Welsh medium

(172 Posts)
SmilingMakesMyFaceAche Mon 04-Mar-13 14:21:57

Anyone with any experience of welsh medium education? Come tell me your experiences! Neither DH or I speak welsh but I did gcse and I m willing to learn if we choose welsh medium for DS.
Advice and comments welcomed smile

adeucalione Sat 09-Mar-13 16:04:19

soup Blimey I've read loads of stuff over the past day or so, this stuff is really interesting me. The stats comparing English and Welsh take-up of MFL at GCSE isn't all collated in one place, but read that it is 40% in England and just under 30% in Wales, with WM schools trailing EM. I'll google now and see what I can find.

alexpolismum Sat 09-Mar-13 16:06:40

Dare I point out the obvious to Startail - that it is entirely possible to learn Welsh in addition to other foreign languages, whichever she considers most "useful"?

And being in Welsh medium school means that you are taught using Welsh, not that you spend hours studying it as a subject. Presumably you can then study other languages, also through the medium of Welsh if desired, or English if preferred.

adeucalione Sat 09-Mar-13 16:07:41

soup few here :

TES article claiming that fewer pupils in WM pupils took a MFL compared to their EM counterparts in 2008.

Estyn press release saying the same, again 2008.

Wesh Language championCeri James claims Welsh pupils have lower MFL take-up than English counterparts, with A levels down 10% in 2010.

Telegraph article stating that numbers of pupils in England choosing MFL plummeted from 80% to 40% in the 10 years to 2011 since Labour made them optional, signs of reversal since launch of English Bacc.

WJEC piece claiming that GCSE MFL continuing to fall in Wales in 2012.

Welsh Language Centre piece about plans to reverse the decline, 2012.

alexpolismum Sat 09-Mar-13 16:10:40

adeucalione - Do all these articles, studies, takes into account that all Welsh medium pupils effectively already have one MFL? Or are they just counting languages not spoken in the UK?

adeucalione Sat 09-Mar-13 16:15:51

I just wanted to be clear, because I was called anti-welsh on here yesterday, that I love Wales and all things Welsh, including the beautiful language (I am Welsh). I came on originally to suggest EM might be better for the OP, which she took objection to, and I have since become interested in why bilingual WM pupils appear to reject MFL despite, presumably, having a natural proclivity to do well.

I wholeheartedly support WM education and the preservation of the Welsh language, but it appears to have become almost unacceptable to question any aspect of it and I find that odd.

And soup I didn't read your link to Gogwatch, hate that website.

adeucalione Sat 09-Mar-13 16:22:01

Alex - I'm not sure what you mean. Look at the Welsh curriculum if you want to know what they mean by MFL. Do they count Welsh and English as two separate languages at GCSE? Yes. Do they want pupils in Wales to be trilingual? Yes. Are they concerned that this isn't happening? Yes.

PomBearEnvy Sat 09-Mar-13 16:22:15

Hi op
To answer you original question. My two DS are in a Welsh Medium Primary, and my DD is in the local Cylch Meithrin, I'm English non welsh speaking and DH has some very basic Welsh. All my children are thriving in school, they have not been at a disadvantage at school because of our lack of Welsh at home, nor are they at any disadvantage in their education for learning their lessons in Welsh at school.

DD Is 3yrs and at nursery can follow basic instructions in Welsh, knows colours and numbers up to 20. And can answer very basic questions in Welsh. Obviously she does all of this at home in English.

DS2 5yrs is in reception and loves school, his English phonics are way behind his peers who are in an English school, but as I witnessed with DS1 when they start reading in English age 7, they soon catch up and are able to switch easily between the two languages.

DS1 Is 9 and has the English reading average age of 8/9yrs despite only being introduced to spelling, punctuation and english books in school at age 7. He is also now completely fluent in Welsh, enabling him to talk to people in the corner shop our Doctor and local landlady blush in their first language.

In the wider world, Welsh probably will not be much of an advantage to my children. If they choose to live in the area we are in, it will be of help to them. However, I feel that an additional language no matter what it is can never be a hindrance surely?!

alexpolismum Sat 09-Mar-13 16:30:12

What I mean is that an English pupil studying French counts in MFL stats. I was wondering whether a Welsh pupil studying English is counted in these statistics. That is all. Simply curious about how they compile the data.

I agree that it would be great to encourage trilingualism. (I could hardly disagree, I have learned 5 languages myself and have bilingual children who are likely to learn another language at school!).

Perhaps part of the problem is relevance. French may have little relevance to a child in Prestatyn (for example), who has never been to France or even met anyone from France. In my own experience, the other people who studied foreign languages alongside people tended (of course not all) to be better travelled or have motivated parents who provided them with books/ magazines/ whatever in a foreign language, or had a connection to that country. When I studied Italian, over 2 thirds of the people on my course had at least one parent or grandparent from Italy. I am not sure what this really means in terms of encouraging MFL in Wales, however!

alexpolismum Sat 09-Mar-13 16:35:07

Just re-read that last post. It does seem a bit rambly, sorry.

A follow on thought from wondering about relevance has made me wonder whether there is any data on the numbers of pupils taking up MFL in deprived areas versus those in wealthier areas.

Llareggub Sat 09-Mar-13 17:25:21

I studied Welsh, French and German at my English medium Welsh comp. Languages were encouraged, but it was the early 90s when Welsh wasn't such a big part of the curriculum.

When I visit my sons at their English medium school Welsh is used alongside English, so the HT say "bore da plant, good morning children" and then goes on to say The Lord's Prayer in Welsh and English (it's a Catholic school) and as a result my sons are picking up quite a smattering of Welsh. The school is quite unusual though, I was out with a few of the mums today and most of the children are bilingual so welsh is a third language for them. We had a Hungarian speaker, a German speaker, Spanish and Rumanian.

adeucalione Sat 09-Mar-13 17:30:41

Oh now this is quite interesting (or maybe only to me, and I think cecily asked for this earlier too).

here are the Welsh GCSE results for 2011, broken down by subject.

And here are the same statistics for England, from mid 90s to 2012. I don't recognise the source, but it's all I could find!

Anyway, in 2011 73.7% of Welsh students doing a GCSE in French achieved grades A-C, 75.5% German, 74.1% Spanish.

In England the figures were 72.5%, 75.8% and 74.9%.

So, Welsh pupils performed better at French and worse in German and Spanish, which suggests that those children who do take a MFL do well, but not significantly better than their monolingual peers in England.

Although I guess the Welsh stats do not separate out WM from EM so maybe we're no further on...grin

SmilingMakesMyFaceAche Sat 09-Mar-13 20:50:02

Adeucalione - I took offence to your sneering attitude. Just clarifying.
I'm leaving this thread.
Thanks to all who answered my questions and didn't hijack to bang their own personal drum.

gaelicsheep Sat 09-Mar-13 21:07:42

I know you won't want to hear from one of the hijackers (although to be fair you haven't posted in ages and the conversation just moved on), but I didn't see any sneering attitude from adeucalione, merely common sense.

SmilingMakesMyFaceAche Sat 09-Mar-13 21:20:27

Do I need to be here every 5 minutes then? hmm
Anyhow, DS is going to wm. I've filled in the forms. I've dug out my welsh course work from 2008 and I'm reading through it again. £30 worth if learning material has been delivered from amazon.
Dw I'm eisiau siarad yn rhugl smile

CecilyP Sat 09-Mar-13 21:26:25

Surely that's the nature of mumsnet, OP; loads of threads go off on a tangent. This one has been quite interesting because of it. If you haven't left already, my advice would echo that of the Scottish secondary teacher upthread; that if your child is bright, pick things up quickly and has no language difficulties, then he will be fine in Welsh medium, but if he struggles in any way, it will be an extra thing to cope with. If you want your child to be fluent in Welsh, then Welsh medium is probably the way to go, but I doubt it will really confer any real advantage in learning other languages and, even if it does, he would still have to attend the classes and put in the graft to do well in these other languages.

alexpolismum Sat 09-Mar-13 21:29:29

Good luck, OP, I wish you and your son all the best with it. smile

Although I can't help thinking that you don't need to spend a lot of money on course material - there's loads of free stuff available online to learn Welsh!

adeucalione Sat 09-Mar-13 21:35:49

Clarification not necessary smiling, you made it abundantly clear the first time.

I reckon my posts have been less sneering than some actually but hey ho, you can't please all of the people all of the time.

It's a funny old world when you're accused of sneering at something that you are a product of, and had three children in, but there we have it, I don't like everything about it and I'm going to say so if invited to.

slightlysoupstained Sun 10-Mar-13 00:40:43

Pob lwc Smiling, it's going to be great fun for both of you. smile

mamapants Sun 10-Mar-13 09:41:11

Enjoy learning welsh together. Get in touch with your TWf officers if you haven't already they will help woth information on events and resources.

Startail Sun 10-Mar-13 14:13:50

Sorry, yes I do rant on this subject at the slightest excuse, probably a bit mean to the OP blush

Startail Sun 10-Mar-13 14:20:30

My only justification is I have friends and family who's concil tax and jobs are directly affected by how much money is spent on promoting The Welsh language. Also friends who have to choose whether to educate their DCs in a culture and language that isn't that if the area because of these funding choices, made in Cardiff.

Llareggub Sun 10-Mar-13 19:47:47

The decisions might be made in Cardiff but the decisions are made by democratically elected AMs. If people living in Wales don't like the decisions then they need to get involved in politics and start influencing policy.

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