WHY develop a Gaelic Language Plan?

You might have received notification from  Bòrd na Gàidhlig to prepare a statutory Gaelic language plan - or you may have become interested in developing a plan or language policy voluntarily. In either case, it is necessary to have understanding of Bòrd na Gàidhlig and the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act  2005. Reference should also be made to two key publications - "Guidance on the Development of Gaelic Language Plans" and the "National Gaelic Language Plan 2012-17" 

The security and future growth of Gaelic depends upon cooperation and collaboration at every level. Gaelic is one of Scotland's oldest indigenous languages still spoken; it is also a modern, vibrant, irreplaceable language in a fragile position. Gaelic has notably survived hundreds of years of economic hardship and population loss, as well as official neglect. The 2005 Act responded to this reality and established Bòrd na Gàidhlig as a public body that functions with "a view to securing the status of Gaelic language as an official language of Scotland commanding equal respect to the English language". The Bòrd is the primary agency responsible for promoting the language and guiding it toward a sustainable future – a responsibility which is shared across Scotland through delegation and support.

The Bòrd advises the Scottish government and other agencies on Gaelic issues and on the provision of Gaelic Medium Education in Scotland. The Act also tasks the Bòrd with the publication of a national Gaelic language plan at least every 5 years. In addition, the Bòrd is empowered to require public authorities to develop and publish Gaelic language plans.


The National Gaelic Language Plan 2012-17

One of the main functions of the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005 is the requirement for Bòrd na Gàidhlig to develop a national Gaelic language plan at least every 5 years. The national Gaelic language plan belongs to the whole of Scotland  - it aims to provide the whole of Scotland with a strategy for growing and developing the language.

Under the Act the Bòrd may require public authorities to prepare their own Gaelic language plans and these must clearly link to the national Gaelic language plan identifying how their outcomes will add to the growth and development of Gaelic nationally through their organisations' functions. These public authorities are bodies such as yours, whose functions and services are important to the Gaelic language and its users - both learners and those who have spoken it from birth.

The national Gaelic language plan clearly identifies the main priorities for Gaelic and where available resources should be directed - these can be seen in the following section on Gaelic language plan development.

The national Gaelic language plan provides guidelines on priorities that bodies and authorities should address in regard to Gaelic matters and the preparation of Gaelic language plans. It also understands that effective implementation lies at the heart of national and local developments, and includes proposals for strategies aimed at increasing the number able to speak Gaelic, encouraging its use in public and in the workplace, raising its visibility and status, and providing greater access to Gaelic language and culture.