A RISING demand for Gaelic education in Glasgow has made staffing schools "a challenge", according to a report by the city's education boss.

Glasgow City Council recently advertised for principal teachers for the Gaelic school in Govan but the hiring exercise failed to fill the posts.

Instead, a non-Gaelic speaking depute is temporarily in post two days a week to support the headteacher.

And at the Gaelic school in Pollokshields, a job had to be advertised twice before a suitable teacher was found - but they can't take up the post until August.

English speaking supply teachers are covering the position in the meantime.

A report from education director Maureen McKenna, going to councillors this week, says class numbers will be capped at 140 to deal with stretched resources in the city's three Gaelic schools.

A fourth school is planned but will take 18 months of planning and 18 months of construction so will not be ready for pupils until 2023/24 at the earliest.

Ms McKenna adds: "High quality leadership is essential to the success of all schools.

"We have a committed workforce but as already noted, we have not been able to recruit high quality principal teachers in a recent recruitment exercise for one of the schools."

A Glasgow City Council spokeswoman said: “Gaelic medium education continues to thrive in the city and we are proud that for more than 22 years GME has been an option for our families.

"Outside of the Highlands and Islands, Glasgow has the largest provision and it is a result of this success that we recently confirmed the fourth Gaelic primary school - work will begin in the near future in the former St James’ Primary school in the north east of the city.

"This year, demand increased again and, similar to other schools across the city, we have set a cap on the numbers which allows us to ensure that we can continue to increase the size of the secondary school at Berkeley Street.

"As the committee paper outlines, there are a number of challenges for us to overcome, including staffing, to allow us to deliver consistently high quality learning and teaching in Gaelic."

Govan's Gaelic primary school opened in August 2019 and currently a nursery is being constructed to the rear of the building for a partner provider to provide Gaelic early learning and childcare.

The completion date for the nursery is next month.

There is no further scope to extend the site at Berkeley Street or at the Glendale site.

Secondary GME provision in GCC is on the Berkeley Street site in the West End.

It provides the full curriculum and recent improvements have included a full-sized games hall and increased specialist rooms for science and technical.

For session 2021/22, the secondary needs at least one additional classroom and additional access to an extra science lab.

Analysis shows that for an S1 intake of 140, the secondary school would need two more classrooms when the pupils are in their first year, but this would need to increase to six as the 140 youngsters move up the school.

Another science lab, art room and IT room would also be needed as 140 S1 pupils move through the school, resulting in a roll of around 830.

A school roll of 160 to 180 would lead to a roll of around 950/1070, which would need 10 to 12 additional general classrooms and even more specialist rooms.

This would, Ms McKenna's report says, require moving the entire primary school from the Berkley Street site over the next seven years.

The current P1 is 138, and so in the next six years the local authority needs to find an additional six classrooms to enable them to be accommodated when they reach S1.

For August this year, the rolls have been capped at 75 P1s at Berkeley Street, 48 at Govan and 17 at Glendale.

All 140 places have now been allocated with 17 pupils on a waiting list.