RETHINK Over Gaelic Plan After Parents Threaten Boycott

28 January, 2022 | Local

A PLAN to open a Gaelic medium unit at Inverclyde Academy this August is not going ahead after parents said they wouldn’t send their children to it.

Education bosses came up with the proposal because of uncertainty over placing requests for Glasgow Gaelic School.

But it met with strong opposition from the parent group whose children attend the Gaelic medium primary unit at Whinhill School, Greenock.

Ruth Binks, Inverclyde Council’s corporate director for education, communities and organisational development, told the education and communities committee: “It’s fair to say there’s a gap in terms of what the expectations of the parents are and what officers are able to offer.

“Every effort has been made to look at this issue through a variety of lenses.”

She added: “There have been comments raised about potential bullying if Gaelic children go to a secondary school

“I think some of those comments have been aimed particularly at Inverclyde Academy, and some in general, if you have Gaelic medium alongside English medium. But across the country that works very well.

“I think the preconceived issues about the quality of Inverclyde Academy have probably played a factor in parental decisions and choices but what we have said is that Inverclyde Academy provides a very strong and very inclusive education.”

Councillor Stephen McCabe commended officials for their work and said: “I am disappointed to see the level of hostility and mistrust on the part of the parent body towards our officers.

“I genuinely believe it is unwarranted. I believe our officers are committed to trying to develop the Gaelic lanaguage in Inverclyde.”

But he added: “The parents have made it quite clear to us — none of them are intending to send their children to Inverclyde Academy in August. They prefer to make placing requests to Glasgow or Dunoon.

“There does seem a view at this point in time that we shouldn’t proceed with the Gaelic secondary provision because the parent body have made it clear they are not prepared to send their children there.”

Instead the committee agreed that the issue should be looked at by a new advisory group which will examine the immediate and longer term provision of Gaelic medium education in Inverclyde and report back.

Watch the committee discussion on YouTube [From 1hr 57min 20sec]

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