Scottish Languages Bill (Scots version) - Gaelic and Scots commitments: consultation analysis

External analysis o responses submittit tae the Scots Government's consultation on Gaelic, Scots and a Scots Languages Bill.

Executive Summary


The report sets furth findins frae the public consultation haudit atween 24 August and 8 December 2022 through the Citizen Space platform and ither engagement methods sic as email, focus groups and ither engagement events. The goal o this consultation is tae gauge public views on the uphaudin o the Gaelic and Scots languages as pairt o the Scots Government’s commitments.

Main Findins

Gaelic Medium Education

Some kenable themes includit an increased need for fundin and resoorces tae forder Gaelic Medium Education. Some barriers that hinder the forderin o Gaelic and Gaelic Medium Education include social stigmas associatit wi the uise o Gaelic and lack o access tae Gaelic educational services. The analysis kythed the follaein action pynts regairdin Gaelic Medium Education.

Awaurness and uphaudin o Gaelic Medium Education
  • Parents should be gied the legal richt tae Gaelic Medium Education.
  • Information and campaigns tae raise public awaurness should be uised tae address the stigmas aroond the uise o Gaelic.
  • Multilingualism should be fordert forrit by showin the benefits o it.
  • The new strategy maun lead tae provisions for secondary and tertiary-level Gaelic education.
  • Insteid o haein Gaelic units ben English-spikkin schuils, staun-alane Gaelic educational provision should be upbiggit and fordered tae allou for mair accessibility.
  • Educational authorities should upbig targeted schemes for adults tae forder their Gaelic lairnin.
Gaelic Medium Education Curriculum
  • Mair inpit frae education experts in the upbiggin o a national curriculum for Gaelic Medium Education maun be considert tae mak siccar that the process is neutral and apolitical.
  • The Gaelic curriculum should include aw aspects o culture and history tae bring aboot a hale-heidit kennin o the leid.
Policy, legislation and pairtnerships
  • There should be policy and legislative provision and forderin forrit for baith Gaelic Medium Education and Gaelic Lairner Education.
  • Statutory guidance on Gaelic education maun be luikt ower again and makkit mair strang. It should include the advisins on Gaelic Education frae Education Scotland.
  • The Scots Government should wirk closely wi ither government departments, local authorities, local schuils, community groups, parents, and ither stakehauders tae mak siccar that expectations and commitments regairdin Gaelic Medium Education are jyned-up.
  • A strategic plan and timetable should be follaed tae phase oot English Medium education awthegither in the Western Isles and ither core Gàidhealtachd areas. Aw English-medium staff left ower in thir areas should be alloued tae acquire Gaelic skills if they hivnae got them awready and inpit tae the Gaelic Medium education sector.
  • Bòrd na Gàidhlig and a new post o a Language Commissioner maun hae pouers tae owersee compliance wi the legal duties o local authorities tae forder and upbig Gaelic Medium education and luik intae ony complaints aboot non-compliance. Local authorities need tae be makkit accoontable regairdin how National Language strategy and local language plans are implementit and how funds are makkit uise o.


For the makkin o a Gàidhealtachd, respondents thocht its boonds should be based on Gaelic’s historical presence in ony gien area. Tae herten and uphaud Gaelic spikkers, public, economic, and infrastructural forderin should be implementit tae allou for and tae normalise the uise o the language. The analysis kythed the follaein action pynts regairdin a Gàidhealtachd.

Definin and preservin a Gàidhealtachd
  • A Gàidhealtachd should comsist o areas with a guid nummer o spikkers. It should be set oot geographically. Houaniver, this shouldnae be at the expense o Gaelic spikkers no bein gien eneuch uphaudin ootside a Gàidhealtachd. The authorities should mak a priority o preservin and forderin Gaelic in the vernacular communities, gien the shilpit set o the leid the noo.
  • A mixter-maxter o national and local plannin maun be in place tae preserve a Gàidhealtachd. Thir should include regular reviews and parritch-plain monitorin metrics tae win at targets and drive chynge. Public and private organisations maun wirk thegither tae upbig and forder a Gàidhealtachd, maist o aw in areas withoot guid nummers o Gaelic spikkers.
Investments for developments in a Gàidhealtachd
  • Resoorcin and fundin need tae be weel-tethert tae local objectives for a Gàidhealtachd. Houaniver, fundin maun be available forby tae lat cooncils forder the uise o Gaelic in communities withoot the makkin o a Gàidhealtachd and mak siccar that local authorities no weened tae be a pairt o a Gàidhealtachd dinnae feel the less uphaudit in their ettles tae deliver the targets set oot in their Gaelic Language plans. Mair-ower, the revitalisation o the Gaelic leid and fettlin up o existin Gaelic communities maun be prioritised in Gàidhealtachd relatit policies.
  • For a Gàidhealtachd tae be makkit and fordered, there maun be an investment in economic benefits and employment opportunities allouin Gaelic-spikkers tae bide in thir Gaelic-majority areas. Issues
  • sic as a want o hooses, ower-dear hoose prices for young fowk, and transport and infrastructural forderin forrit maun aw be taen tent o.
  • For a community tae thrive, cultural initiatives sic as uphaudin traditional/fowk music, promotin local Gaelic airtists, and upbiggin cultural centres and language festivals should be promotit ben a Gàidhealtachd.
Community engagement
  • Ony chynges tae policy structures and the giein-oot o resoorces need tae pit Gaelic-spikkin and Gaelic lairnin faimilies and associatit communities at the hert o the consultation and development focus. Pairtnership and netwirkin ben local communities wad lead tae shared local vision and commitment aw while biggin on and maintainin the priorities ootlined in the National Gaelic Plan. Likes o, the local authority areas o na h-Eileanan Siar, the Hielands, and Argyll and Bute could wirk wi community stakehauders in the sindry districts o the abidin vernacular Gaelic communities tae agree on an operational mechanism tae mak the maist o leid uphaudin and revitalisation ben ilk ane o their regional localities.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig

There wis a mixter-maxter o thochts on the duties, functions, and structure o Bòrd na Gàidhlig. Respondents suggestit that Bòrd na Gàidhlig needs mair fundin for its duties. Some pit forrit that the organisation needs tae be restructured. A puckle threaped aboot the foremaist need tae engage wi communities mair tae airt oot the best weys tae uphaud Gaelic. Last o aw, some respondents wirnae content wi the operations o Bòrd na Gàidhlig the noo and pit forrit that it should be disbandit. Keepin in view the responses mentioned afore, the follaein action pynts could be gied thocht tae.

Functionin and pouers o Bòrd na Gàidhlig
  • Bòrd na Gàidhlig maun hae mair statutory pouers for it tae be able tae cairry oot legal duties regairdin Gaelic Medium Education and statutory guidance relevant tae local authorities.
  • For Bòrd na Gàidhlig and its operations tae dae the job, it maun bring in a siccar monitorin mechanism and strang reportin framewark. There is a need for ootricht transparency on the wark o the Board. The Board maun wirk on collaborative unnerstaunin atween aw pairtners, stakehauders, and communities wirkin taewards the strategic objectives.
  • Richt noo, the set o Bòrd na Gàidhlig is sic that it has ower mony duties with no eneuch funds and resoorces. Mair fundin and resoorces are needit tae sponsor CLD practitioners and ither sma community bodies tae uphaud the Gaelic leid. On tap o thon, the eident and efficient implementation o tentily shapit local authority Gaelic Language Plans maun be sufficiently and fittinly fundit. Wi a range o functions, it wants funds for uphaudin community ongauns and initiatives and giein advice on Gaelic-relatit maitters tae ministers and ithers, amang ither responsibilities.
Pairtnerships and community engagement
  • Bòrd na Gàidhlig should wirk in pairtnership and collaboration wi the Scots Government, ither private and public bodies like MG ALBA and community stakehauders. A representative system needs tae be upbiggit at national and regional levels, forderin community participation aroond community governance, agency, and accoontability.
  • Gaelic language plannin framewark should reflect local circumstances and priorities, which can anely be makkit daeable through context-specific, locally agreed plans. The approach should be flexible, allouin ilka public body/local authority tae consider and identify its ain goals and targets ben the braid framewark o priorities set for Scotland. Ower-aw, the framewark and approach should be less stechie and mair pragmatic.

Scots Leid

Some respondents felt awfie strangly aboot stairtin up a Scots Language Board sib tae Bòrd na Gàidhlig tae forder forrit the Scots Language. Respondents forby pyntit oot the need for mair vital legislation and statutory provisions tae uphaud the leid. There wis a relative want o kennin aboot the wark o Scots bodies that, accordin tae respondents, needit mair visibility and influence. The analysis kythed the follaein action pynts.

Recognition o Scots as an official leid
  • There is a real need for legal and official recognition o Scots as an official minority leid in Scotland through the Scots Languages Bill. Acause there has been, tae a certain extent, a mister-maxter o attitudes tae the Scots leid, initiatives tae mak the leid mair kenspeckle should be uphaudit. The form o linguistic colonisation that has up tae noo dinged doon the leid in the social and legal sphere maun be haunled through a legislative framewark and information campaigns. The linguistic richts o Scots spikkers maun be uphaudit forby.
  • The Scots bodies and authorities maun staunardise the Scots leid. Ony staunardised spellin, grammar and dictionary should follae kenable conventions and historic precedents while accommodatin aw byleids. A staunard orthography o the Scots language is needit for tae heeze up its status and mak practical its uise in communication and education. The Scots Government should set up a leid plannin board o experts tae research, discuss and pit in place an agreed staunardised orthography and grammar for the Scots leid.
  • Scots leid maun be wirked in tae the education system o Scotland. Foremaist wark on the Scots leid and accessibility through education wad include recognisin and certifyin fluent Scots spikkers and supportin the retention o Scots-spikkin
  • teachers at primary and secondary levels aw ower Scotland, but maist o aw in the Scots-spikkin hertlands. Forby Scots bein in Scotland’s mainstream education, new programmes should be upbiggit tae reach mair muckle audiences. Scots universities should be uphaudit tae mak siccar that lairners can follae the study o Scots in-depth and at a tertiary level.
Fundin and investments for the forderin o Scots
  • A consistent cycle o fundin is needit tae upbig and forder ony projects or policies aboot uphaudin the Scots leid. Ony commitment taewards the Scots leid maun be legally uphaudit and hae eneuch fundin. The Scots Government should provide fundin for cultural aspects o Scots, includin fundin for films, opera, braidcastin, media, and ither airt forms.
  • Ony forderin o Scots maun mak siccar that it is inclusive and daesnae uphaud negative and exclusionary stereotypes. The approach taeward the Scots leid maun be apolitical.
Community engagement
  • There should be mair opportunities for engagement wi local communities tae mak siccar o stakehauder involvement. Thir opportunities can include introducin community-based projects.



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