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Welsh Medium Lesson

Discussion in 'Cymru - education news' started by tyderif, Jul 20, 2013.

  1. Hello All

    I've two children in a bilingual primary school which is now changing to a welsh medium school. We are not welsh language first speakers at home. My kids will end up in the welsh medium stream in secondary which means they may not be taught through the medium of english until the age of 16 (poss exceptions of maths, science and english).

    I am concerned. We wanted a bilungual education not a welsh medium education with a smatering of english. I will not be able to help with homework as my kids progress throughKS3/4.

    Any thoughts? Advice?


  2. In many parts of Wales it is not unusual for the majority of pupils in Welsh medium (WM) education to come from English speaking homes. You are not alone, and the school should be well versed in successfully communicating with you how best to support your child's education, regardless of whether you are Welsh speaking or not.

    Provision at secondary level will depend on whether it is a Welsh medium school (in which case, everything apart from English would be delivered through Welsh), or a bilingual school, in which case they will have some subjects delivered through Welsh, and some through English (the split will depend on staffing at the school and the ability of your children).

    The more exposure they have to Welsh, the more confident and bilingual they will become. Getting better at Welsh will not compromise their English, especially if that is the everyday language at home. If they have limited exposure to Welsh outside school (e.g. if they have few opportunities to socialise through Welsh), they really need the most exposure possible in school to refine the accuracy of their Welsh. I teach second language to secondary pupils, and every year we receive about 5 pupils in a year group who have left the WM setting for whatever reason. There is also a VERY big divide in the standard and accuracy of their Welsh, and you can tell a mile off those who come from WM homes and those who don't.

    On the homework front, the process of having to translate from Welsh into English in order to explain to you what they need to do actually has cognitive benefits because they will work more of their brains. Many technical terms for subjects are actually more obvious in Welsh than they are in English (e.g. rhannu - to divide also means to share) so that can bring benefits too. You might find termiaduraddysg.org a useful resource for subject specific vocab if the kids need help.

    I personally don't think you should have anything to worry about. Hope all goes well.
  3. You can see how your child's new school is performing here:-


    On average, compared with English Medium schools at the same Free School Meals benchmark, Welsh Medium and bilingual schools underperform in English and Maths and, for the most part, in science, although this is close.

    If you look at Welsh Medium and bilingual secondary schools on "My Local School" you can compare the Welsh and English scores. In all WM schools English performance is lower than Welsh performance A*-C at GCSE.

    This is a natural consequence of teaching a child in an environment that is all or mostly Welsh; English gets left behind. Generally the WM schools like to quote from small academic studies into immersion schooling in Canada, many of these studies have been questioned however because of the carefully selected "balanced bilingual" subjects. For whatever reason, in Wales immersion and bilingual schooling succeeds only for those children with language aptitude or bilingual parents.
  4. >"Getting better at Welsh will not compromise their English, especially if that is the everyday language at home."

    IME that comes with a proviso of : As long as they don't need to use formal English grammar or spell anything. A recent work experience student at my place of work with excellent grades in all subjects (taking GCSE subjects early) couldn't write basic English without spelling mistakes - their speech was largely OK in a non-formal setting but their written English was diabolical. Indeed their parents had pushed them to go to an English Medium college in order to improve their English language skills.
  5. Geoff Thomas

    Geoff Thomas Star commenter

    Inability to write "basic English without spelling mistakes" would appear to be beyond most 16 year olds throughout the united kingdom.

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