Council rejects school teacher plea
CALLS to permanently increase the number of teachers at a Gaelic school on Skye have been rejected by Highland council.
Parents of Bun- Sgoil Shlèite (Sleat primary school) pupils, the first Gaelic school with an English unit in Scotland, asked the local authority to retain a teacher who has been covering maternity leave, despite the original employee returning to work, to maintain a higher standard of education. This extra teacher would allow primary four pupils, who are introduced to English language, to be taught in a separate class from primary one to three children, who are still educated through ‘total immersion’ in Gaelic. A 700-strong petition campaign against the cut was provided to Highland council’s education, children and adult services committee, ahead of a meeting last Thursday (August 27). It said: ‘Total immersion is vital in Gaelic medium education and this would be lost as English is introduced in primary four. Furthermore, Bun-sgoil Shlèite has a teaching head teacher, a role which in a Gaelic school with an English unit comes with a number of very specific duties and extra pressures. The loss of a teacher would add significantly to those pressures.’
But members of the education committee endorsed the current teacher to pupil ratio. Bill Alexander, director of care and learning, said no member of staff had been ‘removed’ as the probationer wasn’t a permanent role. He added: ‘The area care and learning manager has been in touch with the school and is confident we can deliver Gaelic medium education at Sleat primary school within the existing policy.’