Last Updated: Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Millburn Academy – supporting Gaelic as an L3 Language

What is this?

This exemplar provides an overview of how Millburn Academy’s specialist Gaelic teacher developed a network and materials to support primary staff in delivering Gaelic as an L3 as part of the 1+2 Languages Policy.

See Gaelic version.

Who is this for?

This exemplar will be useful for senior leaders, modern languages teachers and primary staff involved in delivering modern languages.

What Was Done?

  • Millburn Academy’s Gaelic teacher created an online interactive resource called 'Sruth a’ Mhuilinn' in 2021 which would support the teaching of Gaelic as the L3 Language to primary schools within Millburn Academy’s Associated Schools Groups (ASG) during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
  • The Gaelic teacher used their previous learning from transition work with Primary 6 and 7 and mapped out the content of the Broad General Education curriculum for Gaelic Learner Education and focused on those topics which would give a solid foundation to learners in upper primary. They utilised ICT and skills learned from lockdown to create the resources.
  • The resources can be used digitally or physically, as well as utilised for remote learning. With embedded sound files and answer schemes, teachers are supported with an additional language resource in their delivery whilst learners are able to engage easily in self and peer assessment also.

Why was it done

  • The school wished to increase the number of young people learning Gaelic. The Gaelic teacher previously supported associated primary schools by visiting on a rota basis. This transition work had the effect of quadrupling numbers in S1, which has fed throughout all year groups over time and into positive destinations that involve Gaelic. This however had the effect of reducing greatly the amount of time the teacher could spend on this transition process.
  • Sruth a’ Mhuilinn was also designed to deal with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic; including restrictions on school visitors and the need to recover language and skills, whilst supporting busy staff. The resources were developed in such a way as to allow teachers with no Gaelic teaching ability or experience the confidence to deliver the language, and to provide them with readymade resources to support this.

Impact

  • Young people are engaging well with the resource both independently and collaboratively. Transitions into S1 are smoother and learners are more prepared for accessing Gaelic as a subject in secondary.
  • Uptake of Gaelic as an L3 in Millburn Academy continues to rise, increasing the visibility of the language across the school and ASG. This will eventually feed into senior phase.
  • Primary staff have provided feedback that learners enjoy the materials and that they are very straightforward to deliver regardless of their own initial Gaelic ability. Staff confidence and ability in delivering Gaelic L3 has increased.
  • Sruth a’ Mhuillinn is available to all teachers in Scotland and is being further developed on an ongoing basis. 2022-2023 will see the addition of units suitable for Gaelic Language and Culture Education which will support Interdisciplinary Learning.
  • The resource has been showcased at various professional forums, such as the Scottish Association of Language Teachers Conference. It can also help complement the delivery of the Gaelic Learners Authority Network Scotland (GLEANS) Challenge for L3 Gaelic in Primary Schools.
  • The resource has also inspired colleagues within the school to emulate the practice and through collaboration provide Spanish language content as well.

Improvement questions

  • To what extent are young people in English Medium Education in our school aware of Gaelic language and Gaelic culture as a part of Scotland’s identity?
  • How could our school’s curriculum support the learning of Gaelic in the Broad General Education as part of the entitlement to learning an additional language.
  • How visible and audible is Gaelic language and culture in our school?
  • What progression exists for learners of Gaelic as they move through the Broad General Education and into the Senior Phase across the Associated Schools Groups? What communication and collaboration is required to ensure this happens?