Proposal to relocate secondary Gaelic Medium Education to Drummond
On 8th December 2017, a report to the Education, Children and Families Committee of City of Edinburgh Council (CEC) suggested Drummond Community High School (DCHS) as the site for secondary-level Gaelic medium education (GME) in the future. This page contains some background information and updates.
What is Gaelic Medium Education?
Gaelic Medium Education (GME) is when teaching of subjects is in Scottish Gaelic. This is more than just teaching Gaelic as a language. In GME any subject (e.g. history, maths, geography) can be taught in Gaelic.
In Edinburgh, Taobh na Pàirce (TnP) is a primary school in Bonnington Road that is fully GME (dedicated GME). Pupils from TnP go to James Gillespie’s High School (JGHS). At JGHS some subjects are taught in Gaelic for the GME pupils.
What is CEC proposing?
On 8th December, 2017 City of Edinburgh Council (CEC) started an “informal consultation” to:
(1) move secondary Gaelic Medium Education (GME) from JGHS to Drummond;
(2) consider the “opportunity” of Drummond becoming a GME-only school, if demand for GME increases.
If Drummond becomes a GME-only school, it would only admit pupils can speak Gaelic fluently or have had enough GME primary education. Drummond would therefore stop being available to local children at non-GME primaries (i.e. Broughton PS, Leith Walk PS and Abbeyhill PS). The report said that if Drummond parents and GME parents could agree to the plan, there would be a statutory (formal) consultation starting in March.
What has been Drummond Parent Council’s response?
After the proposal parents of children in Drummond’s feeder primaries told the school they were concerned about the proposal. Drummond PC organised a meeting for primary parents on 19th December. All parents were opposed to the idea that Drummond could be closed to English Medium Education (EME) pupils. Many parents feared that if GME joined EME at Drummond, it would lead to Drummond becoming a dedicated GME school and closing to EME children.
We analysed CEC’s predictions of how many pupils will be at Drummond and in secondary GME. We showed that if P7 pupils from TnP started coming to S1 in Drummond from 2019, Drummond could be full by 2022. On 9th January 2018, we published these figures in our Statement of Concern (PDF, 118KB)
What is CEC’s response?
In response to our statement of concern, CEC officers told us that the statutory consultation would not start in March (see CEC Response to statement of Concern (PDF, 36KB) on separate sheet). They said there will be more time for informal consultations. The convenor of the Education Committee, Councillor Perry, has said that there is “no rush”. On 27th February 2018, there will be an Engagement event for parents of pupils at Drummond and its feeder primary schools. At this event various options will be proposed, and parents will be able to give their views on them.
What does this mean if my child is already at Drummond or starting in 2018?
The council has assured us that any child who starts at Drummond will finish at Drummond. If the proposal goes ahead, the first Gaelic-speaking children would be arriving in 2019 at the earliest, and your child’s year would remain taught purely in English.
What does this mean if my child is planning to start at Drummond in 2019?
The council has assured us that any child who starts at Drummond will finish at Drummond. If the proposal goes ahead, the first P7 children from Taobh na Pàirce would be starting in S1 in 2019 at the earliest. We do not know for sure, but it seems very likely that non-Gaelic speakers would be admitted for a number of years after the first year in which P7s from Taobh na Pàirce started. All subjects would still be delivered in English. Some subjects would be delivered in Gaelic as well.
What are parents in Drummond and feeder primaries doing?
Parents from Drummond and the feeder primaries have formed the “Drummond Community” group.
Parents have been writing to and speaking with councillors and attending meetings. Drummond Parent Council is also in contact with council officials and with the Taobh na Pàirce Parent Council.
What can I do?
- Follow the “Drummond Community” on Facebook or Twitter.
- Please consider writing to your councillors using What can parents do (PDF, 293KB). If you get any responses, please forward them to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Please contact us at email@example.com and let us know your concerns.
- This article in the Broughton Spurtle contains a lot of useful background information:
- The Comann nam Pàrant (GME parents organisation) website contains updates about meetings: https://cnpduneideannblog.wordpress.com