Last Updated: Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Improving the Secondary Curriculum for Gaelic Medium Education (GME)

What is this?

​​​This publication is designed to support improvement in developing the secondary curriculum for Gaelic Medium Education (GME). It comprises a case study and challenge questions. The case study is based on improvements to the curriculum at The Nicolson Institute, Stornoway, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. In preparing this case study, we used a range of sources, including our inspection findings and various presentations delivered by senior leaders of the Nicolson Institute. Additional information on the GME curriculum is available in the Advice on Gaelic Education.

Who is this for?

​This self-evaluation resource is designed for senior leaders in secondary schools, local authorities and regional improvement collaboratives (RICs).​

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

This resource may be used to review a school's current GME curriculum and ascertain how it can be developed further. It can also be used by local authorities and RICs to look at improvements across schools. The resource should be used with the relevant quality indicators from How good is our school? (fourth edition)​.

The following challenging questions should be considered:

In reviewing how well your school is delivering a curriculum through the medium of Gaelic, and within your existing resources, to what extent are you:

  • ​checking to ascertain that staff who are fluent in Gaelic are delivering GME?
  • checking to see if there may be more sharing of teacher expertise between both primary and other secondary schools?
  • reviewing how well colleges, community learning and development and Gaelic groups contribute to GME, including with the use of blended learning approaches?
  • checking to see if approaches to career-long professional learning are encouraging staff to learn and improve their fluency in Gaelic?
  • checking to see if universal support and registration can be provided through Gaelic, including by having the young people learning in GME in multi-stage groupings?
  • working with primary schools to ensure that progression is not being hampered by switching medium of delivery?
  • reviewing how well curriculum design such as specialisation, enrichment courses, electives and masterclasses are being used to increase the proportion of learning through Gaelic?
  • reviewing how well interdisciplinary learning is used for GME and to promote learning about Gaelic for those in English medium education?
  • encouraging partners to deliver aspects of the curriculum in Gaelic?
  • reviewing how opportunities for personal achievements and accreditation can provide learning through Gaelic?
  • reviewing if PSE and RME can be delivered through Gaelic across the broad general education and the senior phase?
  • using lunchtime and after-school clubs as an opportunity for young people to use Gaelic?
  • checking to see if progression from the broad general education to National 4, National 5 and Higher in any subject is feasible? and
  • checking to see if progression from Higher to Advanced Higher is feasible?

As part of your regular review of the GME curriculum, how often do you monitor the proportion of learning that young people experience through Gaelic?

Do your observations of young people’s learning include GME? How do you evidence success and next steps?​

How often do you sample individual young people’s GME pathways within your school?

How have your explored the use of digital technologies, including e-Sgoil as a way of increasing the learning through Gaelic in the curriculum?

How have you developed your curriculum to:-

  • ​reflect the “big picture” for GME
  • promote an understanding of those in EME of the rationale for GME and bilingualism
  • promote equity, excellence and high-quality attainment
  • enable application of knowledge, understanding and skills through Gaelic
  • enable breadth, challenge and application across the four contexts of learning
  • embed Gaelic language, culture, heritage and career pathways
  • be based on self-evaluation and continuous improvement?

What impact can you show from using the Statutory Guidance on Gaelic Education and Advice on Gaelic Education​ for self-evaluation?

Download the complete case study and challenge questions​

PDF file: Improving Practice: Developing a Gaelic Medium curriculum (358 KB)