Welsh Language Society Condemns Government Delay in Implementing Welsh Medium Education Reforms

The Welsh Language Society have long been calling for the abolition of the concept of “Welsh as a Second Language” pushing the alternative of every pupil being given the opportunity to be educated in the medium of both Welsh and English. The notion of Welsh medium education enjoys wide support amongst the electorate in Wales. A poll released in late 2014 sponsored by Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg (Welsh Language Society) showed 63% of the people surveyed agreed that schools “should teach all pupils to communicate effectively in Welsh” thus ensuring graduates enjoy a command of the Welsh tongue upon graduation.  Studies have shown that bilingually schooled students academically outperform monolingually schooled students.

News From The Welsh Language Society:

Adverts have appeared in the press today (Wednesday, 21st September) warning that tens of thousands of young people are being denied fluency in Welsh because of a lack of Government action on a report published three years ago this week.    

The adverts claim that "80% of Wales' young people are losing out" by not receiving Welsh-medium education and that "three years of Government delay" mean that "80,000 children have lost the right to the Welsh language" since Professor Sioned Davies' report was published. Later (10:15am), an advertisement van will be launched in front of the Senedd in Cardiff Bay. The news comes as Assembly Members debate Welsh language education in the Senedd this afternoon. 

In September 2013, the Government received a report it commissioned by Professor Sioned Davies which called for urgent changes to the way Welsh is taught in schools, including scrapping the concept of teaching Welsh as a 'second language' and creating a continuum of teaching through the medium of Welsh increasingly in every school. Last year, the First Minister Carwyn Jones said he thought "the concept of 'second language Welsh' creates an artificial distinction, and we do not believe that this provides a useful basis for policy-making for the future".    

Cymdeithas yr Iaith has said it's considering a legal challenge to Qualification Wales' decision to keep the second language Welsh qualification claiming its contrary to the First Minister's policy of abolishing it.  

Speaking ahead of the launch of the van in front of the Senedd, Toni Schiavone, Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg's education commented: 

"We can't celebrate the third anniversary of Sioned Davies' report - the delay in acting on it has deprived tens of thousands of young people of the Welsh language. No young person should be denied the opportunity to live their life in Welsh. So, there is a responsibility on our politicians to end the current failed second language system and transform it for the benefit of the eighty percent of pupils who go through it. Everyone accepts that radical change is needed, but officials have failed to act on the main recommendations of Professor Sioned Davies' report for three years.   

"A complete overhaul of the system is needed, not fiddling on the sidelines. Sioned Davies' report, which has been sitting on the shelf for three years, said that we need to abolish second language Welsh and establish a single new qualification, based on one continuum of learning, for every pupil instead. In the three years since those urgent recommendations, very little has changed. It's essential that teaching Welsh as a second language ends in 2018 and the one comprehensive qualification is brought in instead." 

The group's annual rally, being held on Saturday 8th October in Llangefni, Ynys Môn, will focus on calling for Welsh-medium education for all. Speakers at the event include the Eisteddfod-chaired poet Cen Williams, actor John Pierce Jones, and local pupils. 



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