Scottish Languages Bill: children's rights and wellbeing impact assessment

Children's rights and wellbeing impact assessment (CRWIA) for the Scottish Languages Bill. This is legislation which seeks to advance the status of, and provision for, the Gaelic and Scots languages.

2. Which aspects of the relevant proposal currently affects or will affect children and young people up to the age of 18?

The Bill has a pronounced focus on educational and community development matters. As such each of its provisions has the potential to affect children and young people.

The Bill makes statements regarding the official status of Gaelic and Scots. These will positively impact Gaelic and Scots speakers of all ages, reaffirming the standing of the two languages within Scotland and the recognition of their speaker communities.

Part 1 Chapter 1 of the Bill focuses on the general support of Gaelic across Scotland’s public life. In place of the current system where Bòrd na Gàidhlig produces a National Gaelic Language Plan outlining the development of the language, Scottish Ministers will produce a Gaelic Language Strategy. This strategy may be accompanied by standards and regulations detailing the extent to which different public bodies are expected to provide for Gaelic in pursuit of the Strategy’s aims. Such a strategy will relate to all aspects of Scottish public life. This is demonstrated by the current system of Gaelic Language Plans, with around 60 individual plans being implemented by public bodies covering the breadth of the public sector.

The establishment of areas of linguistic signficance within local authorities will allow for Gaelic development to be better integrated with local community development. Among the aims of this measure is to enable the better integration of community based activities with Gaelic education.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig will retain its role as a monitoring body in the implementation by public bodies of the new Gaelic Language Strategy. It will also focus on the delivery of the Strategy at community level. This will allow the Bòrd to continue imparting the considerable experience it has of educational matters for the benefit of young Gaelic speakers.

The Bill’s measures on behalf of Gaelic education will increase the access which children and young people have to this service. Since its establishment in 1985 Gaelic Medium Education has grown to become a successful minority sector within the wider Scottish state school system. Gaelic Learner Education has also made similar progress. However, gaps and challenges in provision remain. In this regard the Bill’s aim is to ensure that children and young people who wish to pursue their school careers through Gaelic, or have the chance to learn Gaelic while part of English Medium Education, are given the fullest opportunity to do so.

The Bill contains provisions for a Scots Language Strategy, standards and regulations similar to those outlined for Gaelic. The implementation of these will similarly benefit young Scots speakers and their communities. It will also improve access to learning opportunities within the two languages – as well as the wider cultural and artistic world they foster – for all those who speak or otherwise have an interest in them.

The Bill makes a range of provisions which have implications for Gaelic and Scots speakers. Therefore, there is a range of proposals that will affect children and young people where they are part of those speaker groups. For example statements as to the ‘official status’ of Gaelic and Scots within Scotland will impact positively on speakers of all ages. Part 1 Chapter 2 and Part 2 Chapter 2 of the Bill deal respectively with education for Gaelic and Scots. There are duties on Scottish Ministers and education authorities to promote and support Gaelic and Scots language education as well as powers to set standards and give guidance. This range of measures will enhance the status of the two languages and their speaker communities.

The benefits of this, and their relation to child rights and wellbeing, will be further explored in stage 2 of the CRWIA.



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