Happy to mind their language

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MOVES to reverse the decline of Scotland’s native language are being made, and where better for that to start than Cumbernauld.

Seeing as the town’s very name is derived from Gaelic, it seems fitting that Condorrat Primary School and Nursery, or Bun-sgoil Chondobhrait, is to be at the very heart of the new initiative.

The school established a Gaelic stream in 1997 with children enrolling from across North Lanarkshire.

Until midway through primary three, the children are taught solely in Gaelic, before English teaching commences, and by primary seven they are fluent in both languages.

Julie-Ann Price, head teacher at Condorrat, said: “The cultural heritage associated with the Gaelic language is central to many of our national traditions and should be preserved and encouraged to flourish.

”We currently have 165 children within the Gaelic stream of the school, many from non-Gaelic family backgrounds and those families have embraced the opportunity for their children to become bilingual. They learn about the language, culture, and festivals associated with Gaelic traditions.”

Children from the Morar Drive school also attended the Royal National Mod, the annual festival of Gaelic music and culture in the Western Isles. The Mod showcases the talents of people of all ages, performing under a range of banners such as traditional music, songs, dramatic performances, sports, Highland dancing and literature.

Scottish Gaelic is spoken by some 60,000 people in Scotland, mainly in the Highlands and in the Western Isles. In Scotland, fewer than one per cent of young people are bilingual in Gaelic and English, behind the seven per cent of people in Ireland and the 21 per cent in Wales who are bilingual.

Councillor Jim Logue, convener of learning and leisure services, said: “The council recognises that Gaelic is an important part of Scotland’s heritage and national identity. The benefits of being educated bilingually can be enormous and we are committed to supporting the revival of the language.”

To comment on the draft Gaelic plan, get a copy from libraries and first stop shops or see the NLC website.

nMod trophies: page 27.