Comann nam Pàrant
Comann nam Pàrant (CnP), which means "Parents’ Organisation", consists of a network of around 30 local groups, representing the interests of parents whose children are educated through the medium of Gaelic at the various levels, from pre-school to secondary level. The main aim of all CnP groups is "to promote and support the establishment and maintenance of education through the medium of Gaelic". It was as a result of the efforts of parents that Gaelic medium education (GME) first began in 1985.
The best evidence we have that this method of teaching is successful is that more and more parents are now requesting it. Parents desire it because they see that it works. Most of the children in GME come from homes where neither parent speaks Gaelic.
Comann nam Pàrant Parental Advisory Scheme
A national Gaelic Medium Education (GME) promotion initiative which will involve establishing a network of parental advisors who will raise awareness of GME opportunities across Scotland and ultimately increase the number of pupils accessing GME.
We feel that the best advice for prospective parents to GME can come from other parents with personal experience of GME as parents or carers of children who are either currently in GME or have gone through GME.
The scheme will initially be publicised through the Comann nam Pàrant network in each area and potential advisors identified.
Advisors will then be given appropriate training, information and resources on GME
- Pre-school groups
- Information events
- Open days at schools
- Stands at events
- Home visits
- Responding to enquiries from individual parents
After training, the parent advisor may visit early years’ groups in the area with information on GME. They can also be present at community events, or places that are frequented by parents of young children such as supermarkets or shopping centres, distributing information packs and advising on the opportunities in the area to access Gaelic. The advisors encourage parents to attend Gaelic early years’ groups, nurseries and Gaelic medium education.
We also advise, whenever it is possible, that parents use Gaelic at home so that children can hear the language outwith school. This is very important in establishing bilingualism and fluency in Gaelic.
The advisors are paid for their work by Comann nam Pàrant who keep a record of information packs distributed and number of interactions with parents.
The scheme is funded by Bòrd na Gàidhlig and Comann nam Pàrant is supported by the education team at BnaG in managing the scheme.Comann nam Pàrant are supported by Comunn na Gàidhlig to establish the scheme in the Iomairtean Gàidhlig areas.
CnP at Local Level
Local CnP groups are considered very important for a number of reasons;
- They bring parents whose children are being educated through the medium of Gaelic together to discuss issues which affect the education of their children at all levels
- A CnP group can act as a good support mechanism for the school providing Gaelic medium education, working in conjunction with Parent Councils
- Office bearers of a CnP committee can speak on behalf of all parents with authority. Councils, schools, etc. appreciate dealing with parental representatives rather than many individuals
- Being constituted community groups, they can attract funding that a school cannot
- Parents with children in Gaelic medium education can promote GME within their own localities
- They endeavour to support extra curricular Gaelic medium activities, including the work of the Gaelic youth clubs, Sradagan
CnP at National Level
The umbrella body, Comann nam Pàrant (Nàiseanta), was set up by Comunn na Gàidhlig in 1994 as a direct response to parental request. All areas with local CnP groups are able to be represented on the national committee, thus ensuring that all parents can have a voice at national level. A National Parental Officer, funded by Bòrd na Gàidhlig, is employed by Comunn na Gàidhlig to support parents and promote Gaelic medium education. CnP(N) is now a well-established group and as well as encouraging local CnP groups to promote GME and providing resources for this, we manage a ‘Parental Advisory Scheme’ which employs parents who have experience of GME to carry out promotional activities with parents of pre-school children. The CnP Parental Officer works closely with the Bòrd na Gàidhlig education team.
The CnP (N) committee meets, on average, four times a year in different locations throughout Scotland. An AGM is held in May and all parents are invited to attend. New faces are always welcome.
Current Comann nam Pàrant (Nàiseanta) Committee Members
Dawn Morgan [chairperson] – Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey
Daibhidh Sutherland, Kay Crawford - Clyde & South West Scotland
Kerry Butler, Bob McGowan - East of Scotland
Fiona Byrne, Margaret Ford - Ross, Skye & Lochaber
Donna Young - Argyll & Bute
Iona McTaggart -Western Isles
Marsaili Dow –Treasurer
How do I get involved in CnP?
Most areas with Gaelic medium education provision have a local Comann nam Pàrant Committee. CnP groups are open to all parents with children in GME, at any level from pre-school to secondary, and parents are encouraged to attend CnP general meetings. If you would like to get in touch with your local CnP representative, please contact the Parental Officer who will provide names and details.
If you wish to establish a CnP group in your area, the procedure is quite straightforward. The Parental Officer will met with you, talk you through the CnP Constitution, explain what a CnP group can do in a community and answer any questions you may have on the matter, and then it is up to you whether you put pen to paper and become a group member of the national CnP network. Contact the Parental Officer if you wish to establish a new group.