Gilcomstoun School is the Aberdeen City school for Gaelic medium primary education.  We work closely with Hazlehead Academy, the Aberdeen City School for Gaelic medium Secondary education.  

At present, we have a sgoil-àraich (Gaelic nursery), a P1 – 3 class and a P4 - 7 class and our pupils come from across Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire to attend Gaelic medium education.

An Sgoil Àraich – The Gaelic Medium Nursery

The Gaelic Nursery at Gilcomstoun Primary School is a well-equipped nursery and the children follow a similar curriculum as other nurseries, but through the medium of Gaelic. These pre-school years in the nursery allow children to develop their Gaelic language in a total immersion environment that promotes learning through play. There is no requirement for children to be Gaelic speakers before starting in the Sgoil Àraich and parents are welcome to visit by contacting the school.

Gaelic Medium Primary Education

Gaelic medium primary education is available at Gilcomstoun Primary School. Pupils are taught entirely through Gaelic during their first three years in primary school. This total immersion is very important, and it means that your child does not have to be fluent in Gaelic when they start school. This immersion also greatly enhances the language skills of children who are already fluent in Gaelic. After P3, English is gradually introduced through the medium of Gaelic, but Gaelic remains the main language of the classroom in all areas of the curriculum. This ensures that the immersion continues until the end of primary school.

Gaelic medium education aims to address the needs of both fluent Gaelic speakers and pupils who do not have full fluency. The total immersion in the first three years and continued immersion after that mean that pupils will gain language skills in both Gaelic and English. Pupils will also receive education in all other areas of Curriculum for Excellence. Research shows that when Gaelic medium education pupils reach P7, their English language skills are, on average, more advanced than those of their monolingual counterparts due to the cognitive benefits of a bilingual education.

A Breakfast Club and After School Club operate in the school.

Gaelic Medium Secondary Education

Pupils can continue studying Gaelic at Hazlehead Academy where Gaelic is offered as a subject at all stages.

In S1-S3, pupils will continue their Gaelic medium education by taking part in a wide range of learning experiences such as the study of novels, poetry and drama, creative writing, presentations and projects.

The following courses are available to pupils in S4-S6:

Gaelic learner courses are also available subject to staffing.

The focus of the above courses leans towards a more in-depth study and appreciation of wider aspects of culture, language, literature and media, all of which increase in depth and complexity as pupils progress through the levels. Advanced grammar and language learning is core to these courses.

Further Education and Employment

You can study Gaelic at many colleges and universities, either as a standalone subject or as an option. Studying a modern language enhances employability in all job sectors and a qualification in Gaelic or any other modern language is vital proof of communication ability.

Additional Activities

In order to further develop pupils’ Gaelic language, we provide our pupils with valuable experiences where they can widen their use of Gaelic. Our pupils have participated in events such as the annual Gaelic film competition, Film G, and we have been delighted with our pupils’ participation and success in this project. We also encourage pupils to participate in Sradagan and Fèis Obar Dheathain / The Aberdeen Fèis events, which can provide pupils with an extra-curricular Gaelic experience to support their Gaelic language development. We have also supported pupils to participate in the local and national Mòd events, which are important Gaelic cultural events that can support children’s developing language and confidence.  

The Benefits of Being Bilingual

Much research has been carried out to demonstrate the cognitive, social and cultural benefits of being bilingual and we encourage our pupils to take a sense of pride in their Gaelic language ability. Linguistic ability in additional languages is valued by employers and in tertiary education, and there are opportunities for Gaelic speakers within the Gaelic jobs market, including education, music and the media. See here for more information:àidhlig-gaelic-opportunities

Gaelic in the Community 

In order to develop full literacy skills in Gaelic, it will greatly benefit children in Gaelic medium education if they have access to Gaelic in the home and community.  Local clubs like Sradagan, Club Gàìdhlig Obar Dheathain and Fèis Obar Dheathain can provide our pupils with opportunities for social Gaelic interaction.  There are also opportunities for parents to learn Gaelic through Aberdeen Gaelic Club.  

Link to Gaelic Medium Education – Frequently Asked Questions 

Link to Gaelic in the Early Years 

Apply for a Place

If you would like to apply for a place for your child in Gaelic medium education, please follow the link:

Sgoil Àraich / Nursery:


Resources for Parents

There are a number of resources that can support your child’s Gaelic in the home

Gaelic Medium Poster

Gaelic in Aberdeen

Gaelic Medium Education: Support Resources for Parents

Useful Gaelic Websites for Parents