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Dìleab aig Deas

New Gaelic project set up for pupils in Uist and Barra

Dìleab aig Deas, a new project aimed at P7 pupils in Uist and Barra, has been set up in cooperation between e-Sgoil, Urras Dìleab an t-Siorraidh and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. Based on Dìleab an t-Siorraidh, a project that ran for the first time in 2018, children in the southern isles will be given the opportunity to take advantage of their Gaelic language skills by getting involved in an oral assessment.

Each pupil taking part will receive a £10 prize as well as a certificate, and there will be higher rewards for the three highest-placed participants. To take part, pupils have to prepare a presentation of about five minutes on a topic of their choice, before conversing with a panel of judges who will assess their spoken language ability.

Maletta Macphail and Donald Martin, who acted as judges for Dìleab an t-Siorraidh last year, said: “It was obvious that pupils and teachers enjoyed it a lot and we understand that pupils were greatly encouraged by taking part in a project that enhanced their research, language and conversation skills.

Talking about the topics discussed, they said: “It was great that there was a good mixture of topics. Everyday subjects can be just as interesting as things that aren’t as common. A topic doesn’t have to be unusual to lead to a lively conversation.

All Uist and Barra primary schools were made aware of the project early in February and a timetable for the assessments is now being prepared. Pupils can be assessed in their own schools by speaking to the judges through a screen. This is made possible by using e-Sgoil’s technology. The assessments are expected to take place in May.

In accordance with the constitution of Urras Dìleab an t-Siorraidh, a trust that was set up by the Sheriff Colin Scott Mackenzie OBE using £50,000 of his own money, the trust’s finances can only be spent in Lewis and Harris. To offer the same opportunity to pupils in the remaining islands, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has therefore agreed to cover the costs for Dìleab aig Deas this year, while e-Sgoil will be heavily involved in the administrative side of the project. Urras Dìleab an t-Siorraidh is currently seeking funding to continue Dìleab aig Deas in the coming years.

For further information or to register an interest in the project, please contact Mira Byrne: mbyrne1u@gnes.net.

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