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Gaelic medium education meeting in Newtonmore postponed due to rise in Covid cases

By Gavin Musgrove

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Newtonmore Primary School which is the only one in the strath which already delivers Gaelic Medium Education.
Newtonmore Primary School which is the only one in the strath which already delivers Gaelic Medium Education.

A crunch public meeting set for this evening to discuss the roll-out of Gaelic medium education for pupils in Badenoch has been postponed due to the rise of Covid-19 in the strath.

The meeting had been due to be held at Newtonmore Primary School which is proposed by Highland Council to become an area wide hub for pupils wanting to be taught in Gaelic.

The provision would be expanded to children who would usually otherwise attend primary school at Aviemore, Kingussie, Laggan and Alvie.

The vast number of pupils pursuing Gaelic medium education presently are from Newtonmore – the only school delivering GME in Badenoch and Strathspey.

But the plan is not without controversy with concerns that in the future children in the village wanting an education in English could lose their place and have to travel elsewhere.

These fears were due to be aired by Newtonmore community leaders and others at the meeting while the council was due to lay out its plans in more details.

A new date for the meeting has not yet been confirmed and it is now likely to be held online on health safety grounds.

A Highland Council spokesperson said: “The public meeting on the proposed Gaelic medium catchment for Newtonmore Primary School has been postponed due to a recent rise in Covid-19 cases in the Badenoch and Strathspey area.

"Local schools were asked to notify all parents by email.

"A new date for the meeting is being arranged, and notification of this will be given as soon as it is finalised.

"Due to the current circumstances, the new meeting is likely to be online rather than face to face.”

Council officials took the decision yesterday to postpone the meeting due to the sharp rise in reported Covid-19 cases across Badenoch and Strathspey.

Highland Council has apologised for any inconvenience.

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