are your plans for implementing the extended free hours in ELC based on enabling total immersion?
  • ​What steps have you taken to ensure a strategy for workforce planning?
  • How will you ensure that staff have access to career-long professional learning?​
  • What is your understanding of the current ELC policy and guidance landscape, and how this relates to GME?
  • How effectively are you consulting parents, including to promote the benefits of bilingualism as an outcome of GME?
  • How effective are your arrangements for self-evaluation, research and evidence to inform and improve practice on an ongoing basis?

Related links to ELC

Advice on Gaelic Medium Education

Advice on total immersion

A summary of key resources for ELC​

Angela NicIllebhràighe and Seonaidh Charity, Sabhal Mò​r Ostaig (SMO) - GME post-16 pathways​

This presentation describes SMO's offer of the GME Foundation Apprenticeship in Social Services: Children and Young People. It mentions the flexible routes to teaching in GME that are on offer at SMO.​


Visit the Sabhal Mòr Ostaig website for further information, including a video review by a young person undertaking the apprenticeship​.​

PDF file: SMO's offer to support post 16 GME pathways (Gaelic and English version) (965 KB)

Improvement questions

  • How well are your senior phase pathways designed to prepare young people for positive destinations in local employment?
  • To what extent is your curriculum offer enabling young people in GME to gain awards and qualification in Gaelic and through Gaelic?
  • How do you ensure that young people are aware of the employment opportunities available to those who have awards and qualifications in Gaelic and through Gaelic?
  • How well do you use the four contexts of learning to promote a curriculum for GME?

PDF file: Advice on Gaelic Medium Education at the secondary stages

PDF file: Advice on Gaelic (Learners) and a 1+2 Approach to Languages