Scottish Minister officially opens Scotland’s fourth Gaelic school
Dr Alasdair Allan MSP, Minister for Learning, Science and Scotland’s Languages, officially opened Bun-Sgoil Ghàidhlig Loch Abar today (4 March) by unveiling a plaque at the new school.
Minister for Learning and Scotland’s Languages Dr Alasdair Allan said: “I am delighted to officially open Scotland’s fourth Gaelic school which is also a great facility for the community. Highland has a rich and enduring Gaelic heritage and a quality Gaelic education brings cultural, economic and social benefits to the area.
“The Scottish Government has been working closely with Highland Council to increase the number of pupils and schools offering Gaelic Medium Education. Education is key for the growth and survival of the language and this is good for the whole of Scotland. We look forward to continuing this successful relationship with Highland Council in the future.”
Located in Caol, Fort William, the school is Scotland’s fourth and Highland’s second dedicated Gaelic Primary School.
Councillor Drew Millar, Chair of Highland Council’s Education, Children and Adult Services Committee said: “This official opening today in Lochaber marks another achievement by Highland Council in its commitment to Gaelic Education which is further demonstrated by Highland Council’s announcement this week of its award of contract for an £8.7 million new Gaelic Primary School in Portree.”
Councillor Hamish Fraser, Chair of Highland Council’s Gaelic Language Implementation Group added: “Bun-Sgoil Ghàidhlig Loch Abar is a major boost for the development of the Gaelic language. It complements 3 other existing standalone Gaelic schools in Inverness, Glasgow and Edinburgh.”
The unveiling ceremony was opened and closed to the sound of bagpipes with Dr Allan and Bill Alexander, Highland Council’s Director of Care and Learning addressing the gathered guests. During the opening ceremony, pupils sang the Gaelic song ’S Truagh nach robh mi còmhla riut.
Lochaber Area Committee Leader, Councillor Thomas MacLennan said: “Not only is this an outstanding school but it is an excellent community facility that supports and provides opportunities and access for local people. I am delighted that it is strengthening partnerships with Gaelic organisations across Lochaber and further afield.
“Some of the groups using the school include: Pàrant is Pàiste (Mothers and Toddlers), Cròileagan Grianach (2 year old playgroup), and Fèis Lochaber. Bòrd na Gàidhlig, Fèisean nan Gàidheal and Comunn na Gàidhlig also have offices in the school.”
Frank Reid, regional managing director of construction firm Robertson said: “We’re very proud to have worked on such an important building for the area and for Gaelic culture. To be here today and see this fantastic facility in operation is very gratifying and we’re delighted to have helped deliver something that has been so well received by the community.”
Current and former pupils and parents will take part in a celebratory cèilidh this afternoon providing their own selection of entertainment. In the evening a fundraising cèilidh with local musicians and former pupils starts at 7.30pm, all are welcome and tickets are available at the school.
Bun-Sgoil Ghàidhlig Loch Abar opened its doors to pupils at the start of the 2015/16 academic year on Wednesday 19 August 2015 with the appointment of Head Teacher John Joseph MacNeil. The current pupil roll is 70 Primary and 15 Nursery pupils. The school offers wrap around care until 6pm for children through the medium of Gaelic.