Gaelic medium education

Gaelic medium education is available at nursery, primary and secondary school stages in Aberdeen City.

Gaelic medium nursery

The Gaelic Nursery at Gilcomstoun Primary School is a well-equipped nursery and the children follow a similar curriculum as other nurseries but through the medium of Gaelic.

These pre-school years in the nursery allow children to develop their Gaelic language in a Gaelic immersion environment that promotes learning through play.

Parents are welcome to visit the nursery at any time by contacting the school.

Gaelic medium primary education

Gaelic medium primary education is available at Gilcomstoun Primary School.

Pupils are taught entirely through Gaelic during their first three years in primary school. This total immersion is very important, and it means that your child does not have to be fluent in Gaelic when they start school. The immersion also greatly enhances the language skills of children who are already fluent in Gaelic. After P3, English is gradually introduced through the medium of Gaelic, but Gaelic remains the main language of the classroom in all areas of the curriculum. This ensures that the immersion continues until the end of primary school.

Gaelic medium education aims to address the needs of both fluent Gaelic speakers and pupils who do not have full fluency. The total immersion in the first three years and continued immersion after that mean that each pupil who goes through this education system will gain the necessary and appropriate language skills in both Gaelic and English. Pupils will also receive education in all other areas of Curriculum for Excellence. Research shows that when Gaelic medium education pupils reach P7, on average, their English language skills tend to be better than those of their mono-lingual counterparts due to the cognitive benefits of a bilingual education.

A Breakfast Club and After School Club operate in the school.

Gaelic medium secondary education

Pupils can continue studying Gaelic at Hazlehead Acadmey where Gaelic is offered as a subject at all stages.

In S1-S3, pupils will continue their Gaelic medium education by taking part in a wide range of learning experiences such as the study of novels, poetry and drama, creative writing, presentations and projects.

The following courses are available to pupils in S4-S6:

  • Gàidhlig N4
  • Gàidhlig N5
  • Gàidhlig Higher
  • Gàidhlig Advanced Higher

Gaelic learner courses are also available subject to staffing.

The focus of the above courses leans towards a more in-depth study and appreciation of wider aspects of culture, language, literature and media, all of which increase in depth and complexity as the pupils progress through the levels. Advanced grammar and language learning is core to these courses.

Further education and employment

You can study Gaelic at many colleges and universities, either as a standalone subject or as an option. Studying a modern language enhances employability in all job sectors and a qualification in Gaelic or any other modern language is vital proof of communication ability.

Gaelic in the community

In order to develop full literacy skills in Gaelic, it will benefit children in Gaelic medium education greatly if they have access to Gaelic in the community, such as clubs like Sradagan, Club Gàìdhlig Obar Dheathain and Fèis Obar Dheathain. Please see the Gaelic in the community page for more information.

Contact details

Anne Thirkell
Development Officer – Gaelic Education
Aberdeen City Council
Second Floor North
Marischal College
Broad Street
AB10 1AB
01224 522849

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