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Factors influencing the likelihood of choice of Gaelic-medium Primary Education in Scotland: Results from a national public survey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-75
Number of pages27
JournalLanguage, Culture and Curriculum
Issue number1
Early online date26 Sep 2016
StatePublished - 2017


This paper investigates the factors influencing the likelihood of choice of Gaelic-medium primary education in Scotland by means of the analysis of a national survey of public attitudes conducted in 2012. Binary logistic regression is used to investigate the association of five dimensions found in previous literature to be associated with the choice of Scottish Gaelic-medium education: (i) demographic characteristics (ii) exposure to Gaelic (iii) cultural and national identities (iv) views on the future of Gaelic and (v) views on Gaelic in education. The present research found views about Gaelic in education and views on the future of Gaelic to have the greatest explanatory power in predicting likelihood of choice of Gaelic-medium education, for demographic characteristics and ‘cultural and national identities’ to have substantial explanatory power, and for exposure to Gaelic to have low explanatory power. The paper uses Baker’s (2000) three contexts for the growth of bilingual education in Wales – bilingual education as language planning, as pedagogy and as politics – as its explanatory framework, and shows that these three contexts also underpin the potential growth of Gaelic-medium education in Scotland. Potential implications for policy and for methodological approaches to studying choice of bilingual education are presented.

    Research areas

  • school choice, gaelic-medium education, immersion education, pedagogy, language planning

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