Saturday, 10 November 2012

... are our children disadvantaged by Welsh ?

A letter in today's Western Mail raises issues that need to be addressed ....
Foreign languages suffer from Welsh
 SIR – I was dismayed by the letter from Mererid Morgan of the WJEC (“Languages are a skill our jobseekers need”, Nov 7). I am astonished that this year only 25% of Welsh GCSE pupils entered a modern foreign language. In 2004 Estyn made a study of GCSE uptake in Welsh schools: the study found that GCSE entry by 15-year-olds had fallen from 45% in 1997 to 34% in 2003. Estyn also found that uptake was lower in Welsh Medium and  bilingual schools; 35% in EM schools and 30% in WM schools. In 2007 the Welsh Department of Education made a further study of Modern Foreign Language uptake; by this time only 28% of 15-year-olds entered a modern foreign language at GCSE and only 21 of those passed at A*-C. England at the same time entered 46% with 31% gaining A*-C. In England 40% of pupils took GCSE in a modern foreign language this year but the recent introduction of the “English Baccalaureate” has resulted in an increase in year 10 pupils taking languages. At advanced level Wales lags behind England in the main languages with 32% of English students gaining A*-A and Wales having 23% of students with an A*-A pass. Mererid Morgan is mistaken in thinking that bilingual Wales has an advantage in foreign language teaching, on the contrary, we have replaced foreign language study with compulsory Welsh lessons in all schools.In every survey of parents a majority say that they are against compulsory Welsh lessons and now even Simon Thomas AM for Plaid Cymru is questioning the utility of compulsory Welsh. Leighton Andrews needs to ask whether Wales is well served when we produce a workforce unable to communicate with the world outside Wales.  J.Jones, Ynys Mon.
WM link

So, could our children be disadvantaged by the teaching of Welsh !


  1. Actually being bilingual from birth which Welsh speakers are, gives you an advantage when learning another language, more than if bought up as a monoglot single language speaker. 68% of the world's population is bilingual according to the UN. In many Euro countries, as Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, etc most kids are able to speak 3 languages. Yet speaking 2 here it seems it a huge issue for some people. Sad.

  2. It is possible that the worm has turned: