Welsh medium education
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Welsh medium education should be distinguished from the teaching of the Welsh language itself as an academic subject. Welsh as a subject is taught as a first language in Welsh medium schools. In the majority of English medium schools, Welsh is taught as a second language and became compulsory for all pupils in Wales at Key Stages 1, 2 and 3 (up to age 14) in 1990. In 1999, it became a compulsory subject for Key Stage 4 pupils (GCSE (ages 15 and 16)). Provision of Welsh as a subject in independent (private) schools is less widespread — only a few provide it, and it is taught as a second language. There is no private designated Welsh-medium school in Wales, although one does exist in London, known as the London Welsh School.
16 per cent of pupils attend Welsh-medium schools, with a further 10 per cent attending bilingual, dual-medium, or English with significant Welsh provision. Children wishing to join a Welsh medium school do not have to speak Welsh to attend if they are young enough to learn the language quickly. Ysgol Glan Clwyd is an example: although 70 per cent of the pupils attending this school come from homes where English is the main or only language, 95 per cent of pupils finish their education speaking Welsh as proficiently as a native speaker. Ysgol Glan Clwyd was the first Welsh-medium secondary (comprehensive) school, and opened in Rhyl in 1956.
Mudiad Ysgolion Meithrin (Nursery Schools Movement) has established play groups and nurseries throughout Wales which allow children to learn Welsh through immersion. It is the main Welsh medium education and care provider in Wales for the early years. There were 11,828 children in cylchoedd meithrin (Mudiad Meithrin playgroups) in 2014-2015, with 22,000 children attending Mudiad Meithrin establishments every week.
The spread of such nurseries has ensured strong demand from parents for Welsh medium primary schools. The success of Mudiad Ysgolion Meithrin inspired the Ikastolak movement in the Basque Country and the Diwan movement in Brittany.
In the primary school sector, the numbers of children in Welsh-medium schools (or in the Welsh-medium stream of dual stream schools) has grown steadily in recent years. Welsh Government statistics show that in 2014, 22.2 per cent of 7 year old learners were assessed through the medium of Welsh first language
|School year||Total pupils||Welsh Medium
as % of total
The percentage of children in Welsh-medium secondary schools is slightly less than in primary schools, but has also grown, although it appears to have stabilised in the 2010s. Including Middle School pupils from 2012/2013.
|School year||Total pupils||Welsh Medium
as % of total
During 2015/2016, 7.8 per cent of learning activities in the Further Education sector included some element of Welsh, with 0.29 per cent of activities offered through Welsh only. The subjects with the highest number of learning activities with some element of Welsh were Retail and Commercial Enterprise (18.1 per cent); Agriculture, Horticulture and Animal Care (17.7 per cent) and Business, Administration and Law (14.2 per cent).
In 2014/15, the number of higher education students with at least some teaching through the medium of Welsh reached an all-time high with 6,355 students, or 5.1 per cent of all students at Welsh universities. Of these 6,355 students, 53 per cent were taught entirely through the medium of Welsh and 47 per cent were taught part of their course in Welsh.
The University of Wales, Trinity Saint David had both the highest number of students (2,185) and the highest proportion of its students (21 per cent) receiving at least some teaching through the medium of Welsh. Glyndŵr University had both the lowest number (45) and proportion of its students (0.7 per cent) receiving at least some teaching through the medium of Welsh.
10,030 students in Wales were fluent Welsh speakers in 2015/2016, with a further 10,330 speakers recording themselves as Welsh speakers but not fluent. Of all Universities in Wales, Cardiff University had the highest number of fluent Welsh-speaking students, amounting to 1,755 students. According to the latest data collected in 2015/2016, Bangor University had the highest percentage of fluent Welsh-speaking students of all Higher Education institutions in Wales: This constituted to 41.7 per cent of all students in the University.
- "statswales.gov.wales/Catalogue/Education-and-Skills/Schools-and-Teachers/Schools-Census/Pupil-Level-Annual-School-Census/Welsh-Language/pupils-by-localauthorityregion-welshmediumtype". statswales.gov.wales. Retrieved 2017-02-23.
- http://www.comisiynyddygymraeg.cymru/Cymraeg/Rhestr%20Cyhoeddiadau/Adroddiad%205%20Mlynedd%20-%20Gwefan%20-%20Website%20(unigol).pdf Archived 11 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine.
- "Mudiad Meithrin Annual Report 2014-2015" (PDF). Retrieved 7 September 2017.
- "Learning activities at further education institutions by subject and medium of delivery". statswales.gov.wales. Retrieved 2017-07-20.
- "Welsh in higher education institutions". gov.wales. Welsh Government. Retrieved 2016-10-11.
- Jones, Megan (July 2017). "Welsh-medium and bilingual provision in Further and Higher Education" (PDF). National Assembly for Wales. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
- "statswales.gov.wales/Catalogue/Education-and-Skills/Post-16-Education-and-Training/Higher-Education/Welsh-Medium/welshspeakingstudentsinwalesfromwales-by-institution". statswales.gov.wales. Retrieved 2017-08-29.