Learning in Gaelic aids pupils

Research has highlighted the benefits of Gaelic medium education (GME) for school pupils.

The findings show that pupils undertaking GME perform better than their English-medium peers in English reading.

They perform at least as well in science, maths and English writing.

The study

The University study was carried out by researchers from Celtic and Scottish Studies and the School of Education. It shows that children can acquire or develop a second language without it affecting their progress in other areas of the curriculum.

Gaelic Medium Education

GME means that primary school pupils initially study all of their subjects through the medium of Gaelic.

English is typically introduced only towards the end of Primary 3, with Gaelic remaining the main language for learning throughout primary school.

The research was reported at a conference to mark 25 years of GME, organised by Holyrood Magazine.

It was addressed by Michael Russell MSP, Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning in the Scottish Cabinet.

We welcome this report which adds to a growing body of research confirming that Gaelic education is a success for the pupils involved, and for the Gaelic language. This report shows that attainment among Gaelic pupils is at least as good as that of their peers educated in English.

Arthur CormackCathraiche (Chair) of Bòrd na Gàidhlig

The research conducted by Fiona O’Hanlon, Dr Wilson McLeod and Professor Lindsay Paterson also provides an insight into the motivation of parents in choosing GME for their children.

Additional skills

Parents believe that learning bilingually provides cognitive stimulation, and additional skills in learning further languages.

Some parents also value the Gaelic language as part of their family, community or national heritage, the study revealed.