Various measures are being considered by the council to encourage children to take up Gaelic, it’s been revealed.
A report drawn up by John Fyffe, Perth and Kinross Council’s senior depute chief executive, discloses that the number of pupils taking the language at Perth High School has fallen and that the local authority is focusing on rolling out Gaelic in areas that have some ties to it.
The council chief acknowledges current finances mean the local authority needs to ensure resources allocated are “proportionate” to the potential impact of amending Gaelic signage and logos.
His extensive report also states council bosses will “explore” the potential for secondary children to access Gaelic through virtual learning.
Mr Fyffe alludes to the fact that the local authority’s Gaelic language plan has a working group who will “identify” towns and villages in Perth and Kinross that have an historical or cultural link with Gaelic.
His report provides details of how progress has been made to roll out Gaelic across schools in Perth and Kinross following the council’s Gaelic language plan being devised for 2012 to 2017. However, he does concede that the number pupils taking Gaelic as a subject at Perth Academy has fallen since the start of the plan.
“This is despite council efforts to ensure, for example, that all S1 scholars take Gaelic as a subject, with an option to continue on to S6 at Breadalbane Academy,” his report states.
“We will continue to utilise staff Gaelic skills in championing and promoting Gaelic with staff and customers. And learning opportunities have been widely advertised via the internal council website.”
Mr Fyffe also points to Gaelic Bookbug sessions being available at the AK Bell Library in Perth and Breadalbane Community Library in Auchterarder on a monthly basis.
Councillor Willie Robertson, who has previously criticised council money being spent on Gaelic, said he was pleased that the council “seem to be doing the minimum” possible to meet with the Scottish Government’s desire to make Scotland a Gaelic-speaking country.
“The council seem to be directing resources at areas which have a historical Gaelic heritage,” he commented.
“We should be using our limited resources to give all our children a modern second language which will assist them in their future lives and help them make their way in what is an increasingly competitive world.
“I would argue that spending vast amounts of money on Gaelic doesn’t do this.”
Mr Fyffe’s report also states that the local authority will be submitting a bid to host the Royal National Mod in 2021.