Ahead of today's Scottish Parliament scrutiny of the Education (Scotland) Bill, Tavish Scott has raised the issue of forcing local authorities to provide Gaelic education.
If passed in its current form, providing Gaelic education at the request of parents would become a law that local authorities would have to implement. Shetland Islands Council face £3 million of cuts caused by the Scottish Government budget. Schools in Shetland will face further cuts they can ill afford to cope with. There is no new money for Gaelic and a national shortage of Gaelic teachers.
Speaking ahead of the debate, Tavish said:
“Once again, the Scottish Government has refused to recognise that there is no tradition of Gaelic in Shetland. Yet Shetland Islands Council could be left in a position where it is forced to use some of its already stretched budget to fund Gaelic education.
“I know that many parents, teachers and pupils in Shetland will wonder why their government impose an approach to education that would take money away from the needs of schools across the islands.
“It’s time for the Scottish Government to recognise that a one size fits all approach to education is not right. Indeed, if the government were ever to look at Shetland's historical language connections they would find that we have far more ties with Norwegian than Gaelic. Our primary school teachers are already helping pupils with languages. Forcing Gaelic on Shetland is not the right approach."