Welsh medium education

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Education delivered through the medium of the Welsh language is known as Welsh medium education (Welsh: Addysg Gyfrwng Cymraeg).

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% of pupils attend Welsh-medium schools, with a further 10% attending bilingual, dual-medium, or English with significant Welsh provision.[1] 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% of the pupils attending this school come from homes where English is the main or only language, 95% 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.

Nursery Education[edit]

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 provisions every week.[1][2]

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.[citation needed]

Primary Education[edit]

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% of 7 year old learners were assessed through the medium of Welsh first language

School year Total pupils Welsh Medium
pupils
Welsh Medium
as % of total
 % change
2000/2001 262,751 49,422 18.81%
2001/2002 260,151 49,687 19.10% +1.5%
2002/2003 256,690 50,756 19.77% +3.5%
2003/2004 252,230 51,131 20.27% +2.5%
2004/2005 248,328 52,792 21.26% +4.9%
2005/2006 243,982 52,867 21.67% +1.9%
2006/2007 240,621 54,099 22.48% +3.7%
2007/2008 237,917 54,895 23.07% +2.6%
2008/2009 258,314 59,989 23.22% +0.7%
2009/2010 257,445 60,318 23.43% +0.9%
2010/2011 259,189 61,073 23.56% +0.6%
2011/2012 262,144 62,446 23.82% +1.1%
2012/2013 264,186 63,192 23.92% +0.4%
2013/2014 269,421 64,366 23.89% -0.1%
2014/2015 273,400 65,460 23.94% +0.2%
2015/2016 276,954 66,101 23.86% -0.3%

Information taken from Schools in Wales (accessed 23 July 2010) Update for last three years taken from School Census Results, 2012 (accessed 17 May 2013)

Secondary Education[edit]

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.

School year Total pupils Welsh Medium
pupils
Welsh Medium
as % of total
 % change
2000/2001 210,396 38,007 18.06%
2001/2002 212,024 38,817 18.31% +1.4%
2002/2003 214,276 39,458 18.41% +0.5%
2003/2004 215,609 40,169 18.63% +1.2%
2004/2005 214,626 40,221 18.74% +0.6%
2005/2006 213,045 40,828 19.16% +2.2%
2006/2007 210,353 40,702 19.35% +1.0%
2007/2008 206,936 40,756 19.69% +1.8%
2008/2009 205,421 41,916 20.40% +3.6%
2009/2010 203,907 43,432 21.30% +4.4%
2010/2011 201,230 41,764 20.75% -2.7%
2011/2012 198,015 41,262 20.84% +0.4%
2012/2013 191,279 37,692 19.71% -5.4%
2013/2014 186,427 37,400 20.01% +1.5%
2014/2015 182,408 36,485 20.00% 0.00%
2015/2016 178,669 35,399 19.81% -0.9%

Information taken from Schools in Wales (accessed 23 July 2010) Update for last three years taken from School Census Results, 2012 (accessed 17 May 2013)

Higher Education[edit]

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% of all students at Welsh universities.[2]

The University of Wales, Trinity Saint David had both the highest number of students (2,185) and the highest proportion of its students (21%) 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%) receiving at least some teaching through the medium of Welsh.

Effects[edit]

In 2013, reporting on comments by former Welsh Secretary Paul Murphy, the BBC reported that the admissions officer for Oxford University had indicated that Welsh medium schools were especially reluctant to encourage pupils to seek places at top UK universities if this meant leaving Wales, which reportedly has contributed to a decrease in the number of Welsh pupils gaining places. As an example of the broader problem, which was also contributed to by other issues such as the impact of the Welsh Baccalaureate, and was not limited to Welsh medium schools, Murphy had indicated that "students from the south Wales valleys are five times less likely to apply to Oxford or Cambridge than students in some of the more affluent English counties".[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]