Glasgow & West Scotland

Call for third Gaelic school in Glasgow

Pupils in school holding up hands generic Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Pupils are taught lessons in Gaelic and also study English

A third Gaelic primary school is to be considered for Glasgow to meet spiralling demand.

Glasgow City Council will launch a formal consultation after the Spring break as pressure grows for places at the existing two schools.

About 900 pupils attend Gaelic schools in the city, which are currently sited at Finnieston and Pollokshields.

A recent meeting of the council's education committee heard neither school had the capacity to meet demand.

As of January this year, there were between 130 and 140 applications across the two schools for entry to P1 in August 2017. The committee heard that "neither school has the capacity to sustain this intake."

The committee further expressed concern about the eventual impact of the high number of applications on the Gaelic Secondary at Berkeley Street in the city.

'Roll projections'

The popularity of a bilingual education among parents has led to the upsurge in Gaelic Medium Education (GME), where pupils are taught lessons in Gaelic as well as studying English.

That comes despite figures showing that less than 20% of pupils attending the schools came from families where Gaelic was spoken as a first language.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Glasgow Gaelic School at Berkeley Street in the Finnieston area houses primary and secondary pupils

Bailie Liz Cameron, executive member for children, young people and lifelong learning at the local authority said: "Glasgow is proud to be the largest provider of Gaelic Medium Education outside of the Highlands and Islands and we are now planning for the future as demand for GME rises each year.

"After hosting successful engagement sessions with current and potential families at the end of last year we are now recommending a formal consultation on a potential third primary school in the city.

"I know this will be warmly welcomed by the Glasgow Gaelic community as school roll projections predict that demand will overtake school places at Berkley Street and Glendale primaries."

The education committee pointed out that the pressure on places meant the timescale required to build a new primary from scratch was too long.

They have suggested making use of the current Gowanbank Primary School building or another former primary school building in the Govan area of the city, which is likely to become surplus to requirements before August 2018.

The proposals will be discussed at a meeting of the children and young people policy development committee on 16 March.