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 per cent of pupils attend Welsh-medium schools, with a further 10 per cent 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 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.

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 establishments every week.[2][3]

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 per cent 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%
2016/2017 276,940 66,612 24.05% +0.8%

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. Including Middle School pupils from 2012/2013.

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 194,927 39,326 20.17% -3.2%
2013/2014 189,969 38,977 20.52% +1.7%
2014/2015 186,784 38,933 20.84% +1.6%
2015/2016 184,040 38,858 21.11% +1.3%
2016/2017 183,975 39,233 21.32% +1.0%

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)

Further Education[edit]

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).[4]

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 per cent of all students at Welsh universities.[5] 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.[6]

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.[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]