danieldwilliam: (machievelli)
[personal profile] danieldwilliam

Schools in south Edinburgh are pretty much full. Some combination of immigration, a spike in birth rates and the general good quality of the schools attracting people to the area means that most of the primary schools and all of the secondary schools are expected to be over-subscribed over the next ten years.

Various people are trying to find various ways of addressing - basically building a new primary school and a new annexe for the secondary schools.

One of the factors that is driving increased rolls is that my local secondary school picks up the Gaelic Medium teaching for Edinburgh and the Lothians.

I've been very sceptical about the promotion of the Gaelic language in southern and eastern Scotland for years now. Now the implications of the policy are begining to impact my own children's education I'm now more personally sceptical.

Date: 2016-05-25 10:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] widgetfox.livejournal.com
I don't understand?

Date: 2016-05-25 10:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] danieldwilliam.livejournal.com
Gaelic is encouraged as a language option for all children in Scotland.

If you wish to be taught in Gaelic in Edinburgh or the Lothians you are sent to a primary school not far from where I live.

When you finish primary school you go to the high school exactly where I live where you continue to be taught in Gaelic.

So this means that an additional primary school's worth of kids from all over the Greater Edinburgh area are being funnelled in to what will become The Captain's secondary school. It is already full and getting fuller. If we did not teach Gaelic, or if we did not teach Gaelic in the way we teach Gaelic, those children would be dispersed around dozens of other primary and secondary schools.

I'm not sure, I've never been sure that teaching kids in Gaelic in parts of the country which haven't spoken Gaelic in a thousand years is a great use of public funds. It's akin to teaching kids in Yorkshire in Yiddish or teaching kids in kids in Arizona in Algonquin.

When it becomes a factor in overcrowding my own kid's school it becomes personal.

Date: 2016-05-25 10:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] danieldwilliam.livejournal.com
There is also more than a suggestion that some parents are opting in to the Gaelic education mostly in order to get their child in to the catchment area of my local high school.

So, grrr!

That said, the Gaelic language eduction piece is probably not the biggest factor in the over-crowding. That's probably the financial crash.

Date: 2016-05-25 04:52 pm (UTC)
andrewducker: (Illuminati)
From: [personal profile] andrewducker
Was there not also a dip in child numbers, at which point they closed some schools, only for the numbers to sharply rise again?

Date: 2016-05-26 10:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] danieldwilliam.livejournal.com
I think the two fundamental city-wide drivers behind the problem are a) the impact of the Great Recession means that slightly fewer kids are going to private school in Edinburgh and b) wrong planning assumptions - the planning assumption was that the many Accession Eight nationals who were living and working in Edinburgh would go "home" before they started having a family and for a variety of reasons many of them have decided that home is Edinburgh. This seems to have affected the maternity hospital too.

Locally, for me, this is being exacerbated by a trend of moving into my suburb in order to get your kids in to the local schools and the way the Gaelic Medium education stream is located and funnelled in to the local high school (whch isn't their fault, but I'm going to blame them anyway.)

Date: 2016-05-25 06:06 pm (UTC)
ggreig: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ggreig
I empathise regarding the personal effect, but isn't this "Popular subject is too popular"? Surely what's needed in that case is more resource for the popular subject, which has proven its relevance to peoples' lives and identity.

(Background: I never learned Gaelic at school in Argyll, but I and most of my friends agreed at the time that we would have if it had been an option. My Dad was a modern languages teacher who would have loved to see that much interest in a language, although personally he might have preferred it to be French or German.)

Date: 2016-05-26 09:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] danieldwilliam.livejournal.com
I am not convinced that it is a case of popular subject is too popular.

We're talking one small primary school worth of kids in a catchment area that includes 94 primary schools in Edinburgh plus however many in the Lothians. There are 13,000 Polish people in Edinburgh and I don't think they get their own primary school. I'd be willing to make a small wager that there were about the same number of Polish speakers in the south Edinburgh catchment areas affected as there were Gaelic speakers.

I'd happily help fund a Polish-English dual language school.

It just so happens that they all end up funnelled into one medium sized and over-capacity secondary school.

There is also a suspicion that the choice of the parents of many of the kids to place their kids into Gaelic Medium education is driven by the fact that the kids then fall in the catchment area of a particularly good school. So it's not the language that is popular but the short-cut in the particular school.


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