Northern Ireland

School children 'could study Ulster-Scots for GCSE'

Ulster Scots Agency in Belfast
The Ulster Scots Agency in Belfast

School children in Northern Ireland could be given the opportunity to study Ulster-Scots to GCSE or A Level.

The proposal is included in a strategy produced by the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL).

The areas for action include promotion of Ulster Scots language and culture in education and the media.

DCAL have also produced a similar strategy for developing the Irish language.

The Strategy for Ulster Scots language, heritage and culture is currently out for public consultation.

It includes a number of proposals aimed at children in primary and secondary education.

These include developing a "an A-Level in Ulster Scots language, heritage and culture".

There are also plans to develop a GCSE level qualification, and to establish a unit in the Council for Curriculum, Examinations and assessment (CCEA) to provide learning and exam materials on Ulster-Scots.

The strategy also includes plans to increase the number of Ulster Scots programmes on television and the development of a "dedicated Ulster Scots language, heritage and culture radio station".

The strategy has been welcomed by leading Ulster-Scots activist Lord Laird who said that Ulster Scots had stamped its culture on other parts of the world particularly America.

"Seventeen presidents of the United States came from Ulster. Twelve men stood on the moon and two of them were Ulster men - people whose ancestors a few generations before came from Ulster," he said.

"I had no part in the writing of the Belfast Agreement. But in the Belfast Agreement it says that the Ulster Scots language, culture and heritage has equal status to that of Irish.

"A lot of people voted for it. We have found over the years we have not been able to cash in that cheque, for want of a better word, but we are slowly beginning to do this."

Consultation for the proposals ends on 27 November.

More on this story