Gaelic medium education: frequently asked questions

What are the benefits of Gaelic medium education?

There is a range of benefits from learning Gaelic through an immersion approach:

  • Children have a deeper understanding of language and their ability to learn other languages is enhanced.
  • They will benefit cognitively from being bilingual.
  • Children develop a wider knowledge and appreciation of Scottish culture.

Will my child be confused by using two languages?

Evidence suggests that the earlier a child learns another language the easier it is for them to become fluent. Being able to speak more than one language has been shown to bring cognitive benefits.

Do I need to be a Gaelic speaker for my child to go to a Gaelic medium nursery/primary school?

No, you don't need to be a Gaelic speaker but learning some Gaelic will further support your child’s developing Gaelic language. See the Learn Gaelic in Aberdeen page for more information.

What will my child do in Gaelic medium nursery?

The children follow the same curriculum as other nurseries. An understanding of Gaelic language is developed through play, conversation and songs by a fluent Gaelic speaking teacher and nursery nurse.

How do I enrol my child for nursery?

You can apply for a place in the Gaelic medium nursery at Gilcomstoun Primary by contacting the school directly.

Will my child be able to go to Gaelic primary school?

Any child can enter Gaelic medium education from Primary 1. However children will benefit greatly from 2 years in the nursery before entering Primary 1.

As Gilcomstoun Primary School is the only provider of Gaelic medium education in Aberdeen, your child will be able to enrol for Gaelic medium primary education there regardless of which catchment area you live in. Surrounding local authorities may support children wishing to travel to Aberdeen for Gaelic medium education.

What happens when my child goes to primary school?

In Primary 1 to Primary 3, Gaelic is introduced using total immersion. In Primary 4, English is introduced into the curriculum and Gaelic continues to be used to teach the majority of the curriculum. By the end of their primary education, pupils will have completed the same curriculum as English medium classes but will be have additional fluency in Gaelic.

Does it matter if I can't help with homework?

Parents are not expected to be able to read, speak or understand Gaelic. However, it will greatly support your child’s developing Gaelic language if you can learn some Gaelic. See the Learn Gaelic in Aberdeen page for more information. Help is also available via the Gaelic 4 Parents website.

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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