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Deputy First Minister launches a history of the Gaelic School Campaign in Edinburgh

Deputy First Minister John Swinney MSP presided at the launch of a new history book on Monday, written by Gaelic author Tim Armstrong, a lecturer at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the National Centre for Gaelic Language and Culture.

This new book, Às na Freumhan [From the Grassroots], follows the history of the campaign to establish an all-Gaelic school in Edinburgh, a long, and often contentious fight that lasted a total of 14 years, but that was ultimately won by the parents and the other Gaelic activists lobbying for the school, culminating in the approval of Bun-Sgoil Taobh na Pàirce by the City of Edinburgh Council in 2011.

Speaking at the launch, the Deputy First Minister said: “I am delighted to be able to launch this new book from Tim Armstrong which explores the story behind Edinburgh’s first Gaelic school.

“There has been interest in Gaelic Medium Education within the Capital since the 1980s and this has only grown in the intervening years.

“The Scottish Government has been pleased to support the Council and parents in helping deliver Gaelic medium education and we look forward to working with those who wish to see it expand further.”

Along with the history, Armstrong examines the case for Gaelic schools in Scotland, and makes the argument that establishing more stand-alone Gaelic schools to replace Gaelic units over the coming years will be key for ensuring that Gaelic medium education plays its part in securing the future of the language in Scotland.

“All-Gaelic schools have many advantages,” Armstrong explained. “Educational, social and linguistic, but the biggest advantage of all-Gaelic schools is certainly the chance to promote a strong Gaelic ethos throughout the school.”

“Young Gaelic speakers won’t make much use of their Gaelic outside of school or in the future if the language isn’t important to them personally, as part of their identity as young Gaels. To foster this sort of healthy, positive identity association with the language, educators need to promote a strong pro-Gaelic ethos in all aspects of Gaelic medium provision, and promoting such an ethos is much more practicable in an all-Gaelic school than in a Gaelic unit or in an English-medium/Gaelic-medium shared campus.”

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