A CONSULTATION to ensure the long-term growth of Gaelic and Scots has been launched by the Scottish Government.

Views are being sought on the most effective ways to raise the profile of the Scots language, as well as a new strategic approach to Gaelic medium education (GME).

The creation of a designated Gaelic speaking area, known as a Gaidhealtachd will also be assessed.

It will also ensure the Bord Na Gaidhlig – the principal public body promoting Gaelic in Scotland – is operating effectively.

Education secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said the consultation will help build on an already growing community of Gaelic and Scots speakers.

Some 57,375 people in Scotland speak Gaelic, while 87,100 have some of the language skills, according to the 2011 census.

Meanwhile, more than 1.5 million people identified themselves as Scots speakers.

Ms Somerville said: “Gaelic and Scots are a significant part of Scotland’s culture and we want to ensure they thrive and grow.

It is understood feedback will be used to develop the forthcoming Scottish Language Bill. The consultation will run until November 17.