Gaelic language plan 2022 to 2027

Third iteration of our Gaelic language plan - produced under the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005. It outlines the steps we are taking to support Gaelic and Gaelic speakers within our internal operations.

Appendix – Public Consultation


On 15 July 2021 the Scottish Government published their draft Gaelic Language Plan for 2021-26. Statutory Gaelic Language Plans are prepared by public authorities as required by Bòrd na Gàidhlig as a provision of the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005.

The preparation of Gaelic Language Plans by public authorities ensures that the public sector in Scotland plays its part in creating a sustainable future for Gaelic by raising its status and profile and creating practical opportunities for its use.

The Scottish Government was among the first public authorities to develop and implement a Gaelic Language Plan, in which it laid out the steps it would take to increase the use of Gaelic in its daily operations, as well as how it would support Bòrd na Gàidhlig in the fulfilment of the commitments made in the National Gaelic Language Plan. As part of the process set out in the 2005 Act, Gaelic Language Plans are up for renewal every five years.

What did the consultation cover?

The consultation on the Draft Plan ran between 15 July and 9 September 2021, and invited comments on the commitments made by the Scottish Government with regard to:

  • Increasing the use of Gaelic
  • Increasing the opportunities to learn Gaelic
  • Promoting a positive image of Gaelic

as well as inviting any further comments on the Plan.


A total of 51 responses were received. These came from five local authorities, two national Gaelic development bodies, an independent Gaelic arts organisation and 43 individuals.

As the consultation was held bilingually, six responses were received in Gaelic and 45 were received in English.

Where respondents have given permission for their response to be made public, these are available at the Scottish Government's consultation site.

Overall findings

The considerably higher response rate to this consultation compared to the Scottish Government's previous GLP (51 respondents to nine) meant a more varied range of opinion. This is especially true of the individual responses.

However, many of the individual responses misunderstood the purpose of the consultation. In many instances it was used as an opportunity to provide general comments about Gaelic policies or the language's standing in Scottish public life without engaging with the document or its specific purpose with regards to the Scottish Government's internal operations.

This was predictably true of the respondents hostile to Gaelic. However, it also applies to some of those supportive of the language and the GLP's aims but who mistook the document as relating to things such as local authority provision for Gaelic-medium education or private sector opportunities to use Gaelic.

The overall response to the consultation showed general support for the commitments made in the Scottish Government's Gaelic Language Plan, particularly regarding its role in achieving the aims of Bòrd na Gàidhlig's National Gaelic Language Plan.

Several points were raised regarding specific commitments within the Scottish Government's areas of operation, e.g. visibility of Gaelic in SG buildings and staff training. Some revisions were suggested to clarify these commitments. Other points were raised regarding how the commitments made in this plan applied to SG Agencies, NDPBs and other public authorities operating in Scotland, and the importance of the SG leading by example for these organisations.

Several respondents mentioned specific points regarding Gaelic education policy, and the Gaelic provisions outlined in the Education Bill currently before Parliament.

Next Steps

We would like to thank all organisations and individuals who responded to the consultation. The results of the consultation have fed back into the Scottish Government's Gaelic Language Plan 2022-27.

Assessment of Responses

Question 1(a) – What are your views on the Scottish Government's Core Commitments in Chapter IV, regarding Identity and Visibility?

It was acknowledged by most respondents that good progress has been made in this area by the Scottish Government since it first produced a Gaelic Language Plan in 2010, and recognised that our ongoing commitments and High Level Aims will help to further increase the profile of Gaelic in Scotland.

Specific points were raised in response to this question regarding the visibility of Gaelic in signs, letterheads and the SG logo, all sectors which have seen good progress but will continue to be developed further.

Question 1(b) – What are your views on the Scottish Government's Core Commitments in Chapter IV, regarding Communications and Publications?

New commitments introduced in this section, for example the availability of a Gaelic-speaking spokesperson for media statements, and the increase of Gaelic presence on SG websites and social media, were acknowledged as positive steps.

One organisation responding to the consultation requested that good practice and policy developed by the Scottish Government regarding its use of Gaelic be made available and shared with public bodies and authorities. This is a commitment which will continue to be explored and shared between organisations with Gaelic Language Plans, and those developing Gaelic Language Plans in the future through Bòrd na Gàidhlig and the GMòr networking group of Gaelic Officers throughout the Scottish public sector.

Question 1(c) – What are your views on the Scottish Government's Core Commitments in Chapter IV, regarding Staffing and Training?

Availability of Gaelic language training for Scottish Government staff was mentioned by several respondents as an important part of the Scottish Government's commitment to the Gaelic language. Clarification was requested regarding some aspects of this commitment, but the aim to support staff who wish to learn Gaelic was welcomed.

One respondent requested that any training resources developed by the Scottish Government for staff training in Gaelic be made available for other public sector bodies.

Question 2 – Do you have anything further to suggest regarding the Scottish Government's Gaelic Plan as a whole, and its effectiveness in fulfilling the objectives of the National Gaelic Language Plan?

This question elicited a great range of responses and suggestions from all respondents, with several respondents commenting on Gaelic education and the Scottish Government's role in its delivery specifically.

The Scottish Government's role in setting a direction and example for all public sector bodies in Scotland was mentioned by many respondents. The importance of close collaboration and sharing of good practice and resources was highlighted as a priority in achieving the aims of the National Gaelic Language Plan.

Specific points mentioned in response to this question included:

  • National Gaelic education demographics – could more detail be included regarding different levels of Gaelic education?
  • Gaelic-medium education – one respondent mentioned possible drawbacks of Gaelic-medium-only schools, with compulsory English, Gaelic & one other language recommended in schools across Scotland instead.
  • Another respondent referred specifically to the Gaelic provisions in the Education Bill currently before Parliament, and that strengthening these should be a priority in the delivery of the Scottish Government's commitments regarding raising the number of Gaelic speakers and the delivery of the National Gaelic Language Plan.
  • The importance of Gaelic as an economic and social asset – one respondent requested that this be included in the commitments regarding the National Gaelic Language Plan.

Scottish Government Response

The Scottish Government welcomes all responses received to the consultation, and the variety of views on its Draft Gaelic Language Plan.

Based on the feedback received, several amendments were made to the Plan before its submission to Bòrd na Gàidhlig for approval. These aim to clarify several aspects of the commitments made by the Scottish Government with regard to Gaelic in its areas of operation and its role in achieving the aims of the National Gaelic Language Plan.



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