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Gaelic medium primary education


In August 2017, Bòrd na Gàidhlig advised and funded a group of parent volunteers who wanted to establish an Early Years’ Playgroup in North Ayrshire. The volunteers worked extremely hard on this campaign and since 2017, the interest in GME in this area has continued to grow.

Parents sent a formal application to North Ayrshire Council on 24 January 2019 and after the first assessment, the council concluded that they were willing to introduce GME.

This is the first successful application for Gaelic Medium Education (GME) under the Education Act (Scotland) 2016 and Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s Statutory Guidance on Education.

Educational Provision

Whitehirst Park Primary School in Kilwinning is the base for North Ayrshire Gaelic Provision and started in August 2020 with a Primary 1/2 class. Gaelic Medium pupils will leave Whitehirst Park Primary School with the advantage of having become proficient in two languages, Gaelic and English.

As a parent/carer you have the right to apply for a place at Whitehirst Park Primary School’s Gaelic Provision. There are many publicised educational benefits to learning Gaelic. Gaelic Medium Education is recognised for successful and high-quality achievement in which young people gain all the benefits of bilingualism such as communication, cultural, cognitive and employment advantages.

During the first three years of Primary School, children have ‘total immersion’ in Gaelic. This means that the entire curriculum is taught in the medium of Gaelic. After P3, English is gradually introduced but Gaelic will still remain the main language of the classroom. This ensures that each pupil is able to acquire essential language skills in both languages.

Please have a look at the website for Whitehirst Park Primary School. This contains useful information including external links to Gaidhlig resources. You can also contact Whitehirst Park Primary School if you wish further information about Gaelic Medium Education.

How do I register my child?

Parents of children under the age of five years have a right to request Gaelic Medium Education from the education authority in which your child resides. Gaelic Medium Education can be offered to children regardless of whether the family speak the language.

If your child will begin Primary 1 in August, you should register in your catchment school and submit a school placing request.

The closing date for submitting the placing request is 15 March each year. You will then be informed, in writing, whether or not you have been successful by 30 April.