Saturday 18 November 2017

€5m Gaelic school has no head

Richard Alleyne

IT was given £4m (€5m) to become established and has more than 150 willing pupils. But for a Gaelic school in Scotland there is still one snag -- it cannot find a head teacher that speaks the language.

Bunsgoil Ghaidhlig Inbhir Nis, or Inverness Gaelic primary school in the Highlands, has failed seven times in the past three years to recruit a Gaelic speaker for the £48,000-a-year post.

It even had to rely on a Swedish teacher, who has been learning the language, to act as head. But Annika Jansson is leaving and her only potential replacement is a non-Gaelic speaker.

Critics of the school said the failure underlines the "futility" of trying to keep Gaelic alive as a first language and is a waste of money. Parents of the 155 pupils have launched their own attempt to fill the position with a qualified head.

Jim Crawford, an Inverness councillor, said: "To have a head teacher from Sweden in a Gaelic-speaking school in the Highland capital underlines the futility of the Gaelic programme.

"It's outrageous, especially at a time when ordinary schools are considering cutting back to a four-day week to save money. But it seems we'll spend money on Gaelic willy-nilly."

At the last census, a little more than 59,000 people in Scotland spoke Gaelic, a decline of almost 7,000 in a decade. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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