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Celebration Cèilidh Marks Medium Education at Mount Pleasant Primary School

2nd October 2013

Photograph of Celebration Cèilidh Marks Medium Education at Mount Pleasant Primary School

Pupils and staff from Mount Pleasant Primary School in Thurso were joined by parents and guests to enjoy a special ceilidh today (3 October 2013) celebrating the opening of the first Gaelic Medium department in Caithness.

The school’s Gaelic Medium Department opened at the start of the new school session when 7 pupils from the active Gaelic Medium nursery enrolled into Primary 1. The youngsters are the first pupils in Caithness to be taught via the medium of Gaelic, under the guidance of teacher Mrs Gwen Bowie. The school decided to mark this significant milestone by hosting a cèilidh and inviting local councillors, musicians, and representatives from the local community to participate in the event.

Creating a Gaelic Medium Department at Mount Pleasant Primary came about through the hard work of parents in the area, the Play Leaders in Croileagan Inbhir Theorsa (Thurso Playgroup), the local Highland Councillors and Council Officials.

Head Teacher Mrs Suzanne Urquhart said: “We are very excited about the Gaelic Department in the school which currently has 7 pupils on P1. The Department is already increasing the linguistic and cultural dimension of the school, as the young people are interacting with their peers. Currently there is provision for Gaelic Medium pre-school on the school campus which allows a smooth transition to Gaelic Medium P1. This is a new beginning for language development in the school and the local community.”

Parent Mrs Carol-Anne Farquhar who was instrumental in campaigning for the establishment of the Gaelic Department said: “I’m delighted that we now officially have Gaelic education provision in the Thurso area.”

Councillor Deirdre Mackay Leader of the Caithness and Sutherland Area said: “I am delighted the first term of the new Department has gone so well and I am sure the young Gaelic speakers will continue to thrive under the expert tuition of Mrs Bowie. The school’s Gaelic nursery is very active so I look forward to seeing the new Gaelic Medium Department growing and continuing to flourish over the coming years.”

Councillor Hamish Fraser, Gaelic Spokesperson said: “I have visited the Croileagan and the school a number of times and I’m very impressed with the commitment and enthusiasm of the staff regarding the development of bilingualism with the young children. I am excited that the Gaelic Department is now open and that the young children will benefit from being bilingual. The Councils Gaelic Language Plan states that we will target Gaelic Medium Primary provision in Thurso, this is now being achieved.

He continued: “The census results were recently published and the number of young people learning and speaking Gaelic are increasing this is vital for the future of the language.”

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