More tutors for island schools

Isle of Skye
Katharine Johnston

Freelance creative artists and musicians who have lost work due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Brexit will tutor primary school children across Scotland’s island communities.

Up to 50 tutors will work with primary schools to lead cultural workshops on Scotland’s indigenous languages and dialects, music, drama, dance and visual art.

Through a shadowing scheme, tutors will work with and support the development of assistant tutors to deliver the workshops as part of the primary school curriculum. 

Gaelic arts body Fèisean nan Gàidheal will deliver the programme in Na h-Eileanan Siar, Orkney, Shetland, Argyll and Bute, Highland and North Ayrshire. The University of the Highlands and Islands will offer support to the tutors, leading to accreditation for their work.

Minister for Higher and Further Education, Youth Employment and Training Jamie Hepburn, said:

“Many freelancers have experienced considerable financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On top of this, we know many touring musicians will also face challenges due to the UK’s exit from the EU for some time to come. 

“This new programme will offer valuable re-training and employment opportunities for creative freelancers to work across all of our 93 inhabited Scottish islands. 

“Not only will school children get to learn more of the rich cultural diversity across our island communities, this project will also help promote Gaelic, Shetlandic and Scots languages and local dialects distinctive to islands such as Orkney.

Arthur Cormack, Fèisean nan Gàidheal’s CEO, said:

“Fèisean nan Gàidheal is grateful for support from the Scottish Government in delivering this new programme which will help freelance creative practitioners recover from the economic effects of the pandemic.

“Training will be an important part of the programme with the aim of increasing the resilience of freelancers and better equipping them to work in school settings in the future.

“All primary schools across our islands have been presented with an exciting opportunity to enable local artists to work with one year group, delving into local culture integral to our island communities.”


The programme is named Treòir (Gaelic) | Voar (Shetlandic dialect) | Virr (used in Scots and Norse)

View the list of schools where the programme will be delivered.

The programme is funded by the National Transition Training Fund and through the Islands Programme funding from the Scottish Government to support delivery of the National Islands Plan.