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Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Louise Wilson

All times stated are UK

  1. That's all from Holyrood Live!

    John Swinney and Liz Smith

    That's all today from Holyrood Live on Wednesday 19 September 2018.

    MSPs have defeated the Scottish government in a vote calling on ministers to "halt" national assessments for P1 pupils.

    The assessments were introduced across Scotland last year, but some teachers and parents have criticised them.

    Ministers insist they are not high-stakes tests, but help schools assess where pupils need help at an early age.

    Opposition parties say they are not in line with play-based early learning and could create league tables of schools.

    Members voted by 63 to 61 to pass a Conservative motion calling for a "halt" to the tests, with all of the opposition parties uniting against the government.

    The largely symbolic motion does not bind the government to any action, but Education Secretary John Swinney said he would "reflect" on the defeat.

  2. Co-là-breith math BBC Alba

    Europe Minister Ben Macpherson expresses the gratitude of the government to all who work and are involved in BBC Alba on its 10th birthday.

    The minister says: "Co-là-breith math."

    Which he translates as: "Happpy Birthday".

    Mr Macpherson says BBC Alba is a celebrated part of the broadcasting landscape.

    He says more than 100 of MG Alba's over 280 staff or on the islands.

    Europe Minister Ben Macpherson
    Image caption: Europe Minister Ben Macpherson

    BBC Alba is showing the way to other broadcasters, via its partnership model, he says.

    "The Scottish government will continue to support the channel."

    Mr Macpherson urges the UK government and the BBC to ensure Gaelic TV audiences get a fair deal.

    He argues the BBC spends less in Scotland than it raises from the licence fee.

  3. Green MSP expresses concern about fund inequity

    Green MSP John Finnie
    Image caption: Green MSP John Finnie

    Green MSP John Finnie praises BBC Alba's news programme An Là in particular.

    He expresses concern about inequity in funding, noting the new BBC Scotland channel is to receive four times BBC Alba's budget for fewer hours programming.

    It is important not to politicise the Gaelic language he asserts.

    There are many positive things to say about the channel, Mr Finnie says, and hopes the next ten years will bring more.

  4. Background: BBC Alba launched

    Greg Hemphill as Elvis and Runrig
    Image caption: Greg Hemphill as Elvis and Runrig

    From MG Alba: BBC ALBA launched on Friday 19 September 2008 with a contemporary re-versioning of Runrig’s iconic anthem Alba, sung by people young and old from all over Scotland.

    This was followed by a live ceilidh from Scotland’s Gaelic college, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig and a brand-new drama commissioned specifically for opening night, which featured Greg Hemphill as Elvis and was filmed on the isle of Lewis.

    Hearts v Inverness Caledonian Thistle was BBC ALBA’s first Scottish Premiership match, the following day, and on the following Monday, BBC ALBA started the weekday children’s schedule from 5pm to 7pm and its flagship news programme An Là at 8pm.Both of which continue in 2018.

    An Là, hosted in the BBC’s Inverness studios, was an immediate success with a mix of international, national and local news. This was complemented by a strong suite of documentaries, sports, music & events, entertainment and arts, and in recent year also 2.5 hours per year of drama (Bannan, produced by Young Films in Skye).

  5. BBC Alba brings jobs to Highland region

    Labour MSP Rhoda Grant
    Image caption: Labour MSP Rhoda Grant

    Labour MSP Rhoda Grant praises BBC Alba for working in tandem with Gaelic-medium education on its children's programming.

    The channel not only serves Gaelic speakers but also promotes the language for learning, she states.

    Other benefits of the channel include jobs being created in a region often plagued by depopulation due to a lack of economic opportunities, Ms Grant says.

    She concludes wishing the channel happy birthday - in Gaelic of course!

  6. MSPs vote to scrap P1 tests - analysis

    MSPs have voted in favour of scrapping standard assessments for Primary One children in Scotland.

    By 63 votes to 61, Holyrood agreed the system should be abandoned.

    Critics argued the assessments were futile and stressful for children.

    But Ministers insist they are vital.

    MSPs backed Tory MSP Liz Smith's motion calling for the tests to be scrapped
    Image caption: MSPs backed Tory MSP Liz Smith's motion calling for the tests to be scrapped

    The Education Secretary John Swinney will now consider how to proceed.

    The vote is not binding.

    After the vote, John Swinney said he would reflect upon Parliament's decision.

    But he strongly defended the Government's position and advised schools to continue with the P1 assessments.

  7. 'BBC Alba is a big success story for the Gaelic language'

    Tory MSP Edward Mountain
    Image caption: Tory MSP Edward Mountain

    Tory MSP Edward Mountain begins by pointing out he "massacred" French at school and Swahili when in the army and he adds he will happily accept interventions in any language, as long as the MSP explains what is said.

    Mr Mountain highlights 50% of Gaelic speakers live in the Highlands and he praises the work of BBC Alba.

    It is important to the economy of the Highlands and Islands too, he argues.

    "BBC Alba is a big success story for the Gaelic language."

    He urges the Scottish government to continue supporting the channel.

  8. Here's praise from the Herald.................

    BBC Alba
    Image caption: BBC Alba

    This week the first chairman of Bòrd na Gàidhlig, Duncan Ferguson, wrote in the Herald: " IN a world dominated by media the importance of broadcasting cannot be overemphasised in efforts to revive lesser used languages and so the 10th anniversary of the establishment of BBC Alba - launched on September 19, 2008 - is cause for celebration for all committed to the survival and advancement of the Gaelic language.

    "That it was set up under the aegis of the BBC was a crucial achievement especially in the context of that year's global financial crisis and the inevitable questions around the licence fee, charter renewal and the like.

    "Therefore, to have our Scottish Gaelic channel on the first screen of the BBC iPlayer - located between the Parliament channel and S4C (the Welsh language channel) - remains a source of pleasure to language activists."

    Read more of the article in the Herald here.

  9. BBC Alba promotes Gaelic and wider culture

    Tory MSP Donald Cameron
    Image caption: Tory MSP Donald Cameron

    Tory MSP Donald Cameron says BBC Alba is a remarkable achievement, particularly given its relatively small budget when compared to other Celtic networks.

    The channel does not just promote Gaelic but the wider culture too, he states.

    Many who do not speak Gaelic are accessing its content, he adds, noting in particular the channel offers sport that is not broadcast elsewhere.

    Mr Cameron notes the young people are less likely to watch linear TV which is an obstacle for BBC Alba.

    Highlighting the BBC contributes 10.7% of BBC Alba's funding, he argues it could be doing much more.

  10. Post update

    Nicola Sturgeon responds to the parliament voting to scrap P1 tests
    Image caption: Nicola Sturgeon responds to the parliament voting to scrap P1 tests
    View more on twitter
  11. Background: BBC Alba

    Mr Cameron will celebrate the tenth anniversary of the launch of BBC ALBA, which is jointly operated by MG ALBA and the BBC.

    He says:

    • over £160 million has been invested in producing its Gaelic language content
    • the station accounts for around 50% of independently-produced hours for audiences in Scotland
    • tthe channel is investing more in its digital content to reach younger audiences
    BBC Alba
    Image caption: BBC Alba

    BBC ALBA can be viewed on the following platforms:

    - Sky 143 (UK)

    - Freeview / You View 8 (Scotland only)

    - Virgin Media 161 (UK)

    - Freesat 110 (UK)

    - BT Vision 8 (Scotland only)

    - Smallworld 170 (Ayrshire and North West England)

    - Live on BBC iPlayer (UK)