Coun­cil re­jects school teacher plea

The Oban Times - - News -

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.’

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