Edinburgh’s first dedicated Gaelic school, Bun-sgoil Taobh na Páirce, opened its doors to pupils today.

The school has been developed on the site of the former Bonnington Primary School in Leith and has 213 pupils on the school roll – 53 of them in P1.

There are 30 Gaelic speaking staff at the school where the curriculum will be taught entirely in Gaelic. It has been funded by the Scottish Government and the City of Edinburgh Council.

Head teacher, Anne MacPhail, said: “It was a real joy to see all the excited faces of the children as they came into the school for the first time today. The opening of the new school is a significant commitment to the future of Gaelic language in the city and I’m really looking forward to working with our pupils, staff and parents to ensure the school is a success.”

Councillor Paul Godzik, Education, Children and Families Convener said: “The opening of Bun-sgoil Taobh na Páirce demonstrates the Council’s long-standing support for the development of the Gaelic language. I hope the pupils and teachers enjoy their new school which is a really exciting development.”

Councillor Deidre Brock, Gaelic spokesperson for the Capital Coalition, said:- “Meall Do Naidheachd! (Congratulations!) to the many people over the years who have championed a Gaelic school for our capital city. It’s a vitally important step forward for this indigenous language of Scotland.”

Alasdair Allan, Minister for Learning and Scotland’s Languages, said: “This is an exciting day as Bun-sgoil Taobh na Páirce pupils get into their new school for the first time. A lot of work has gone into reaching this landmark day and I would like to congratulate the staff and pupils and wish them all the very best for the coming terms. I look forward to visiting again in September when they will have had a chance to settle in.”

School is open to anyone who wants their child to have a bi-lingual education.

Bun-sgoil Taobh na Páirce replaces the Gaelic Medium Education (GME) Unit which was based within Tollcross Primary School and established in 1982.  The unit has steadily seen its roll rise over the years as demand for GME has grown.