HC Deb 02 March 1886 vol 302 cc1762-3

asked the Secretary for Scotland, If he is aware that in many districts of the northern counties of Scotland, where Gaelic is the only language spoken by the people, teachers are appointed to Board Schools who are entirely ignorant of the Gaelic language; that their duty is to communicate instruction in English, according to the standard of the Code, to children who are entirely ignorant of the English language; that the instruction so communicated is acquired by the children by rote only, and is of little practical value; and, if the Education Department have no further means in contemplation for remedying this evil than that specified in the Code of Regulations 1886, just issued, section 1, 19 B. 1 (b) and C. 2?


More has been done in this new Code for the Gaelic-speaking districts than the hon. Member points out. Infant children in Scotland may gain an extra shilling if a Gaelic pupil teacher is at work. Intelligence in class subjects is to be tested by answers in Gaelic. These changes the hon. Member refers to; but, besides, there is a special grant for pupil teachers, and Gaelic is recognized as a specific extra subject. All this together comes to a great deal. The appointment of teachers rests with School Boards; and, while the Department gives encouragement to the appointment of Gaelic teachers, it cannot interfere with the responsibility of these representative Boards, who can point to good results obtained by English-speaking teachers, and who would have great difficulty in obtaining suitable Gaelic-speaking candidates for all vacancies.