Two Skye teachers have been shortlisted in this year’s Daily Record Scottish Gaelic Awards.
Today (Nov 16) Gwen Culbertson and Mairi Macdonald will discover if they are to be honoured at the awards, sponsored by Bòrd na Gàidhlig; during the finals ceremony to be held in Glasgow’s Grand Hotel.
The pair have been nominated in the Innovation in Education category for, a website for teachers involved in Gaelic Medium Education which aims to create new primary school resources for Gaelic Medium Education. Other teachers are welcome, and encouraged, to contribute their own resources to help build a bank of material.
Gwen and Mairi come under the umbrella of the Gaelic educational resources organisation Stòrlann Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig which has been nominated for three awards which aim to "reward all aspects of our Gaelic culture, education and language" and "highlight the excellent work undertaken to maintain growth and heritage".
Stòrlann have two nominations in the category of Innovation in Education — for learning resources Go! Gaelic and LASADH — and have also been nominated for the Event award for An t-Alltan, the annual conference for teachers in Gaelic Medium Education.
Based in Stornoway, Stòrlann provide Gaelic teaching materials for schools right across Scotland.
Go! Gaelic is a big online package of resources and support for teachers in primary schools who are teaching the language to children outwith Gaelic Medium Education. The Go! Gaelic programme is highly structured, focusing on 20 key topics and consolidated with the use of multi-media including short films.
These films were launched last month at Mòd nan Eilean Siar and star senior school pupils who have themselves come through GME.
One of the main stars of the films was Katie MacInnnes from Lewis, who has been invited to join Stòrlann representatives at the awards ceremony.
"I’m so very honoured that they’ve asked me to go down," she said. "It’s so very nice of them. They didn’t have to invite me and I’m very excited to be a part of it."
She added: "I absolutely loved the filming experience. I hadn’t done anything front of camera before so it was a completely new experience. I loved getting to meet the people that work in Stòrlann. It’s a great, great organisation."
The third nomination is for An t-Alltan, the annual conference for Gaelic teachers and early years staff. Through a series of talks and workshops over two days, educationalists get the chance to learn about new resources and initiatives. It is growing every year, with 206 delegates — including three from Canada — attending this year’s event at the Macdonald Aviemore Conference Centre in September.
Maureen McKenna, Executive Director of Education at Glasgow City Council, was one of the speakers this year — and welcomed its nomination.
"This year’s An t-Alltan showed that interest in Gaelic has never been stronger. I was delighted and privileged to be given the opportunity to address the conference and see first hand the level of commitment and extent of engagement in Gaelic language."
Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan also welcomed the nominations. "Stòrlann are an essential part of the development of Gaelic medium education throughout Scotland, and are responsible for creating many of the resources on which the sector relies.
"They are a great Hebridean success story, and well worthy of this recognition — meallaibh ur naidheachdan, uile."
Stòrlann chief executive Donald Morrison said: "We’re highly delighted that we’ve been shortlisted for three projects. It’s great to be among all the other wonderful projects that are listed."
Stòrlann chairman Robert Dalzell said Go! Gaelic, with its easy accessibility to online sound files and video, had "brought Gaelic teaching into the 21st Century".
He added that An t-Alltan was going "from strength to strength" and had "become a mainstay for Gaelic teachers seeking professional learning in Gaelic".
There are nine awards categories, ranging from the Learner Award and Young Gaelic Ambassador Award through to the International Award and Gaelic as an Economic Asset Award. The remaining awards relate to Arts and Culture; Community, Heritage and Tourism; and Best Contribution.