Gaelic in schools

Gaelic Education in Scotland is delivered in two main forms: Gaelic Medium Education and Gaelic Learner Education.

Learning about Gaelic language can deepen students' understanding and appreciation of Scotland's heritage and its place in the world.

Learning Gaelic can help young people build on their own language and other languages they may be learning, contributing further to their self-confidence and sense of accomplishment.

Gaelic Medium Education

Gaelic Medium Education (GME) is for any pupil regardless of the language of the home.

In choosing GME parents should recognise that pupils would be taught entirely in Gaelic for the first three years in primary school. This full immersion process is important in helping children to learn the language, and means that children don't need to have Gaelic before starting school.

From the end of Primary 3 onwards English is gradually introduced through the medium of Gaelic, but Gaelic is still the main language of teaching.

Gaelic Learner Education

Gaelic Learner Education sits alongside the teaching of other languages. Gaelic is learned in the same way as French, German and other languages that are taught.

As part of Scotland's Languages Policy all schools in Aberdeenshire are encouraged to consider Gaelic Learner Education as an L3 (beginning at any point between Primary 5 and Primary 7) option.

In Aberdeenshire opportunities to learn Gaelic in schools are supported through a range of courses and centrally provided resources. All our schools are encouraged to engage with the Gaelic Learner provision through e-Sgoil and the Northern Alliance.

Assessment request for GME

If you would like your child to access GME and they have not yet started to attend a primary school you can make a request for an assessment of need for Gaelic Medium Primary Education (GMPE).

We are committed to responding to requests and interest shown by families and young people for provision within Aberdeenshire Schools of Gaelic Medium Education. 

The parent or carer of any child or young person can make a request to attend any school which offers GME. This will enable your child to be taught by specialist staff.

At present we don’t offer Gaelic Medium Education within Aberdeenshire schools. However, we will provide transport to other local authority schools that offer Gaelic education and share a boundary with Aberdeenshire.

There are Gaelic Medium Units within Gilcomston Primary School and Hazlehead Academy in Aberdeen City.

Before you make a request

If you wish to request an assessment of the need for Gaelic education for your child, view the statutory guidance on Gaelic education introduction published by Bòrd na Gàidhlig, the public body responsible for the Gaelic language. This introduction provides an overview of how the assessment process works, along with what evidence you need to provide with your request. The guidance also provides general information on how Gaelic education is currently delivered in Scotland. 

How to request an assessment

You can request an assessment of the need for Gaelic education using the forms on the Scottish Government website. Forms are available in English and Gaelic. 

Please send your completed form to our Education and Children’s Services:

Aberdeenshire Council
Education and Children’s Services
Woodhilll House
Westburn Road
AB16 5GB


For general questions about the GMPE assessment request process you can contact Bòrd na Gàidhlig and for questions relating to Gaelic education, you can contact the Scottish Government Gaelic and Scots Team