At the end of May 2019, Dìleab aig Deas was held for the first time. This is a new project which aims at developing the Gaelic skills of P7 pupils in Barra and Uist, as well as encouraging them to continue speaking Gaelic once they go on to secondary school. The same type of project for pupils in Lewis and Harris, Dìleab an t-Siorraidh, is now in its second year.
To participate, pupils have to prepare a short presentation on a topic of their choice, before conversing with two judges. Using e-Sgoil technology enables pupils to remain in their schools and converse with the judges through a screen. This year, Catriona Black, Sìne Stewart and Uisdean Robertson shared the adjudicating between them and were based in the e-Sgoil offices at Carinish School for the duration of the competition.
All primary schools in the southern isles were involved with a total of 27 pupils taking part. They spoke about a wide range of topics, including the places they were from, athletics, fishing and piping. Lucy Lindsay will undoubtedly get a gold star for telling us about how much she enjoys Sgoil Dhalabroig! The judges faced a difficult task. Eventually, after plenty of consideration, they decided that Niall MacLellan from Sgoil Dhalabroig had come out on top with his presentation and conversation about crofting. Grace Hamilton from Sgoil Bhaile a’ Mhanaich and Caitaidh MacLean from Sgoil Uibhist a Tuath were joined second. They impressed with the fluency of their speech and range of their vocabulary. Well done to you all!
Every pupil that participated received a colourful certificate as well as £10, with the winner receiving £50 and £30 for those in second place. This year the project was funded by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and Bòrd na Gàidhlig has promised funding to continue Dìleab aig Deas in 2020. The participating teachers have been asked for their feedback for future improvements.
We would like to congratulate all pupils who took part and thank the teachers for their time in preparing for the project. Special thanks to John James who acted as liaison for Sgoil Eòlaigearraidh as they haven’t got a Gaelic teacher!