Pupils who study in Gaelic also keep up with their peers in English language skills, according to a new study.

A group of children from similar backgrounds took part in the study, which found that pupils taught for their first two years in Gaelic had broadly the same English abilities as their English-taught counterparts.

Professor Lindsay Paterson, a member of the team who carried out the study, Gaelic Medium Education in Scotland, said: “This indicates there is absolutely no risk, no harm, no diminishment of attainment at all in putting your children into Gaelic medium education.

“The attainment is exactly the same as in English education.

“In fact, there may even be some positive benefits as far as English reading is concerned.

“And in addition, children acquire the capacity to speak and understand Gaelic.”

Asked why many children are ending up ahead in English, he said: “There is good international research in other linguistic contexts to show that learning bilingually stimulates children’s brains, seems to stimulate their general development, their capacity to learn right across the curriculum.

“It may be that this is what we are seeing in Scotland.” (Source: BBC News)

Currently less than 1% of young Scots are in bilingual primary education, and it is hoped that these positive results will increase their numbers.