Between January and April nearly this year 400 pupils in Lochaber received tuition in Gaelic through Fèisgoil with Anne Martin and Ann Stewart delivering workshops developed by Fèisean nan Gàidheal in a ten-week pilot project in 10 schools funded by The Highland Council and the Scottish Government.
The pupils enjoyed learning Gaelic with 95% saying how much they enjoyed the lessons and 87% indicating their wish to learn more.
Dougie Beck, Fèisean nan Gàidheal’s Gaelic Officer, and four pupils from Upper Achintore Primary School attended a meeting of Fort William and Ardnamurchan Ward Members of The Highland Council recently to report progress. A short presentation was made including an opportunity for councillors to chat to pupils about how much they enjoyed the sessions.
Certificates were issued to the pupils by the Lochaber Area Chair, Cllr Thomas MacLennan to acknowledge the effort made by the children in acquiring some Gaelic.
Councillor Hamish Fraser, Chair of Highland Council’s Gaelic Implementation Group said: “I am delighted that the pupils and the teachers had such a positive experience with Fèisgoil. This partnership pilot with Fèisean nan Gàidheal has shown that we need to use every tool at our disposal to provide for the growing demand for Gaelic learning in Highland Primary Schools. I am delighted that both pupils and teachers found this an enjoyable and valuable learning and teaching experience and we will look to see what lessons can be learned for the future.”
Alasdair Allan, Minister for Learning, Science and Scotland’s Languages, said: “I would like to congratulate everyone who took part in the Fèisgoil project. It is particularly encouraging that the feedback from both pupils and staff is so positive and clearly shows the interest there is among young people to learn more Gaelic language skills. Projects like this that use different teaching styles and mediums are playing a crucial role in increasing the number of young people using the language.”
Arthur Cormack, Fèisean nan Gàidheal’s Chief Executive commented: “We are delighted with the success of this pilot project and we look forward to further discussion with the Council on the results of the pilot. A similar pilot project went ahead in Caithness and Sutherland which we are currently evaluating it with early indications being that it was just as successful.”