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New date set for meeting on roll-out of Gaelic medium education in Badenoch

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 to discuss the roll-out of Gaelic medium education for pupils in Badenoch has been rearranged for next week and will now take place virtually after being postponed due to the rise of Covid-19 in the strath.

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

It will now be held online next Tuesday (August 31) from 6.30pm to 8pm.

The council is proposing to expand provision to children wishing to be taught in Gaelic who would usually otherwise attend English medium primary school education at Aviemore, Kingussie, Laggan or 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 to widen the catchment area is not without controversy with concerns that, in the future, children living 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’s education officers were expected to lay out plans in more detail.

A Highland Council spokesperson said ahead of the new date confirmation: “The public meeting on the proposed Gaelic medium catchment for Newtonmore Primary School was postponed due to a recent rise in Covid-19 cases in Badenoch and Strathspey.

“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 on Monday to postpone the meeting due to the sharp rise in reported Covid-19 cases locally. The council has apologised for any inconvenience.

Anyone wishing to join the meeting and who does not already have the necessary link can request the link by emailing Education.Consultations@highland.gov.uk

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