HALF of Scottish parents want their children to have the right to attend a Gaelic school.
New data from the 2012 Scottish Social Attitudes survey found that 48% of Scots think children should be able to attend a school where they are taught in Gaelic rather than English.
The survey found that out of 1,229 people, half felt that pupils should be entitles to attend specialised Gaelic teaching units to learn subjects such as maths and history – regardless of where they live.
91% of those interviewed thought parents in Gaelic-speaking areas, such as the Western Isles, should have a right, while 8% did not favour the idea anywhere in Scotland.
Just over one third (34%) said people should be able to use Gaelic with medical staff in the NHS throughout Scotland, while 71% agreed with this right in Gaelic-speaking areas.
About a quarter (27%) did not accept the right anywhere in Scotland.
76% of those interviewed said they saw Gaelic as “an important part of Scottish heritage”, while 86% consider it an important part of the heritage of the highlands and islands, and 24% feel it is important to their own heritage.
Professor Lindsay Paterson of Edinburgh University, who led the research, said: “These results show widespread support for Gaelic, probably much more extensively than is often supposed.
“The results also confirm that official efforts by Scottish governments of all political parties to raise the visibility and status of Gaelic are having an effect.
“We can safely say that Gaelic is regarded now as an important part of Scottish culture.”
Last year a flagship Gaelic school came under fire for hiring a new headteacher – who is from Sweden and does not speak Gaelic.
Angry parents criticised Highland Council after they decided to waive the mandatory condition that applicants for the post must be Gaelic speakers.
Annika Jansson, who has been the acting head at the primary in Inverness, is now poised to take the top job and a salary of £48,000-a-year.