''If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.''(Nelson Mandela)
James Gillespie's rightly prides itself on the diversity of cultures that we have in our ranks. By way of example, at an S1 assembly two weeks ago, there were claims to at least fifteen languages being spoken by at least one of the pupils. We are so fortunate to have this rich cultural base to build on.
Building on the language experience in the home, I am really keen to ensure that we offer as many opportunities to learn and deepen language skills as possible. To that end I met with languages staff today to explore how we can continue to offer Urdu as a certificated subject. In recent years the numbers taking Urdu has dropped, thus, in these difficult times, the case to continue Urdu has weakened. I am delighted that given an increased interest this year, we will be able to offer Urdu to those S2 who have selected it as a course of study at Nationals 4 and 5 in S3 from June. Results in Urdu have been strong over the years and I have every confidence that it will go from strength to strength.
In addition to Urdu, other languages currently taught at Gillespie's include: French, German, Spanish, Mandarin and Gaelic. In the coming years I consider it essential that every pupil is given the opportunity to develop skills in at least one other language other than what is spoken at home. Scotland is a relatively small country that relies heavily on developing markets with other countries. I have no doubt that graduates with an ability in languages will be advantaged in the highly competitive jobs market that prevails.