Manx Gaelic in Education
in the Isle of Man
This synopsis was written originally at the request of Mercator-Education, based at the Fryske Akademy in Ljouwert, Fryslân, The Netherlands, to be one of a series of regional dossiers produced by Mercator on European regional and minority languages. The format of the document reflects this premise.
It is useful as a snapshot of the development of Manx Gaelic in education in the Isle of Man up to, and during, the year 2005.
Manx Gaelic in Education
In the Isle of Man
Introduction to the Isle of Man
The Isle of Man is situated centrally in the British Isles in the Irish Sea. It is an internally self-governing dependent territory of the British Crown. It is not part of the United Kingdom, but is a member of the Commonwealth, and has a special relationship with the European Union through Protocol 3, negotiated through the United Kingdom which acts for the Isle of Man in international affairs.
Tynwald, the Island's two chamber Parliament, consisting of twenty four members of the House of Keys and eight members of the Legislative Council, makes its own laws and oversees internal administration. External issues are administered by the United Kingdom government on behalf of the Island.
The British Crown is represented on the Island by a Lieutenant-Governor with a five year tenure of office, and ultimate responsibility for the Island's government is vested in the British Crown.
The Isle of Man's capital is Douglas, its land area is 572 sq. km, and its population is noted in 2001 as 76,315, giving a population density of 133 people per square kilometre. Its languages are English and Manx Gaelic.
The Manx national census of 2001 contained several questions for the resident population relating to Manx Gaelic:
Do you speak, read or write Manx Gaelic?
Do you speak Manx Gaelic?
Do you write Manx Gaelic?
Do you read Manx Gaelic?
The responses were as follows
Speak, read or write Manx Gaelic 1,689
Speak Manx Gaelic 1,527
Write Manx Gaelic 706
Read Manx Gaelic 910
There was no definition of the amount, quality or fluency of Manx Gaelic spoken, written or read, and it is possible that some respondents who had a limited knowledge of the language answered in the affirmative as well as more fluent practitioners.
The results show an increase in the statistics from the 1991 census when 643 people (0.9% of the then resident population) were recorded as being able to speak Manx Gaelic and 0.7% able to write it.
While there has been a noticeable trend towards more sympathy with, and interest in Manx Gaelic as shown in the census and other statistics over the ten year period 1991- 2001, the actual number of fluent practitioners has increased at a slower rate.
In April 2003 the Manx Government signed the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, thereby agreeing to extend the Charter at Part Two protection level to the Isle of Man. Although Part Three has much more specific requirements for regional or minority language provision, in practice many of these requirements are already being satisfied by Isle of Man Government, particularly with regard to education and heritage. The Charter's requirements for Part Three are being kept under review.
Isle of Man Government's Business Plan for 2005-8 identifies a sense of 'National Identity' as one of six overall aims, to be achieved through the work of Government Departments and Authorities. One specific target of that aim is to increase the number of people involved with Manx Gaelic.
Some organisations involved with Manx Gaelic
Isle of Man Government:
Isle of Man Department of Education (DoE)
including Isle of Man College
including Yn Unnid Gaelgagh [Manx Gaelic Peripatetic Teachers' Unit]
Isle of Man Department of Tourism and Leisure (DoTL)
including Isle of Man Arts Council
Manx National Heritage (MNH)
Manx Heritage Foundation (MHF)
Centre for Manx Studies (CMS) [DoE, MNH, and Liverpool University]
Mooinjer Veggey (MV) [Pre-school Manx Gaelic Education]
including Bun-scoill Ghaelgagh (BsG) [Manx Gaelic School]
including Sheshaght ny Paarantyn (SnyP) [The Parents' Society]
Yn Cheshaght Ghailckagh (YCG) [Manx Gaelic Society]
including Thie ny Gaelgey (TnyG) [The Manx Gaelic Centre]
Banglane Twoaie (BT) [The Northern Manx Gaelic Group]
Caarjyn ny Gaelgey (CnyG) [Friends of Manx Gaelic]
Manx Gaelic – Gaelg Vanninagh
Manx Gaelic is one of the Celtic group of the Indo-European family of languages. For hundreds of years this group, once widespread through Europe, has been spoken only in the British Isles and north-western France.
There are two branches of the Celtic languages. Goidelic (Gaelic) is the branch spoken in the Isle of Man, Ireland and Scotland. Related to it is Brythonic, spoken in Wales, Cornwall and Brittany. These are sometimes referred to as 'P' (Brythonic) and 'Q' (Goidelic) Celtic respectively (Q is often written as C or K in Manx), as some words in the two branches substitute the initial letter – for example, Welsh 'pen' [head] becomes 'kione' in Manx, and 'pump' [five] becomes 'queig'
Manx Gaelic is very closely related to the now extinct Gaelic speech of nearby Ulster (Northern Ireland) and Galloway (South- western Scotland), both of which are visible from the Isle of Man and have had close, if not always amicable, contacts in historic times. The Gaelic speech of the Isle of Man began as an offshoot of Old Irish, arriving in the fifth or sixth century of our era with colonists from Ireland. Before that time it is probable that a form of Brythonic speech existed in Mann
Norse settlements occurred in Mann from the ninth century, but although they established themselves as the ruling class, and, as such, had long lasting influence on political and legal institutions, the Gaelic language survived the Norse period, re-asserting itself by the fourteenth century with minimal Norse influence, apart from some place and personal names. By 1346 English control over the Isle of Man was established although the Norse constitution survived.
The Welsh born Bishop of Sodor and Mann, John Phillips, is credited with the earliest widely known written work in Manx when he had the 'Book of Common Prayer' translated in manuscript form around 1610. A century later Bishop Thomas Wilson published a Manx translation of his 'Principles and Duties of Christianity', using a different spelling system from that of the Phillips manuscript, and forming the basis of modern written Manx. The intention was that the clergy should be able to use Manx 'for English is not understood by two-thirds of the Island.' For the same reason the whole Bible was finally translated into Manx by the clergy and first published in 1775.
In 1765 the Revestment Act was passed, giving much more control to the British Crown over the economy of the Isle of Man. This encouraged an extension of the use of English into the Island, so much so that children born and brought up in the first half of the nineteenth century were mainly bilingual and, of those born during the second half of the century, the majority were brought up in English. None of the known native speakers of Manx who survived into the twentieth century was born after 1878.
From 1901 the decennial census (except 1981) contained various questions on Manx Gaelic, revealing a decline in its use, e.g. 4,419 speakers in 1901; 896 in 1921, to 165 in 1961, two of whom were native speakers. A previous effort in 1946 to find genuine native speakers had found only 20. The last, Ned Maddrell, died in 1974.
By 1971 the trend was reversed with 284 speakers recorded, who had learned the language in adulthood, usually through the efforts of a small group of enthusiasts who had themselves learned from native speakers from the 1930s on, and in turn taught others.
In 1985 the first official, though limited, recognition of Manx Gaelic came through a resolution in which Tynwald declared that the preservation and promotion of Manx Gaelic should be an objective of Isle of Man Government. The Government funded Manx Heritage Foundation set up a voluntary Coonceil ny Gaelgey [Manx Gaelic Advisory Council] whose purpose was to standardise the official use of Manx Gaelic for Government and Local Authorities.
During the 1990s much progress was made in the language revival, both through Government initiatives, particularly in education, and through voluntary organisations. Educational partnerships have been very successful, notably the pre-school Manx Gaelic group Mooinjer Veggey, which has secured considerable support and funding from the Department of Education and the Manx Heritage Foundation.
Isle of Man Department of Education – the Manx Education System
The Department of Education is a Department of Isle of Man Government, led by a Minister for Education, who represents the Department in the Council of Ministers, and two Tynwald members, chosen by the Governor in Council, a Director and Deputy Director of Education and a Civil Service staff.
The main responsibilities of the Department are set out in the Isle of Man Education Act (2001) and accompanying subordinate legislation (2004 and 2005).
There is also at present a popularly elected 15 non-Tynwald member Board of Education (last quinquennial election in December 2002), to whose committees are delegated some Departmental functions, and whose members are also School Governors and/or Governors of the Isle of Man College.
The Department of Education manages 35 primary schools, including a Manx Gaelic medium unit attached to a primary school, and 5 secondary schools, Isle of Man College, and the Isle of Man International Business School.. There are approximately 6,600 pupils in primary schools and 5,600 in secondary schools.
The Manx National Curriculum is based on its English equivalent, although there are some differences.
Subject areas included in the prescribed curriculum are English (Literacy), Mathematics (Numeracy), Science, Design Technology, Information and Communication Technology, History, Geography, Art and Design, Music, Physical Education, Manx Culture and History, (which may be taught through other subjects), and a Modern Foreign Language (currently French, from age 7). Religious Education is classed as a compulsory subject.
Manx Gaelic is available to all pupils on an optional basis of ½ hour per week (from age 8), with an internally validated examination available at both GCSE and A level equivalents. Since the Education Act (2001) came into force, there has been a general statutory requirement for all pupils of compulsory school age (5-16) to be taught elements of Manx Gaelic, and of Manx history and culture in all subject areas where practicable.
To work towards the incorporation of these specifically Manx elements in language, history and culture the Department appointed a half-time Curriculum Development Officer in 2002, who has led the introduction of Manx elements into initial subject areas in the primary curriculum, i.e. History and Geography, with a longer term rolling programme for the remaining broad areas of the Arts (including Literacy) and the Sciences (including Numeracy), and into the secondary curriculum. Individual schools may choose whether to use these Departmental guidelines, but they must, by law, provide an equivalent or higher use and quality of Manx elements within their curriculum.
Isle of Man Department of Education's policy is that all children can start primary school in the year when they become five. For pre-school education, the Department itself runs nursery classes from age 3 upwards in some of its primary schools. Three units within primary schools are managed under three year contracts by Mooinjer Veggey, the Manx Gaelic pre-school education group, and another is under a three year contract to a private commercial nursery school group, all through public-private partnerships. The remainder of pre-school education provision is in the private and voluntary sectors within their own or rented premises, but this sector is declining as more nursery provision is made available in purpose–built mobile classroom units in schools.. A Department of Education pre-school curriculum document for 3-4 year olds is provided for all, although in premises other than schools the Department of Health and Social Security is responsible for standards of nursery provision. Where nursery education is available within a primary school it is free of charge to parents who live within the school's area.
A two year Diploma in Child Care and Education course is provided by Isle of Man College which enables holders to work with children from 0-8 years in nurseries, schools or hospitals. Some trained infant teachers have moved into pre-education in recent years, notably with Mooinjer Veggey.
Mooinjer Veggey was started in 1996 as a Manx Gaelic Playgroup Association, and has more recently become a company limited by guarantee and a registered charity. It was preceded by two other relatively short-lived Manx Gaelic playgroups, Beeal-arrish and Kied Chesmad. Mooinjer Veggey has become an associate member of the Scottish Gaelic Pre- school Council (CNSA) from whom it receives training, support and advice.
Playgroup education offered by Mooinjer Veggey is through the medium of Manx Gaelic in one playgroup, but not as yet in the others, as children for the most part have no family background in the language. However, children learn about Manx Gaelic and Manx culture through play, language games, songs, stories and craft activities.
There are 3-4 playgroups situated in various parts of the Island There are presently 2.5 full time child care post equivalents, where staff are all given training in child care, teaching methods, linguistic development and Manx Gaelic, as are interested parents where possible. A full-time Support Officer is employed by Mooinjer Veggey, who also spends some time within Bun-scoill Ghaelgagh and the Mooinjer Veggey nurseries. Most funding is by means of fees, with any shortfall made up from other external agencies e.g. the Manx Heritage Foundation.
Nursery education provision has been a successful extension of Mooinjer Veggey's work as the Department of Education has expanded its nursery provision within its primary schools. At present, three contract partnerships have been achieved through successful tenders/ business plans. Teaching is not through the medium of Manx Gaelic, but, as in the playgroups, children learn about Manx Gaelic and Manx culture through their educational activities. Staff are employed by Mooinjer Veggey with salaries the same as those for teaching and classroom assistant staff within the Department, and with terms and conditions as closely equivalent as possible.
To oversee Mooinjer Veggey's pre-school provision, with particular emphasis on Bun-scoill Ghaelgagh and the nurseries, an Education Officer is employed for 3 days a week. The post involves much liaison with the Department of Education and promotion of the work of the organisation, in addition to providing teaching cover for staff and acting as line manager.
Compulsory Education (5-11): Primary Schools
There are 4 Infants' schools (ages 4-7), 3 Junior schools (ages 7-11) and 28 Primary schools (ages 4-11) in the Isle of Man. Of these, 1 is a Church of England maintained primary school and 1 is a Roman Catholic maintained primary school. The Bun-scoill Ghaelgagh (Manx Gaelic medium school) is managed by the Head Teacher of one of the primary schools. This particular school has new premises next to its former school building, now used as Bun-Scoill Ghaelgagh and Yn Unnid Gaelgagh (the Manx Gaelic peripatetic teaching team). It is centrally located in the Island at St. John's, the site of the Island's historic annual open-air Tynwald ceremony, where Bills passed by Tynwald, the Manx Parliament, finally become Statutes after receiving royal assent and being read aloud in Manx Gaelic and English from Tynwald Hill.
There is one private fee-paying kindergarden and primary school in the Island, the Buchan School, but no Manx Gaelic is taught.
Yn Unnid Gaelgagh (Manx Gaelic Peripatetic Teachers' Unit)
A full-time Manx Language Officer was appointed in 1992, as a result of public pressure, partly as demonstrated in a public opinion poll in 1991 on the quality of life in the Isle of Man, where 36% of respondents were interested in achieving Manx Gaelic provision within schools for children. Before this date it had been available on a sporadic voluntary basis in some schools, dependent on the interests and availability of individual teachers who were Manx Gaelic speakers and were prepared to run clubs outside the timetabled curriculum.
The Manx Language Officer was appointed to the Department of Education which also employed two full-time teachers on a peripatetic basis and Manx Gaelic was made available on an optional basis to all children aged 7 upwards in both primary and secondary schools. The response far outstripped supply, particularly in the primary schools, and shorter modular courses of ½ hour weekly over a two year period were introduced as a means of catering for demand, as no more staffing was made available. Although a further full-time teaching post was made available for the team in 1999, the age when children can now start a three year modular course is 8 years (i.e. Year 4 of six years of primary school education). This enables the course to progress straight on into the secondary schools at age 11.
Numbers of pupils whose parents wished them to study Manx was initially very high, and is currently averaging around 750-800 primary school children (of a primary school population of around 6,600). A major constraint against a significant expansion in numbers is that Manx Gaelic may be timetabled as an optional subject against any other subject area at an individual school Head Teacher's discretion, including Literacy and Numeracy - or, indeed, has occasionally been timetabled against pupils' play time! Another factor is lack of appropriate teaching accommodation offered in certain schools, e.g. a public Reception area or a corridor are only two examples.
French is taught on a compulsory timetabled basis for 1 hour weekly by a peripatetic teaching team to all children aged 7 upwards..
No existing Manx language teaching materials were available for pupils' use and these had to be prepared by teaching staff, who then used desk-top publishing as the cheapest and most effective means of producing adaptable materials in quantity. A Manx Language Unit (Yn Unnid Gaelgagh) was set up in part of a former school building where this work could be carried out. In 2003 the Unit moved to the same building as Bun-scoill Ghaelgagh, enabling close liaison between the two Manx Gaelic educational providers within schools and the establishment of a central resources area. Resources for pupils' use are still provided by teaching staff, but a major improvement to the system is that there is now a defined progression in language learning from primary to secondary schools.
Bun-scoill Ghaelgagh (Manx Gaelic Medium School)
Bun-scoill Ghaelgagh was established in September 2001, as a unit in an existing primary school, with 5 Reception children and 4 Year 1 children (ages 4-6), and one teacher with one classroom assistant. A parents' pressure group, Sheshaght ny Paarantyn, had been established in autumn 1999 in close liaison with the then playgroup organisation Mooinjer Veggey, to lobby the Department of Education to provide facilities for their children to learn through the medium of Manx Gaelic. Prior to this, teaching for one afternoon a week in Manx Gaelic had been offered to primary school pupils through Yn Unnid Gaelgagh peripatetic team.
A public-private partnership was set up, whereby the Department of Education provided premises and some funding for materials. Teaching and classroom assistant staff are employed by Mooinjer Veggey, funded by the Department of Education, and the school is under the management of the Department's Head Teacher of the neighbouring primary school.
By autumn 2002 pupil numbers had risen to 15, with an additional 10 pupils and one teacher in autumn 2003. In January 2003 Bun-scoill Ghaelgagh moved into much larger vacated school premises, next to new primary school facilities, some of which they share with the former occupants of their building. Present pupil numbers in two classes stand at 28 and will rise to 43 by autumn 2005. As the pupil age range becomes wider and numbers increase, it will necessitate another teacher in the near future.
Sheshaght ny Paarantyn has remained a very active and supportive Parents' Association.
In the early years, teaching is all through the medium of Manx Gaelic and, as the pupils grow older, a greater percentage is taught through English, as there are not currently any facilities to teach any subjects through Manx Gaelic in the secondary schools. Pupils may opt for ½ hour weekly Manx Gaelic lessons in secondary schools, or progress through to examination level in the subject.
In order to assist with the translation and production of materials for classroom use, the Manx Heritage Foundation and Department of Education have, in 2005, funded a full-time post for a writer/ translator, to spend the greater part of the time working on classroom materials in Manx Gaelic, based within Bun-scoill Ghaelgagh. This has been an urgent necessity as all teaching and classroom materials have had to be produced, mostly by the teaching staff. Some funding has been made available since the founding of Bun-scoill Ghaelgagh, again through the Manx Heritage Foundation, but this provision was unable to fill the expanding and increasingly complex needs of the pupils.
Compulsory Education (11-16): Secondary Schools
The Isle of Man's five secondary schools are comprehensive, with each having a number of feeder primary schools in their area. The schools follow the Manx National curriculum, delivered through separate timetabled subjects, in the first three years of secondary education. From age 14 pupils have some element of choice as they follow public examination courses of Examination Boards in England at GCSE level (General Certificate of Secondary Education) and sometimes a mixture of GCSEs and vocational qualifications at age 16. The only public examination for this age group which is set and validated within the Isle of Man is the TCG (Teisht Chadjin Ghaelgagh) [GCSE equivalent in Manx Gaelic] which has been running for a number of years. This is also available to adult learners, who may qualify through a 'distance learning' version of the course.
There is one private fee- paying secondary school which caters both for boarders and for Manx resident pupils, King William's College. At this level it also follows GCSE examination courses, but no Manx Gaelic is taught.
Yn Unnid Gaelgagh
At Key Stage 3 (11-14 years) there is a three year course in Manx Gaelic offered, still on an optional basis, which leads on to the TCG (Teisht Chadjin Ghaelgagh). In the five secondary schools the total numbers of pupils learning Manx at Key Stage 3 is between 30 -35 annually.
In two schools Manx Gaelic at Key Stage 3 is currently timetabled against Personal and Social Education, enabling students here to have a full lesson of 50 minutes per week. Two other schools use class registration time for Manx, so that pupils have 20 minutes per week, and the last school offers Manx for 30 minutes per week at 8.30am with a school opening time of 9am. In the latter case, this effectively excludes pupils who travel to school by bus.
Teisht Chadjin Ghaelgagh (Manx Gaelic GCSE equivalent)
A small but steady number of pupils, around 4-5 per year, have achieved this level in Manx Gaelic at age 16. Pupils in Manx secondary schools are not obliged to study a Modern Foreign Language at GCSE level, but they are offered as optional subjects.
In one school Manx is timetabled as such an option, which ensures that it is timetabled against other subjects, and pupils have three 50 minute lessons per week. The remaining four offer Manx only as an 'extra' subject, and it is not timetabled in the school day. Lessons are either at lunchtime or after school, and pupils here receive the equivalent of two lessons per week. As numbers are small, this has not posed a major problem, but could do so under different circumstances.
The course is modular, of two years' duration, and has no final examination. It is a version specifically designed for this age group of pupils. It has been designed, set, marked, moderated and validated within the Isle of Man with the help of expert speakers, both within and outside of the Department of Education, which issues the certificates..
Further Education (16-19):
1 Secondary Schools;
2 Isle of Man College;
3 Isle of Man International Business School.
1 Secondary Schools
Many pupils opt to remain at secondary school for a further two years to follow public examination courses at AS, A2 and A level (English Examination Boards). Many of these pupils will then go on to Higher Education, either within the College or Business School in the Isle of Man, or at Universities and Colleges in the U.K..
There is a public examination, Ard-Teisht Ghaelgagh (A level equivalent in Manx Gaelic), set and validated within the Isle of Man, available for students aged 16-19 and for adult learners.
King William's College pupils at this level follow courses leading to the International Baccalauréat. Individual pupils could also opt to follow Ard-Teisht Ghaelgagh in Manx Gaelic, but this would have to be studied privately.
Ard-Teisht Ghaelgagh (Manx Gaelic A Level equivalent)
This was introduced and approved by the Department of Education in 2002, but is a course basically designed for adults, as it was realised that numbers of pupils in full-time education would be extremely low. It is a modular course, with no final examination, designed to cover two years within a full-time education framework.
It has been offered in one school as an A level option and to date one pupil in full-time education has achieved this level, having been taught on a fully timetabled basis. This pupil has since gone on to higher education in Britain, where her University of choice accepted her Manx Gaelic A level equivalent on an equal points basis for undergraduate course entry as her other A level subjects.
2 Isle of Man College
Isle of Man College is an affiliated College of the University of Liverpool (England) and its two associated University Colleges – Liverpool Hope University College and Chester University College.
Isle of Man College offers A level courses, many of which are not available in, or do not attract sufficient numbers in individual secondary schools.
It offers full-time and part-time courses for students entering trades, professions or businesses.
Some Foundation Level vocational courses are offered so that students may complete initial training in the Isle of Man for one or two years before progressing on to a University or College in the U.K.
Undergraduate degree courses include one in offered in conjunction with Chester University College (England), in History and Heritage Management with Manx Studies, but this contains no specific Manx Gaelic provision.
No courses are offered leading to qualifications in Manx Gaelic for students aged 16-19.
3 Isle of Man International Business School
The Business School offers qualifications in business related subjects through the medium of English up to, and including, degree level.
Higher Education (including teacher training and in-service training)
Many Manx students progress to Higher Education, either on or off the Island. Isle of Man Department of Education pays student fees and offers a maintenance grant on a sliding scale related to parental income. Approximately 1100 Further and Higher Education and 100 post-graduate students are supported each year.
Within Britain there are a number of Universities which have Celtic/ Gaelic Studies Departments e.g. University of Aberdeen; University of Edinburgh (School of Scottish Studies); University of Glasgow; Queen's University, Belfast; University of Wales, Aberystwyth and Lampeter; and Universtiy of Cambridge.. A few courses offer minimal undergraduate acquaintance with Manx Gaelic. There are no undergraduate degree courses specialising in Manx Gaelic, or offering it as a subsidiary subject. In Ireland there are more Universities with Celtic Studies Departments, but only post-graduate students from the Isle of Man occasionally study at Irish Universities, usually when no suitable programme of study is offered in Britain. No Manx post-graduate students in recent years have offered a dissertation in or on Manx Gaelic.
Post-graduate students may study for a Diploma or Master of Arts degree at the Centre for Manx Studies, a small Centre with a tripartite governing structure –Isle of Man Department of Education, Manx National Heritage (the national museums' service) and the University of Liverpool.. An optional study module for the two year degree course for existing fluent speakers is a study of Manx Gaelic's place in relation to the other Gaelic languages and of literature in Manx Gaelic. 2 M.A. students are currently following this course, and there are an additional 6 students studying it as a stand-alone module.
A postgraduate teacher training course is offered by Isle of Man Department of Education at Isle of Man College where shortages in provision are deemed to occur within the profession in the Isle of Man. No provision for gaining a teaching qualification is currently offered in the Isle of Man for graduates who are fluent Manx Gaelic speakers, although there are teacher shortages within this area.
Adult education courses in Manx Gaelic (evening classes) are available through Isle of Man College. In recent years this has tended to be one class, as the number of voluntary groups and individuals offering classes is high, and their locations are geographically spread throughout the Island. Caarjyn ny Gaelgey and Banglane Twoaie are two voluntary organisations which run adult classes for students at differing levels of language proficiency, in premises rented for the purpose from Isle of Man Government. From time to time individual speakers have run courses.
There is an annual Manx Gaelic Summer School, run under the auspices of Yn Cheshaght Ghailckagh, and subsidised by Isle of Man Government, which has provided two week-long courses at beginners' and improvers' levels since 1993.
Voluntary groups of Manx speakers meet for conversation, either in public or private houses.
A recent development in 2005 has been a series of day long Manx language familiarisation courses for Isle of Man Government employees on a voluntary basis, paid for by the Manx Heritage Foundation, and run by its Manx Language Development Officer in Government owned premises. It is anticipated that this scheme will be extended to employees in the private sector in the near future.
There are opportunities for adult learners to achieve a qualification in Manx Gaelic at TCG or Ard-Teisht Ghaelgagh levels as these are modular courses which do not require attendance at classes and have no course expenses, except for the costs of study materials..
Little research has been done to date on Manx Gaelic in education. There is currently one post-graduate student at the Centre for Manx Studies undertaking a dissertation on 'An Examination of Manx-medium Immersion Education in the Isle of Man', based at Bun-scoill Ghaelgagh.
A shift in the average age of fluent Manx Gaelic speakers is now starting to happen, with the increasing number of pupils at Bun-scoill Ghaelgagh. However, there is as yet no provision for the continuation of this success within the secondary and further education sectors. Expansion is hindered by a lack of qualified teachers, in these sectors particularly, who are fluent in Manx Gaelic, and there is no effective means as yet of redressing this shortage.
It is hoped that Yn Unnid Ghaelgagh may be able to offer Manx Gaelic provision for pupils aged 11-14 who presently must follow a course in a modern foreign language, possibly by offering Manx Gaelic as one of the language options at Key Stage 3. Even were the uptake to be small (and there is no indication that this would be the case) there are not enough teachers to satisfy potential demand. A pilot scheme in one of the secondary schools is being used to gauge demand.
Another possibility being explored is that pupils who will move from Bun-scoill Ghaelgagh may be taught for certain subjects through the medium of Manx Gaelic, within one of the secondary schools.
The current gaps in provision for even limited Manx Gaelic learning within the years of compulsory education are within the age group 4 – 8 years, except within Bun-scoill Ghaelgagh, and the secondary school age group 11-14 years in all schools.
Prospects for achieving a higher number of fluent Manx Gaelic speakers in terms of adult students are greater as the means already exist in the higher and lifelong education sectors.
Manx public opinion is now more favourable to Manx Gaelic provision in education, and, with the prospect of increasing Government financial support for the language, its future seems much brighter than was the case only a few years ago.
References and Further Reading
An excellent Manx Gaelic website can be accessed on email@example.com
The Isle of Man Government website is www.gov.im
Yn Cheshaght Ghailckagh website is firstname.lastname@example.org
Bun-scoill Ghaelgagh website is www.bunscoill.iofm.net
Mooinjer Veggey website is www.mooinjerveggey.esmart.com
The Centre for Manx Studies website is dbweb.liv.ac.uk/manninagh
Acts of Tynwald and Tynwald Reports
Report of the Select Committee on the Greater Use of Manx Gaelic (1985)
The Education Act (Isle of Man) 2001
R. L. Thomson and A. J. Pilgrim. Outline of Manx Language and Literature
Published by Yn Cheshaght Ghailckagh
Brian Stowell and Diarmuid Ó Bréasláin. A Short History of the Manx Language
Published by Yn Cheshaght Ghailckagh
Gallup Survey of the Quality of Life, Isle of Man (1990)
Isle of Man Department of Education Report to Tynwald – The Future Development of the Manx Language (1995)
Philip Gawne. Securing the Future for Manx, A Manx Language Development Programme for the Manx Heritage Foundation and Manx National Heritage (2000)
Isle of Man Government
DOUGLAS IM1 3PW
Isle of Man
Isle of Man Department of Education
St. George's Court
Upper Church Street
DOUGLAS IM1 2SG
Isle of Man
Isle of Man Department of Tourism, Leisure and Transport
DOUGLAS IM1 2RG
Isle of Man
Manx National Heritage
DOUGLAS IM1 3LY
Isle of Man
Manx Heritage Foundation
P.O. Box 1986
Isle of Man
Centre for Manx Studies
6 Kingswood Grove
DOUGLAS IM1 3LX
Isle of Man
St. John's Old School
ST. JOHN'S IM4 3MA
Isle of Man
St. John's Old School
ST JOHN'S IM4 3MA
Isle of Man
Yn Cheshaght Ghailckagh
Thie ny Gaelgey
KIRK ANDREAS IM7 2EW Isle of Man
This regional dossier was compiled by Fiona McArdle with kind permission from Manx National Heritage.
The data in this dossier reflects the school year 2005, unless otherwise stated.
The compiler acknowledges with grateful thanks the information given by Manx Gaelic educationalists Anne Kissack and Rosemary Derbyshire, and the expert advice of David Brown, Isle of Man Department of Education, and Dr. Andrew Foxon, Manx National Heritage.