So... Welsh. Why?

(241 Posts)
gaelicsheep Sun 10-Mar-13 14:25:15

This is a thread to pick up a discussion that began on another thread about Welsh medium education. It isn't about Welsh medium. It's about compulsory Welsh to 16 in all other schools. It is hard as a non Welsh person to complain about this without sounding xenophobic so I am merely opening the floor if anyone is interested.

gaelicsheep Sun 10-Mar-13 14:31:05

For some context, I'm on the fence. I'm not against Welsh being taught. It's good to preserve an old language and culture, and I believe it probably helps language skills later on. I AM against such Welsh teaching/ speaking playing a disproportionate role in the assessment of schools and childcare settings. For me the quality of Welsh education ranks right down there with the number of computers available to Reception age children. And I am FUMING having discovered DS will have to waste a valuable GCSE on the subject.

Feenie Sun 10-Mar-13 14:35:02

It's good to preserve an old language

For many people, it's their first language, actually, and so very much current.

And I am FUMING having discovered DS will have to waste a valuable GCSE on the subject.

So move!

gaelicsheep Sun 10-Mar-13 14:39:04

This isn't about me. And those comments explain nothing. No one in this area speaks Welsh, so it's as relevant as Latin. One could argue the language has been artificially kept alive, but that isn't the purpose of the thread.

amothersplaceisinthewrong Sun 10-Mar-13 14:40:10

Who speaks Welsh in the world other than the Welsh?

Northey Sun 10-Mar-13 14:42:12

There's a decently sized community in Patagonia who speak it.

MissAnnersley Sun 10-Mar-13 14:49:14

IIRC you weren't particularly impressed with the Scottish school system either.

Apologies if I have mixed you up with another poster.

Perhaps home schooling?

gaelicsheep Sun 10-Mar-13 14:53:49

Hehe. No you're right MissAnnersley. Honestly this is NOT about me. I wanted to open a discussion about it because I find it an interesting topic, how the political classes can be funded by the British taxpayer to impose a minority language on areas that have no recent tradition of speaking it.

As soon as people stop pushing it back to me I'll lay off posting for a while and read the discussion with interest.

Home schooling, if only!

mamapants Sun 10-Mar-13 14:54:15

Pam Cymraeg- er mwyn cyfathrebu gyda pobl yn Cymru yn eu iaith yn lle disgwyl bod nhw am siarad iaith arall yn arbennig ar eich gyfer.
Fel bod unigolyn yn medru cael swydd yn y dyfodol yn Cymru- lle mae medru siarad efo'r cyhoedd yn ei dewis iaith yn hawl sylfaenol.
Nid yw unigolyn yn cymryd llai o TGAU gan ei fod yn astudio Cymraeg maent yn astudio Cymraeg ar ben unrhyw TGAU eraill.

gaelicsheep Sun 10-Mar-13 14:57:50

Very helpful mamapants, since the thread is aimed at garnering opinions from the majority of the Welsh population who do not speak the language.

FannyFifer Sun 10-Mar-13 14:58:27

Irish language is compulsory in Irish schools, I think it's a good thing.

mamapants Sun 10-Mar-13 15:01:53

Sorry Gaelic sheep, will translate in due course. Am feeding my baby

LizaRose Sun 10-Mar-13 15:03:25

In my grandmother's day, kids were caned for speaking Welsh at school. Hence my father's generation grew up speaking no Welsh. Now, my kids are being forced to learn it. Ironic, eh?

Northey Sun 10-Mar-13 15:06:04

I live in Wales as a non Welsh speaker. I think compulsory teaching in schools is a small and defensible step towards halting the damage caused in previous decades when policies actively damaged the language, eg by refusing to allow children to use it in schools.

gaelicsheep Sun 10-Mar-13 15:07:42

One more point then I'll shut up. Don't people feel the compulsion is counterproductive? It creates animosity and resentment, most kids gain nothing from it once they reach secondary school, as I understand it. In my ideal world there would be Welsh up to 14, but the obsession with conversational Welsh in schools would be tempered. DS hs to ask in Welsh to use the toilet. Why? It's just silly and petty, and pettiness is bound to raise my hackles.

SoggySummer Sun 10-Mar-13 15:09:08

As an english person living in Wales I am for learning welsh.

Welsh is widely spoken in the north of the country and making a come back further south. The Welsh are really trying to bring it back into their culture and good on them imo. It may not be widely spoken elsewhere in the world but here in Wales it is recognised and most jobs in Wales offer a small premium if you are able to speak the language. Every job I have applied for in the past 3 years in Wales has had a small section on the application form asking if I can speak welsh, read welsh, understand welsh and to what level. Its only a small part of the form and similar to the sections that ask what ethnic group you belong.

Some of the young girls on my college course went to Welsh school (fluent welsh) and when looking for part time jobs even - got then jobs because they could speak welsh, those that didnt speak welsh have not had quite as much success. Ok this is only weekend cafe/museum work etc but there is the proof. In Wales - even as far south as I am, it is a respected and sought after language.

Any language qualification whether its a widely spoken one like Spanish or less widely spoken such as Welsh prooves a persons ability to understand languages and is an indicator that they could learn other languages easily as well.

My daughter who was born in Scotland to English parents but currently residing in Wales is doing a Welsh GCSE (from scratch - she has never learnt Welsh yet as been in a English school up until now) and I am very pleased and dont see it as a waste at all. She is into liguistics anyway and she is excited about learning it and it will aid her in understanding other languages and linguistics. I am also looking forward to her helping me with my appalling pronounciation of local place names - that usually make my local friends laugh at me grin.

England is so wishy washy and crap imo at its culture and patriotism is seriously lacking imo especially in comparison to the Welsh and the Scots who seem to be so much more passionate about their culturer, traditions and patriotism.

Northey Sun 10-Mar-13 15:09:21

Also, it's not really any more a "waste" of a gcse than anything which isn't Maths or English or a subject that you carry on to A level.

hermioneweasley Sun 10-Mar-13 15:10:37

I don't live in Wales, but I think even if I lived there, would want my children to have the education which sets them up for success. The reality is that if they want to live and work anywhere other than Wales (and apparently an obscure area of Patagonia?) then the kids would be better off learning Spanish or Mandarin.

greenhill Sun 10-Mar-13 15:13:58

Welsh is actually very useful if your DC plan to remain in Wales and have a job with the BBC, work for a Welsh Council, at a university/ school or for a company in which they'd answer the phone or speak to customers face to face (e.g in banking, insurance, in a call centre for power companies etc). Lots of shops are bilingual too, in small towns and cities.

Do your children watch any Welsh programmes on tv, or are they on with subtitles? If not, that's a large part of their local culture they are missing out on. There may not be a tradition of speaking Welsh in the area that you currently live in, but it is always quite nice to be able to understand conversations that are being held around you in another language. I'm not great at languages but have found that my rusty French was useful in Tunisia (and in France) and when I'm not looking closely at the subtitles watching a French film.

On the other side of a coin, a friend of mine learnt Irish at school and finds it very useful to be able to speak privately to her DC, when in public, knowing that no-one else can understand the telling off they are receiving, or for example, hear why small children shouldn't stare at people who have a large scar / piercings etc.

gaelicsheep Sun 10-Mar-13 15:14:28

Northey, I understand dual award science is the norm in Wales. I do hope that if DS wishes to study the separate sciences, to allow him to lay proper foundations of A levels and beyond, this would not be prevented to save the time for Welsh.

But I am going to stop now as I sound more anti than I actually am.

Northey Sun 10-Mar-13 15:15:20

We did dual award science at my school, to make room for com

Northey Sun 10-Mar-13 15:17:35

We did dual award science at my school, to make room for compulsory RE (was a faith school). It is considered a reasonable basis for doing the 3 separate sciences at a level (though single award isn't). So your child should be ok.

gaelicsheep Sun 10-Mar-13 15:22:44

Weeell,at my school it was the arty ones who did dual award because itvdidn't teach enough to do science A levels. Perhaps that has changed.

Greenhills - that point about needing Welsh to work in Wales. Under any other guise it would be outlawed as discrimination.

KatieMiddleton Sun 10-Mar-13 15:23:17

My grandfather was Welsh (from the south as it happens). Spoke Welsh as a first language and English second. He found this incredibly useful to help him learn other languages. He taught himself French and German. He was a very clever man and believed his linguistic skills in Welsh and English gave him an advantage.

I think speaking Welsh in Wales makes total sense. In a generation this won't even be questioned. They speak the regional/local language alongside the national language in lots of places: Catalan in Catalonia, Basque in the Basque region, Fleminish in Belgium.

In areas of high immigration the original groups have had to learn the local language, for example Spanish in Miami.

Northey Sun 10-Mar-13 15:25:24

Maybe your school didn't have any other subject it wanted to protect, so could give people the choice. But dual award is really ok. Honestly. As a basis for Oxbridge and everything.

MechanicalTheatre Sun 10-Mar-13 15:27:05

Gaelic has almost completely died out in Scotland. I think that's sad. Why should English be the only language in this country? We speak a dialect in the NE of Scotland and that is dying out too and we weren't allowed to use it in school. This idea of languages having different prestiges is one that really gets my goat.

It is not discriminatory to insist on Welsh being spoken any more than it's discriminatory to insist on English being spoken in England.

KatieMiddleton Sun 10-Mar-13 15:27:17

Waits for someone to post something along the lines of "Bastard Welsh with their bastard Welsh language in Wales" wink grin

greenhill Sun 10-Mar-13 15:28:34

I've worked in Wales without speaking Welsh, I wasn't discriminated against. This was 20 years ago and there would always be someone on the team that you could pass the caller on to, so that the customer could speak their own language. It was useful to have a couple of stock phrases as you transferred the call, but most native speakers were polite and asked in English, if someone was available to speak to them in Welsh.

gaelicsheep Sun 10-Mar-13 15:32:45

MT I totally agree. This is why I'm fascinated. I was totally pro Gaelic in Scotland, apart from having to spend ct payers money on answering in Gaelic letters that were written in Gaelic out of badness. I used to wish the approach was more like Wales. Now in Wales I find it to be overkill and the countryfeels inward looking and

gaelicsheep Sun 10-Mar-13 15:33:06

MT I totally agree. This is why I'm fascinated. I was totally pro Gaelic in Scotland, apart from having to spend ct payers money on answering in Gaelic letters that were written in Gaelic out of badness. I used to wish the approach was more like Wales. Now in Wales I find it to be overkill and the country feels inward looking and unwelcom

gaelicsheep Sun 10-Mar-13 15:34:33

MT I totally agree. This is why I'm fascinated. I was totally pro Gaelic in Scotland, apart from having to spend ct payers money on answering in Gaelic letters that were written in Gaelic out of badness. I used to wish the approach was more like Wales. Now in Wales I find it to be overkill and the country feels inward looking and unwelcoming. As one who normally relishes the preservation of different cultures I wonder why. Is it me? Or is it the politicisation?

Sorry, toddler kept knocking me to post button!

mamapants Sun 10-Mar-13 15:36:20

The teaching of welsh in schools in welsh should be seen as a benefit which will help children integrate fully into the country they are living in. By not learning the language you would be limiting where in Wales your children can choose to live - making it difficult for them to reside in 'deepest darkest Wales' as you referred to it in the other thread.
Being able to communicate in welsh is essential for any public facing job in Wales as it will allow the welsh people to communicate in their first language. It is completely presumptious to assume that because people can speak english that they should in order to accomodate you and your family - by learning welsh you are showing respect to the people and the language.
I can't see disadvantages to being given the opportunity and encouragement to learn another language.
In my experience welsh GCSE isn't instead of other GCSEs it is as well as. I simply had more GCSEs than students in England. Doing a double science award does not preclude you from studying all 3 sciences at A level, in fact I begun studying the 3 sciences and English at A level.
Studying welsh does not hinder English ability- I personally received A* in English Language and Literature GCSE and A at A level and am definitely not in the minority.
As for the compulsory element breeding resentment surely it is the parents responsibility to encourage it to be seen as a positive and to show some maturity of judgment in the matter.

MechanicalTheatre Sun 10-Mar-13 15:38:36

To be honest, OP, if you're not Welsh, it's not really your business.

Same as it winds me up when English people choose to tell me what I should think about Scottish independence, I'm sure the Welsh aren't really bothered what you think on the subject.

It's up to nations to choose their own path.

silwli Sun 10-Mar-13 15:40:47

You could argue the validity and point of many GCSE's. Is RE (which is a compulsary GCSE) of any use to someone who may be an atheist and who has no intention of pursing the subject any further? Would that be considered a waste of a GCSE?
I think that learning is in itself a good thing and where as RE could arguably enable a student to develop empathy with other cultures then the learning of a second language can also help a student develop extra skills - there is benefit in the actual learning and I don't think that it could be considered a waste.

And Welsh is worth preserving, if decisions about what is worth saving were only made on the basis of how many people were directly affected by it then this would be a disaster for minorities everywhere. Welsh is a rich and vibrant language which is also structurally similar to romance languages such as Spanish and Italian, therefor an understanding of Welsh would also mean that (in theory!) it should be easier to earn additional languages as well.

gaelicsheep Sun 10-Mar-13 15:43:32

Except it should matter to Wales if no one who isn't Welsh wants to live there. I'm not saying that's the case, but I know of many who would indeed be put off. I now have to live here, I pay taxes here, my DS is being schooled here so it's my business, at least in the context of asking questions. English taxes are subsidising it so it's a UK issue. And I think it's something worthy of discussion.

gaelicsheep Sun 10-Mar-13 15:47:30

And again I'm being forced to be more hardline than I am. I promised to take it off onto a new thread which I have done, hoping for an open discussion about the merits of compulsory Welsh in non Welsh areas. There is a wider set of opinions on MN than currently represented here, but I'm not going to make myself the bad guy by playing devils advocate to create a discussion that no one wants to have.

MechanicalTheatre Sun 10-Mar-13 15:48:08

Considering the number of second homers, plus the lack of jobs, I don't think the Welsh are too worried about no-one else wanting to live there.

Learning a modern language to a high level at primary level from a native speaker is incredibly useful in terms of developing the skills and neural pathways to learn other languages later on. The fact that Wales has a pool of fluent Welsh speakers able to take on this role in schools is a massive asset.

And if children are going to stay in Wales as adults then having good Welsh will be necessary in a whole host of jobs. It seems only responsible to make it a mandatory subject.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 10-Mar-13 15:50:32

I used to live in Wales and one day would like to move back, I don't speak any welsh. I have a feeling but might be wrong that I'd be unlikely to get a job in the Nhs in Wales if I can't speak welsh. If that's true then people will be put off moving to Wales if it hinders their work prospects. But perhaps that suits the welsh. smile

Is RE a compulsory GCSE now? It used to be that you had to study it to age 16 but most just had half an hour a week and didn't sit an exam.

silwli Sun 10-Mar-13 15:58:00

How do you know that there a wider range of opinions on MN than are currently represented here? The majority of people have answered your question in a very open way and have pointed out that there are many benefits to learning a second language (specifically Welsh). It could just be that this is indicative of the opinions of a larger set of people. I do understand your point and I understand why you question the fact that your child will have to do a compulsory GCSE but equally, all compulsory GCSE's could be questioned.
And whilst I know that you were saying that it isn't necessarily the case that no one who isn't Welsh wants to live in Wales, I'd just like to point that the figures actually strongly demonstrate the opposite with the last census showing that in that year 16.4 thousand people migrated into Wales from overseas and that the figures were projected to rise year on year.

gaelicsheep Sun 10-Mar-13 16:02:25

I know because I have read them many times. As I've said I don't mind them learning Welsh as long is it doesn't crowd out more important subjects. But I am disturbed by the use of conversational Welsh outside lessons being commented on by Estyn. It is not their place to do so. This is the politicisation I am referring to and which I find uncomfortable.

KatieMiddleton Sun 10-Mar-13 16:12:14

Perhaps this meta-analysis of the benefits of a bilingual education will help you see the benefits of learning in both English and Welsh at school?

Another important point: in Wales there are children for whom Welsh is their first language. Therefore they have a right to receive their education in that first language. The same as my English child living in England does.

If you don't want your child to speak Welsh you have three choices:

1. Don't live in Wales
2. Send your child to a school over the border
3. Send your child to a private school where English is the main language.

Northey Sun 10-Mar-13 16:14:01

It is Estyn's place to comment. It has to evaluate the Welsh language provision in schools/other places of learning who are required to deliver it.

KatieMiddleton Sun 10-Mar-13 16:14:33

Are other subjects more important than the national language?

Outside the classroom children can speak what they like. I would have an issue with any political will being exerted in that context so I would agree on that point.

mamapants Sun 10-Mar-13 16:15:06

As I understand it the theory behind encouraging conversational welsh throughout the day is because if a language is studied in isolation in the 'welsh class' people don't gain the confidence to go out and use it outside the class and therefore never become fully competent in the language.
By being given the opportunity to use conversational welsh with their peer group they should gain confidence and then use it more readily outside the school and as a result gain competence and fluency. As a result learning the language in the classroom translates into a real skill as opposed to a tick box exercise.

KatieMiddleton Sun 10-Mar-13 16:17:53

Just as an aside, Welsh is an official national language of UK so you have a right to request a copy of any public document like a schools admission brochure or other council information leaflet in Welsh. Same as you can request anything in Welsh be issued in English.

frosch Sun 10-Mar-13 16:27:02

No, it's not a mainstream language but that does not make it less relevent. At a time when huge investment in Wales is creating much-needed employment opportunities, either directly or secondary, it would be foolish to ignore a country's language because no-one else in your area speaks Welsh. We are talking about a language here, not a dialect.

I live in Germany, where Latin is taught in secondary schools; any student expecting to study medicine or jurisprudence at univeristy will be expected to have a decent grade. It is not a mainstream language but neither is it irrelevent. Out towards the various borders, it is not unusal that children learn German and the language of their neighbouring country, both in the classroom and out in the playground. The Belgians learn French, Flemish, German and Dutch. The Dutch learn Fresian, Dutch and French. In South Tyrol, they learn Italian, German and Ladin. In the Alsace region of France, they learn French and German. It's not about what is 'useful' nor where else it is spoken in the world nor whose taxes pay for it. It's about developing basic communication skills to converse, trade and live with your neighbour.

My children attend a bilingual school and they are expected to use the language relevent to the particular lesson; that includes using the relevent language to ask if they can use the toilet. Why shouldn't they? It will help them to develop a flexibility and ease of fluency that will help them in future social and work situations.

Wales is not a county of England. It's a separate country. It has a fantastically rich heritage, culture and literature and a tenacious, proud and spirited people. Welsh is intrisic in the fabric of Wales.

MechanicalTheatre Sun 10-Mar-13 16:30:08

What is "more important" though?

English is given so much of the timetable and most of it is about literature. A lot of people don't ever read at all once they've left school. Is it really that important?

Startail Sun 10-Mar-13 16:30:43

My family have lived and worked in Mid Wales for 43 years, neither of my parents have ever need a word of Welsh, my DSIS needs to be able to copy type Welsh place names-that's it!

I know several people who work in Wales, but commute over the border because they decline to waste their DCs time learning Welsh.

As Gaelicsheep says it makes Wales look inward looking and unwelcoming.

Yes incomers should embrace the culture of the country they are joining, but make that something they want, not have to do.

However, much a few zealots may wish differently, an immigrant to England needs to, eventually, learn English and immigrant to Wales need never learn Welsh.

Also Wales is not an island. It is far easier for my parents to go shopping in Hereford, than in Cardiff. A train Shrewsbury is quicker than Swansea.

Wales is a land of mountains and consequently it is a divided land, the Welsh language, accent and traditions of the North are not those of the South. They are not the traditions of the English speaking centre. Pembrokeshire and Monmouthshire are divided even within their own borders.

My GreatGrandfather came from Monmouth, DMum says he refused to be either English or Welsh as the border has been either side of his home area in different bits of history.

Devolution has replaced control from London, with control from Cardiff. Just because the politicians are closer doesn't mean their ideas are any more relevant.

gaelicsheep Sun 10-Mar-13 16:39:57

Given that 75% or thereabouts of Welsh people do not speak Welsh, is no one bothered that they are excluded from public sector employment in their own country? Of course Welsh is now needed, because the Welsh government has created artificial conditions to ensure it is needed.

Northey Sun 10-Mar-13 16:43:08

It's entirely within its rights to do that, gaelic. Presumably if the welsh electorate disagreed with it as a priority and a course of action, it would vote in a party who promised to reverse it.

mejon Sun 10-Mar-13 16:43:39

Viva - you'd have no problem getting a job in the NHS here. There are very few jobs that require Welsh speaking as essential. Many job adverts state that speaking the language is 'desirable' or 'advantageous' but similarly many don't mention it at all.

I'm not going to engage on this thread any further. The OP has an agenda and from what I have seen - a massive chip on her shoulder. Perhaps you should have chosen Herefordshire when you had the chance.

Jellykat Sun 10-Mar-13 16:44:27

I live in Wales, and have 2 DSs.. DS1 came here at 12 yrs old, and got his Welsh GCSE, but only because the teacher practically told him the answers, a good pass rate was good for the school. He worked here for a year and then went to uni in England, knowing/ not knowing Welsh was irrelevant.
DS2 meanwhile went to a Welsh medium Primary from the age of 4, he did ok but struggled a bit, but it was a great school, with a lot of money to spend. When it came to choosing a Secondary school, we had to go for the Bilingual school. The local Welsh medium Sec. school, still give detentions for any child overheard speaking English in the playground fgs.

Now this is what i resent, the Welsh medium schools are known to have better funding for facilities and equipment then the bilingual here, and because DS2 is Dyspraxic, he just could not learn Maths/ science etc in a second language, it's hard enough as it is.. his school is crap, and i mean crap, but we have no choice.
Any DC with learning difficulties, who do not have Welsh as a first language really end up in the poorly funded schools (something like a third of DS2s school have some form of SEN) it's totally unfair.
And another thing, i've lived here for 10 years, i work P/T in a shop, and travel everywhere by bus and its been years since i've overheard a conversation in complete Welsh, things are changing.
Whilst i agree to it being taught in schools, preserve the language by all means, i resent the split in educational availability depending purely on the pupils Welsh speaking ability.

frosch Sun 10-Mar-13 16:51:20

Yes incomers should embrace the culture of the country they are joining, but make that something they want, not have to do. hmm

WallyBantersJunkBox Sun 10-Mar-13 16:55:32

Please don't apply the arrogant sweeping assumptions that people in South Wales don't care about keeping the Welsh language alive. I have two cousins who are teachers in Welsh schools within thriving Welsh speaking communities, the school admissions are full to the brim.

Yes Cardiff and Swansea are probably cities with wider ethnicity, but to disregard the Welsh language communities in the South and West is wrong indeed. just because people are tolerant and a little more relaxed publicly, doesn't mean they personally don't feel strongly about preserving the language.

On a practical note, if you settle in Wales and you plan on spending your life there i.e. you want your children to work there, in certain professions it does help to have a basic understanding of the pronunciation.

If you are working for the emergency services it can be a matter of life or death. I wonder how many people without a basic understanding could translate the following address:

1 Heol Meinciau, Mynyddygarreg, Kidwelly?

Or are you also suggesting that we Anglicise our place names too, to fit into your requirements?

frosch Sun 10-Mar-13 17:00:16

Agrees with Wally.

Primrose123 Sun 10-Mar-13 17:11:38

I am Welsh, and grew up learning very little Welsh in school. I know very few people who speak Welsh as their main language.

Welsh is not compulsory to GCSE in my DD's school, but I have encouraged her to take it, to help with getting a job in the future. She is at a disadvantage though, because some of the others speak Welsh at home, and she is finding it really hard to keep up.

I have been to Welsh classes as an adult, and speak and understand a little. I am interested in the language and enjoy learning it. But, I will never be completely fluent. I already speak two foreign languages! I spent years learning those, and still have to work at them to keep as fluent as possible.

I do feel that it is unfair to ask for Welsh in a job advert, unless the language is specifically needed for the job. I will always have that disadvantage, no matter how hard I work, or what other qualifications I have. I worry that this is the case for my children too. Even though they will hopefully get Welsh GCSE, they will not speak Welsh like a native speaker.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Sun 10-Mar-13 17:15:24

Why not?

Takver Sun 10-Mar-13 17:19:52

Well, I'm definitely much happier about Welsh being a compulsory GCSE than I am Religious Education.

Why wouldn't Welsh be compulsory at GCSE in Wales?
English GCSE is compulsory in England. confused

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Sun 10-Mar-13 17:25:56

Actually there are proportionately large numbers of Welsh speakers in Cardiff, simply because it is the largest city.

I used to go into Cardiff for piano lessons and listen to my teacher and her daughter talking away in Welsh and wish I understood better. Even the damn dog understood more Welsh than I did smile

As I understand gaelic, you live pretty close to the border. There are options.

Takver Sun 10-Mar-13 17:27:01

I'm also unconvinced about schools only offering dual science. Both our local secondaries offer triple - I've pasted in below the details from one of their websites.

From what I've heard and from information at open evenings I get the strong impression that at both schools triple science is not only available but very much expected for the more able students (basically, it is 'optional' in name only).

"Students start their Key Stage 4 course at the end of Year 9 and follow one of three routes:
Three GCSEs in Biology, Chemistry and Physics (what was once known as ‘Triple Science’).
Two GCSEs in Core Science and Additional Science.
BTEC Applied Science.
Biology, Chemistry and Physics are offered at AS and A level, and they are popular options. "

wonderstuff Sun 10-Mar-13 17:46:49

It isn't just north Wales were Welsh is spoken, I think it would be tragic if all pupils in Wales weren't given good opportunities to learn the language, bilingualism is such a benefit, language and culture are so intimately linked. My grandparents are from mid Wales, Welsh was their first language , my grandmother moved to London when she was 12 and my grandfather joined her in England after the war. I don't speak a lot of Welsh and this does at times exclude me, at my grandfathers funeral I didn't understand much of the service, at family gatherings people have to stick to English or translate for me. It's frustrating. I have never lived in Wales, but I imagine that there must be times when Welsh is so useful if you do, even in South Wales. My family are from just outside Aberystwyth. My cousin married an Englishman and he learnt Welsh when he moved there because it is still very much a first language for so many people.

gaelicsheep Sun 10-Mar-13 17:56:04

Why am I being cast as anti Wales with a chip on my shoulder because I ask questions about the education system? Wales and the Welsh language are not the same thing.

gaelicsheep Sun 10-Mar-13 17:58:41

And please stop directing this back at me. I said on another thread I would start a thread to continue the line of discussion. I was true to my word and started a thread. End of. Why so personal?

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Sun 10-Mar-13 18:05:08

The Welsh are often accused of being chippy and defensive - and with good reason a lot of the time.

However, I think given their history, gaelic, it is understandable. It's hard to separate an objective question from a sneer when you think others perceive your country to be overlooked at best, or a drain on resources, which is often a view you hear or read.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Sun 10-Mar-13 18:05:36

And to be clear, I know that's not what you think!

gaelicsheep Sun 10-Mar-13 18:13:53

You're right Ariel, I am not coming from a standpoint of sneering, simply objective curiosity about the country I find myself in.

Northey Sun 10-Mar-13 18:15:08

I honestly don't think you have been cast as anti-Wales, actually, and I don't think anyone's posts have been personal.

gaelicsheep Sun 10-Mar-13 18:19:46

Are you saying the tone of the responses would have been the same had I not made it very clear I am not Welsh?

Northey Sun 10-Mar-13 18:24:35

I honestly didn't pick up anything nasty in the tone of responses. The "don't like it then leave" faction are admittedly a bit blunt, but I think everyone else was just putting their point of view about why compulsory welsh isn't a bad thing.

Northey Sun 10-Mar-13 18:25:10

I hope you're feeling ok and not attacked.

BigSpork Sun 10-Mar-13 18:25:55

There is very little that binds people together and makes them a people than language. With languages going extinct at such a rapid pace (the stat is something like a a language dies every 14 days) mostly through repercussions of colonization. This was England's impact on Wales and it is very impressive that they've brought it from the verge to only vulnerable language status. All of these are interconnected and make for an emotive issue (and a very political one). People have fought very hard to get Welsh, Scots Gaelic, and BSL recognised and in schools (for the last, the fight still continues as it has yet to become a GCSE subject or even recognised in UK education as a Modern Language).

As for why, language gives a people an identity and an understanding of the people so learning it does both and both are important to creating a national identity (as are schools). Most would consider learning their cultural/national languages a very high priority, connecting with each other and their past.

Any language is useful and makes learning additional languages easier. I find the dismissive attitude towards Welsh and the push for other languages both sad and unrealistic. People living in Wales are far more like to run into a Welsh speaker or wish to read Welsh than Spanish or Mandarin. Sure, there are more Spanish or Mandarin speakers but due to dialects most cannot understand each other (you pretty much have to relearn the language to use it in Latin America compared to Spain Spanish which is taught in UK schools, for Mandarin it varies greatly by region and country to be be almost ununderstandable between them). For most careers/jobs, any language will be a bonus. Number of speakers shouldn't be the top priority in deciding a language, it's who we wish to communicate with.

And the argument of causing resentment was put for all modern languages and now the fall has been so great, and we so far behind global competitors, it's being brought back. The resentment argument has also been made for almost all subjects at one time or another. A nation has to decide how to define itself and this identity is put in the framework in schools to continue it - and Wales wants to continue it's language for all the reasons already discussed.

Really, I don't see why not.

frosch Sun 10-Mar-13 18:26:44

I don't think you're anti-Welsh or anti-Wales. You said in your opening post that the quality of Welsh education ranks right down there with the number of computers available to Reception age children. And I am FUMING having discovered DS will have to waste a valuable GCSE on the subject. The Welsh education system is not without its issues but, given that we're a small nation, Wales has gone on to produce a significant amount of Britain's politicians, entrepreneurs, educators, designers, architects, scientists, sportspeople and the like, all of whom have started off in the Welsh education system. I think that you're raging against something that will not actually disadvantage your DS.

gaelicsheep Sun 10-Mar-13 18:31:46

The problem is Northey that I don't like and I do want to leave, but I can't so I want to try and understand this country that seems so alien to me. Normally a but of good debate cheers me up, but not this time. It does feel like you are only welcome in Wales if you are Welsh or aspire to be so. But at the moment I am sooooooo pissed off with DS I am in tears -quite unrelated - so probably not thinking clearly.

badguider Sun 10-Mar-13 18:33:05

I think a compulsory second language to 16 is a good thing. Chuldren who master a second language find a third fourth or more far easier later in life. At least with it being welsh for all children in Wales they can practise, watch tv, read road signs etc. I learned German at school (only from 11-16) and disnt go to a German speaking country till I was about 25. I have never seen a German tv programme and as nobody else around me knew it I couldn't practice.
I have tried learning Spanish as an adult but I really regret that I didn't get a chance to really learn any second language properly as a child.

BigSpork Sun 10-Mar-13 18:34:07

As an immigrant in England, I often get the feeling that I'm only welcome if I appear to aspire to be English (and have been attacked for not appearing to assimilate enough). Sadly, it's a very common phenomenon.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Sun 10-Mar-13 18:37:59

gaelic, forgive me, but having seen your St David's Day thread, I think a lot of your negative feelings may just be because you're homesick generally sad. The Welsh thing is a hook to hang it on a little.

Like I said to you before, my parents moved to Wales in 1975 and at first my mum was dreadfully homesick for Hampshire, her family and friends. But nearly 38 years later, with my dad long since retired, they're still there. I'm not sure it's different to moving anywhere else. I moved to Cornwall 12 years ago and I still long for Wales sometimes, but I don't think I'm unwelcome here.

WallyBantersJunkBox Sun 10-Mar-13 18:46:17

Alien? Really? It's hardly Saudi or Japan is it?

Why do you feel that way?

My grandfather was English, moved to West Wales for my nan, ended up voting Plaid Cymru at the end of his life.

Incidentally I left Wales at 18, moved to London for years, US and now reside in Switzerland. I've never felt any country as Alien, I miss home comforts sometimes but that's my issue, and my job to find happiness, not the Swiss nations.

Startail Sun 10-Mar-13 18:46:26

I think for many many Welsh people this is an Elephant in the room and always has been.

When I was a child friends parents Welsh and English all resented money spent on bilingual signs and leaflets. We all hated Welsh lessons and thought they were a total waste of time. This was despite our Welsh master being very good.

But the people of my home town are still proud to be Welsh, both born and bred locals and DFs of mixed parentage and English birth.

This pride has made people susceptible to steady and very skilful drip drip brain washing the being Welsh means supporting the Welsh language.

Too late people realise what this was aiming at. To suddenly turn round now and say I'm Welsh, but Welsh medium education is a step too far is very difficult. It has been introduced very skilfully and the funding done very carefully.

Too late people are realising WM isn't an alternative EM is so badly funded they are left with no choice.

I disagree. I missed compulsory Welsh and am desperate to learn as an adult, my DC are in wm schools.

I cannot speak Welsh because my bampi was caned whenever he spoke Welsh in school so to help him get rid of his first language his parents started speaking only English at home. He forgot the Welsh and got less beatings from his teachers as a result. It's an emotive subject I feel that our language was almost stolen from us, and with Welsh speakers riding from 25% to 36% in the past five years, I am happy that it is compulsory in em schools.

Where I work Welsh speakers earn 4% more because of their additional skill base. When I worked in the council the same was true. if you live in Wales it may not be essential, but it is a benefit and as gradually more of us take up the language, it will become more essential.

Not sure that you can say that it's subsidised by English tax either- Welsh and English tax isn't separated and i'm sure Welsh taxes go to the free fruit in English schools for young children, I don't resent this. Tax is spent in many things I disagree with, that's tough though really isn't it?

gaelicsheep Sun 10-Mar-13 19:23:16

Wally - I don't know but also don't really want to go into it here if that's OK as I didn't start the thread to whine about being homesick smile

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Sun 10-Mar-13 19:30:43

gaelic, have a nice wine. I think you need one.

teatrolley Sun 10-Mar-13 19:31:32

It's a language. It's no more 'a waste' than learning Dutch or Turkish, which it's also likely he'll never really use. I haven't had much need for French in everyday life. And, in case you've forgotten, you do live in Wales. Surely that's enough of a reason.

Clarabumps Sun 10-Mar-13 19:51:41

I'm Scottish and my mother moved to Wales 2 years ago now. I went to visit her last year and I found the Welsh people to be fiercely patriotic and it was really refreshing. I loved that they were very proud of their language and it was spoken openly in the local pub. We were made very welcome and I did not feel "alien" or "unwelcome" at all. It was their language and that was it, The same way I wouldn't get annoyed about someone speaking spanish in Spain.

I have to ask, why did you move to Wales? When in Wales do as the welsh do. I think its incredibly entitled to expect them to miss out a major part of their heritage just because it doesn't really suit you. For the majority of people, they are going to stay in Wales. Are you just using it as house prices are cheaper until the market picks up and something better comes along.

I'm sorry if this seems harsh but it happens in the Highlands as well and it really makes my blood boil. Complaining about Gaelic. Anyway..I'm sorry if I've been harsh but why do you not try and learn the language yourself??

gaelicsheep Sun 10-Mar-13 19:53:56

No I'm sorry. Enough's enough. I dn

Northey Sun 10-Mar-13 19:57:20

All right, tea trolley and clara, I imagine you didn't bother reading the whole thing, as otherwise you'd know the OP is sad and homesick and not in need of snarky comments about house prices. I'm sure you wouldn't have been so rude if you'd known.

gaelicsheep Sun 10-Mar-13 19:59:22

I don't expect anyone to miss out on anything to suit me. Where the hell have. I said that? Please do NOT put words in my mouth.
I moved for work reasons. I changed job despite it being in Wales, not because. I regret it. End of discussion about that. We can't afford to stay in Herefordshire and commute so now we're stuck unless I resign, which I can't do as I've now nothing to go back to. This is all my problem not Wales' problem. I get that, I'm not stupid!

gaelicsheep Sun 10-Mar-13 20:05:26

Btw I would be equally fuming at a compulsory RE GCsE. Except there is a legal right to withdraw your child from RE, so I understand. I don't believe that right exists for Welsh.

Clarabumps Sun 10-Mar-13 20:08:10

I'm sorry I didn't read the whole thing.I read the first page then skipped to the end. A rookie mistake. I'm sorry you are having a hard time of it. I'm sorry I was so quick to judge. It's just the "fuming about GCSE" comment got my back up as I felt like you were negating it as a waste of a language. I didn't read the full thread.
I'm sorry, I really am.
What do you think would make you feel better, if you could wave a magic wand (although staying in Wales as we've realised that moving is not an option)..would you like a better friend network or is it just to feel more included?

Northey Sun 10-Mar-13 20:10:05

Whereabouts are you, gaelicsheep? I am in Wales, not a million miles from Hereford. And also having a miserable time here, incidentally.

You live in Wales. They teach Welsh at school. Obviously.

If you don't like it, don't live in Wales.


ArielThePiraticalMermaid Sun 10-Mar-13 20:19:46

RTFT LaBelle.

gaelicsheep Sun 10-Mar-13 20:20:46

Now LaBelle, please imagine I had not declared myself to be an immigrant and see if you would have phrased your post any differently. I don't think it's simple at all which is why I started the thread.

Northey Sun 10-Mar-13 20:24:06

Ooh, insightful, LaBelle.

gaelicsheep Sun 10-Mar-13 20:51:20

Thanks Northey. I'd rather not say on the thread, I'm sure you understand. Needless to say it isn't Gwynedd!

Northey Sun 10-Mar-13 20:57:20

Well, if you happen to be in a market town along the wye, you have a sister in misery sending you supportive vibes.

gaelicsheep Sun 10-Mar-13 20:57:55

I suppose I should also confess I am not a person who loves languages. I'm a science/maths/music type of person. So I wasn't best impressed at having to do French GCSE at school. I would have rather done German if pressed, but you couldn't do it without French. For me, French was a goodly waste of a GCSE. I got an A but can barely speak a word now. So no, not condemning Welsh GCSE as a waste of a language, just of a GCSE for people not disposed to languages. I suppose that doesn't help redeem me though.

pansyflimflam Sun 10-Mar-13 21:01:57

Absolutely Labelle

English in England and Welsh in Wales. Both should be compulsory.

Such a huge effort was made to decimate Welsh in actually a very short space of time, that a huge effort has to be made to bring it back into use - if UK resources are used then so be it - Wales is part of the UK and we need to do all we can to preserve it's unique language.

gaelicsheep Sun 10-Mar-13 21:05:42

Are you suggesting English shouldn't be compulsory in Wales?

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Sun 10-Mar-13 21:39:08

I don't think she is smile

gaelicsheep Sun 10-Mar-13 21:42:56

No probably she wasn't. I probably need a MN break.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Sun 10-Mar-13 21:58:49

It's a strange place sometimes, is it not? I've suggested on another thread setting up a rival site called There were several takers.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Sun 10-Mar-13 22:00:20

Sorry, that would be

MrSlant Sun 10-Mar-13 22:30:44

I just have to come on really to a) Say I see where you are coming from completely, it's an interesting debate and I feel in some places things are going a little bit too far in the opposite direction from the 'Welsh not', I hope it will come to a happier medium soon. Some children I think are failed by a system where they have to be bilingual, some children are only going to thrive in one language. OTOH I don't see any harm in Welsh being compulsory at GCSE, it can be taken as a foreign language, similar to French/Spanish as well as the one my children will do which is more akin to English Lit (do they even still do lit/lang as separate GCSE's, I really need to find out).

My b) is just to point out that Welsh is spoken as a main language in a lot more places than people realise. DH comes from a family where his parents are both from different areas of south Wales and only ever speak Welsh. DH is first language and we live in a (Southern) area where it is commonly spoken in the pub/supermarket/at work etc. I work in the NHS and I've learned because I like to be able to book patients in in their own language and speak to them as well as I can. Older people often lose their English if it is the second language and it is hard to treat someone who doesn't understand you!

My DC's go to Welsh medium schools but we have opted for them to do science/maths in English which seems a good compromise to me and they look like they will be science based later in life. Plus as KateM linked, there is proof that learning another language enhances your ability to learn many other things.

gaelicsheep Sun 10-Mar-13 22:32:36

grin Busy scouring the web for suitable jobs back home, as indeed if I don't like Wales I should leave, and realising how specific my skill set is sad. indeed! and would apply equally.

gaelicsheep Sun 10-Mar-13 22:35:12

Thanks for your perspective MrSlant. The grin was at Ariel, just thought I should clarify.

MrSlant Sun 10-Mar-13 22:35:24

<backs off in horror at the thought of anyone wanting to leave Wales> wink

Heavywheezing Sun 10-Mar-13 22:50:20

Well, the GCSE rate compared to England is poorer as is the health service but that could be a whole other discussion.

As someone who was educated in Wales, and started teacher training in Wales, I'm sorry, I just don't see the point of diverting money that could be spent elsewhere on better resources or whatever.

I wonder how much money it cost translating everything, roadsigns, leaflets etc

I live in England now and I'm happier for my children to be better educated in England. Schools and education are more rigous here, perhaps the decline in standards is because of the Welsh language, that they are so worried preserving this language that they have taken their eye off the ball and let England get further ahead.

Certain parts of Cardiff speak Welsh, go to Pontcanna and see. I think Welsh medium schools in Cardiff are over subscribed and it's the Welsh equivelent of a grammar education but with popularity means falling standards.

hippo123 Sun 10-Mar-13 22:52:49

Hi garlicsheep, I've just skimmed though this thread so sorry if I have missed something. Is the main issue that kids in Wales have to study welsh though to gcse level (if that's true - probably is in state education I should think)? Or do you have other concerns as well?
At gcse level I believe kids have the choice of taking it as an second language option. If they attend a bilingual or English medium school this shouldn't prove to much of a problem for them, no more than english kids in England taking French / German. I think they can still take the sciences as single subjects in most schools if bright enough.
It sounds like you live in a very English speaking part of wales so I'm strugglling to see what your issue is to be honest. Your son may have to ask to go to the toilet in welsh but I don't see how that's a bad thing? My kids have no choice but to go to a Welsh medium school as we're in Gwynedd. My just turned 6 year old is fleunt and I think his school is fantastic. We do however do lots of reading in English at home as being English ourselves I feel that's important as well, they don't normally start leaning English until 7 here, but then quickly pick it up.
The way I see it my kids will be able to take an active part in their very welsh speaking community. Around here you need welsh in 95% of cases to apply for jobs in the nhs, council, shops, cafes, bars etc. I don't see how having a Welsh medium education can be of any disadvantage to them even if they later chose to study / live in England / anywhere else in the world.
As a parent though I sympathsie to some extent with you. I found it really hard to understand the point of it all and initially felt my kids were at a disadvantage as they concentrated so much on getting ds welsh up to scratch in the first year of primary school. I also feel, and still do to some degree, an outsider. But that's my problem and nobody else's, after all i am an outsider. Taking welsh classes myself has helped. I can just about keep up with my ds reading books and people appreciate I'm making the effort. Overall I am now so proud of my bilingual children. It's always been me that has had the issues with it, not the kids. They just adapt.

WallyBantersJunkBox Sun 10-Mar-13 23:01:42

I know you might not want to go into it here Gaelic as it's not the right forum. Does sound as if you need to speak to someone about your unhappiness at your situation.

Hope you can sort it out. I've been lucky to feel patriotism, but never homesickness so I wish you all the best.

gaelicsheep Sun 10-Mar-13 23:11:12

hippo - it was never meant to be about what I think at all! I don't know what I think about Wales, Welsh, anything any more. I was far more interested in finding out what others thought, but somehow it kept coming back to me, sometimes quite rudely it must be said.

I think I'm truly ambivalent. I'm proud of what DS is achieving with Welsh on top of the other challenges he has faced. I am very glad to try and learn how to pronounce local placenames and I nearly have it cracked. I personally have no wish to learn Welsh as I've far too much else on my plate with my job. As long as doing Welsh in secondary doesn't hinder DS I probably won't mind it. I feel no real love or affinity for where we are living, but were we over the border I suspect I'd still feel the same. So, as I said at the very beginning I am on the fence, willing and able to be persuaded of the benefits of Welsh, but wishing I wasn't here.

hippo123 Sun 10-Mar-13 23:55:33

I think if your wishing your wasn't here then that's your answer. I love being here. You get seen in a&e within an hour (as oppose to 4 hours where I'm from in England), I can ring up my doctors and get an appointment for the same day, the welsh medium primary school my children attend has been rated as excellent. We have a wide choice of good secondary schools, including one English medium one should we wish. Above all we live in a place which has a great community feel, has beaches, lakes, mountains etc on our doorstep, low crime levels, my kids can play out safely, loads of outdoor activities available nearby, bike paths, water sports , mountaineering, climbing etc. what's not to love? Learning welsh at secondary level won't do your son anymore harm than learning any other language, I fail to see how it can be a negative thing. Sometimes the grass seems greener on the other side?

Viviennemary Mon 11-Mar-13 00:03:30

Will forcing Welsh lessons on reluctant children really help. I can see why people don't think this is a good idea. But I suppose if your DC's wish to live in Wales when they grow up then it will be a good idea to be able to speak Welsh.

gaelicsheep Mon 11-Mar-13 00:17:37

hippo - where you are now sounds like where I can from

gaelicsheep Mon 11-Mar-13 00:18:00

came from

hippo123 Mon 11-Mar-13 00:21:41

I don't think the majority of children are reluctant, at least at primary level. It's the parents, myself included, that seem to have the issue with it. Kids adapt and pick up other languages easily. England is way behing other countries in terms of speaking other languages. Loads of countries introduce other languages at an early age with no problems.

hippo123 Mon 11-Mar-13 00:23:20

Just outside Caernarfon gaelicsheep.

gaelicsheep Mon 11-Mar-13 00:23:53

I think perhaps if I felt the education was any good in other ways I'd be less bothered. But I believe there are some quite significant problems. But as Miss Annersley pointed out upthread, I am doomed forever to worry about this, no matter where I am!

gaelicsheep Mon 11-Mar-13 00:25:03

Sounds very nice. DH hates it here with a passion, so I have guilt as well.

hippo123 Mon 11-Mar-13 00:28:03

Perhaps it's more an issue with your sons particular school then the welsh / English thing? My ds (6) has been to 2 local schools, due to moving a few miles, both have been rated excellent, yet the new school ds is currently in is IMO far better than the other one (and far more torrent of other faiths / cultures / English). maybe have a look around other schools?

gaelicsheep Mon 11-Mar-13 00:39:05

Actually despite how it might sound I'm quite happy with his school and wouldn't want to move him. I think it's all about me and DH, DH not liking the area, me feeling I dragged him here under false pretences, certain things having not quite worked out with the job as I hoped, me feeling quite overwhelmed and scared by the challenges I'm being faced with at work. Unhappy me, even more unhappy DH who loved it where we were before, no way back. DS and DD getting on just fine, as you said.
Really not Wales' fault at all as Ariel rightly pointed out, but then I never said it was. And then I could be happy as anything and still have many doubts about education policy!
The thing is we believed (wrongly it turns out) that the move here could be temporary, so we never really thought about long term implications of living in Wales.

hippo123 Mon 11-Mar-13 00:46:16

Now we're getting there gaelicsheep. As I think you know these are the issues you need to address.

gaelicsheep Mon 11-Mar-13 00:50:27

Yes, but it still doesn't stop me being genuinely interested in whether compulsory Welsh education to 16, throughout Wales, is the right thing! I have heard things that persuade me that it probably is, and what someone - sorry I can't find it now - pointed out about conversational Welsh helping cement the formal learning made sense too.

sashh Mon 11-Mar-13 03:41:14

Who speaks Welsh in the world other than the Welsh?


mamapants Mon 11-Mar-13 13:21:04

Interestingly Gwynedd Council will be hosting a national conference on the future of welsh speaking communities later on this month.

harryhausen Mon 11-Mar-13 13:28:11

Can I add my two pennies worth?

My family are from N. Wales. I lived there until I went to college in 1991. I went to a bilingual school, however back then it was truely bilingual. We had 'English speaking' streams and 'Welsh speaking' streams. The language we spoke at home was English. However, by the true nature of the school all the English speakers were great Welsh learners and we all crossed over. Generally it was great, worked really well.

However, as much as I love Wales and my family I could never go back now. Since I left the true bilingual nature of our school as changed to everything being taught through the medium of Welsh. I know this as some of my old school friends still live there and there children are currently going through GCSE's and A levels. My friend dd's just got great grades at GCSE despite this. She had to go to Chemistry and learn all the stuff in Welsh (welsh periodic tables etc), ^translate it^ into English in her head to work it all out then translate it all back into Welsh. I hear examples like this all the time.

I love Wales and the welsh language - I can still speak pretty well. However, as we speak English at home I couldn't put my kids through all that. I would want them to learn it as a language but complete teaching through Welsh only wouldn't not make me comfortable.

I know parents that have moved over the border. Not because they don't want their children to learn Welsh, but because if the aggressive welsh language enforcement. I do believe this is only prevalent in Gwynedd though hmm

I'm sorry you're not feeling happy OP. I live in England now and if its any consolation it's taken me 6 years to feel kind of happy where I am xxx

Dottiespots Mon 11-Mar-13 15:36:39

Eira eira eira!!!!! Ahhhhh.....its so beautiful here in the mountains of Snowdonia. Snow blizzards today. Here in the North of Wales, near Caernarfon the everyday spoken language is Welsh not English and the majority of people who live here are Welsh therefore when they go to school of course it is all done in Welsh. The shops converse in Welsh, hospitals converse in Welsh, BBC here is Welsh, Welsh TV; etc.....and they have been speaking like this here for ever apart from when the Welsh Knot existed when the Welsh were not allowed to speak their language and were punished for doing so. The thing is if you dont like it then dont move here. Come for a holiday by all means but just dont live here.

mungotracy Mon 11-Mar-13 15:44:40

On Welsh

"For many people, it's their first language, actually"


Its actually rarer than the gaelsprach communities in ireland. The main effect of welsh is that now the welsh governement can insist that anyone in public office has to speak it. This has meant that most welsh teenagers cant get council jobs and leave wales. Which has caused the welsh countryside to depopulate further......infact....economically its been a massive own goal. Teaching its as valid as any language.....the IMPOSITION of it is a very different thing.

Dottiespots Mon 11-Mar-13 15:51:20

mungotracy actually from Mid Wales right up the coast to the tip of Anglesey, Welsh IS the first language. Only English populated areas where it has tappered off a bit. Its not rare at all. And we are Welsh so why would we not speak it. Its natural to us.

Startail Mon 11-Mar-13 16:05:07

Given where we live and what she wants to do, I'd love DD to be able to consider a Welsh university, but this nonsense makes me doubt the wisdom of her doing so.

She might enjoy the course, but having no Welsh, staying in Wales to work afterwards would be difficult. She's dyslexic and utterly useless at learning languages, so she's not going to learn it.

Startail Mon 11-Mar-13 16:13:57

Oh and can we get one thing straight Welsh is not spoken in MID Wales.

Montgomeryshire Yes, but any sane person knows they are in the North really.

Radnorshire is the very centre and they have no tradition of speaking Welsh what so ever.

And before you say, but surely they are all in Powys. Yes Powys was invented when I was a little girl, it's a stupidly big, administrative area that causes all kinds of chaos.

Dottiespots Mon 11-Mar-13 16:36:16

Welsh is definately spoken in mid Wales.

PointeShoes Mon 11-Mar-13 16:47:12

Startail if your daughter wants to go to a welsh uni then Glyndwr Uni is in Wrexham. You don't need to speak any welsh to go there. I go there, we have always lived on the border in England ( shropshire ) and have moved just 5 miles into Wales. No difference in education really either apart from in the schools in Wales, welsh is put in the curriculum, but really it's not properly taught to the children at primary level ( training to be a teacher ), just as when children are taught French, they don't get to a level where they can have proper conversations. My son will be going to a school in Wales and learn welsh, I don't think he will use it in the future, as not enough people speak it to keep it alive where we live. Which I guess is just the way it is.

Dottiespots Mon 11-Mar-13 16:53:17

Startail Powys was not invented when you were a little girl, Powys has been around since the middle ages. My husbands ancestor King Hywel Dda ruled Gwynedd and most of Wales including the Kindgdom of Powys and this was about the mid 900.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Mon 11-Mar-13 16:58:41

mumbo what utter nonsense. The Gaeltacht areas of Ireland are so rare they actually put them in road signposts.

When I first got together with my now-DH (English) I took him to visit the Black Mountain and we stopped for petrol in Llandeilo. He came back from paying completely nonplussed because the three people in the queue before him had conducted their transactions with the cashier in Welsh. He said he'd never realised grin.

I've never heard that in Ireland.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Mon 11-Mar-13 16:59:02

The equivalent in Irish, obv. Not Welsh.

greenhill Mon 11-Mar-13 17:00:12

Dyfed is Mid Wales too, they certainly spoke Welsh there when I was at university, 20 odd years ago.

Someone on another thread referred to East Wales, which reminded me that there is an old Welsh joke that East Wales is England. grin

CecilyP Mon 11-Mar-13 17:06:54

Do many Welsh-speaking people learn to drive? If it is their first language, why do they not opt to take their driving theory test in Welsh? (only 112 tests conducted with Welsh on-screen in 2009-10) Seeing this opportunity exists in all Welsh test centres, why do so few Welsh people avail themselves of it?

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Mon 11-Mar-13 17:10:35

No idea and I don't understand why you're asking in that challenging way confused. I imagine it's because Welsh is mainly a home rather than an official language and the practice material is mainly in English. Welsh speakers are bilingual, you know.

Dottiespots Mon 11-Mar-13 17:12:16

Because the theory text books are in English. So if we learn it in English it is easier to take it in English.

Dottiespots Mon 11-Mar-13 17:15:29

Seriously though, whats your problem with the Welsh Cecilyp. Why are you looking for things to have a go at us for. We speak Welsh....get over it.

MechanicalTheatre Mon 11-Mar-13 17:24:10

It really amazes the level of hostility people still have towards the native languages of the UK that aren't English.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Mon 11-Mar-13 17:27:17

It's because they're TAXPAYERS you know! And as TAXPAYERS they ought to be able to slag off whatever they like because they are SUBSIDISING IT.

MechanicalTheatre Mon 11-Mar-13 17:30:17

OP, that's not directed at you btw. I think you're having a bit of culture shock and directing it at the country. I have done the same when I've moved to different places.

CecilyP Mon 11-Mar-13 17:31:43

Charming! I don't have any problem whatsoever with the Welsh. It was rather in response to your post above, Dottie, that the Welsh do just about everything in Welsh and I thought that well, there is one thing that they definitely don't. But I have had another look and realise you were writing more about conversation, rather than anything else. I do understand that if all the practice materials are in English, then it is probably easier to take it in English. I guess I am wondering because it must have cost the Driving Standards Agency a considerable amount of money to make this available, (it is only available in English or Welsh on screen - no other languages that are commonly spoken by immigrant groups) and it seems a shame and rather a waste if so few people use it.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Mon 11-Mar-13 17:40:13

Well apologies for sounding chippy, but I honestly thought your post seemed confrontational. You see so many things like this, not only on MN. I remember a Welsh language debate in which people ended up frothing about subsidising Welsh health care, hospital parking, tuition fees, S4C etc and when I tried putting across the alternative point of view someone barked at me "Ariel I assume you speak FLUENT WELSH? WELL DO YOU??????" etc etc. I said no I didn't as I'd been brought up with English as my first language, as had most of my friends in SE Wales and my adversary seemed delighted by this fact, as though I personally had proved every point she had been trying to make.

Apologies if I misunderstood you.

Dottiespots Mon 11-Mar-13 17:44:56

CecilP Well maybe my response was because of the way you started your post "Do many Welsh speaking people learn to drive? It was a bit sarcastic. No Welsh is not just conversation, we have alot of Welsh written books and textbooks and all Welsh speakers and and do write in Welsh as well as English. Unfortunately as far as I know there is no driving theory book in Welsh at the present time hence why we choose to do it in English.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Mon 11-Mar-13 17:48:29

And I imagine that providing languages for all "immigrant groups" would indeed be impractical, whereas the UK, like many European countries e.g. the Netherlands, Switzerland, Luxembourg has more than one native language, and they give them equal status.

Dottiespots Mon 11-Mar-13 17:54:23

And to be fair, alot of the posts on here are very confrontational and it would seem that people just dont for some reason like the fact that people speak Welsh. Its the same as when we get the holidaymakers who complain and have a go at us for speaking Welsh around them. They imply that we are only speaking Welsh so they cant understand us. Honestly, it makes me laugh. We speak Welsh because that is the norm for us. We can and do speak fluent English too and alot of us speak French, German, Chinese etc.

MechanicalTheatre Mon 11-Mar-13 17:54:41

The thing is when the government do try to provide languages for all groups, they get shit for that as well. Can't win really. Basically, a lot of people want England for the English, and only English spoken.

weegiemum Mon 11-Mar-13 18:05:33

My children were born in the Outer Hebrides. It's not Welsh, it's Gaelic. They lived there until they were 6, 4, 2 and dd1 started school there, went to Croiligean (Gaelic nursery) and roinnigean Beag (creche for age 2-3) there.

When we moved to Glasgow, we'd researched the bilingualism thing enough that we continued - and now SGG (Sgoil Ghaidlig Glaschu - Glasgow Gaelic School) is the largest primary in Glasgow, they're building another school here and Edinburgh is now getting a dedicated Gaelic school too.

It's a bit political here - there's a lot of comment about the "Gaelic mafia" - those who don't let their dc speak anything else, and are very involved in school issues. But most folk are in it for the immense benefits of bilingual education, and kind of for the school culture in the motto "Da Canan, Da Chultar, iomadh cothron" which means "2 languages, 2 cultures, many opportunities".

I'm an English language teacher, but I really value the extra language my children learn. And the cultural advantages such as music, singing, sports that a bi-cultural school brings.

maishoffwcingras Mon 11-Mar-13 18:13:53

agree with dotties, we speak Welsh because that is our language, just the same as you speak English because that is your language. I'm sure people don't complain about people speaking Italian when they visit Italy. I've heard about people complaining about Welsh being spoken in the workplace too. Yes we are bilingual but if Welsh is your first language, it feels so awkward to speak English to someone you normally speak Welsh to. I speak French and so does my DH but I would feel like a twat speaking to him in French.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Mon 11-Mar-13 18:15:24

Well said weegie.

Though I pity anyone having to learn Gaelic from scratch. It's about 1,000,000 times harder than Welsh grin

CelticPromise Mon 11-Mar-13 18:21:24

Just to add another perspective. I was brought up in NE Wales and learnt Welsh at school until I was 14, when we moved to The Other Place grin I live in that London and have no need of Welsh at all. I still wish I had been sent to a WM school because it's part of my culture. I can pronounce it and sing various hymns but that's all I know beyond the basics, and it's a shame. I know a lot of people who have moved back and sent their children to WM schools so they become fluent. If we lived closer we'd definitely consider the London Welsh School for DS. It's also a really lovely language to speak and sing in. It's not just about what you need for your job.

Jojobump1986 Mon 11-Mar-13 18:45:55

FWIW, I had to do a half GCSE in Welsh & half in RE. I also did separate sciences. By the time my DSis made it to GCSEs they'd stopped doing separate sciences at that school purely because it was extra work for the teachers & created scheduling issues, nothing to do with prioritising Welsh AFAIK.

I was born & brought up in Wales but have English parents. Neither of them have any Welsh qualifications & both work in the NHS. I genuinely wish I'd gone to a WM school so I could've been a bit more bilingual. I'm now living in England, married to an Englishman who I have 1.5 more GCSEs than with 1 English DS & another on the way. I speak as much of my very limited Welsh as possible to my DS & have quite a lot of bilingual books & DVDs. I'm hoping we can learn together in a more natural, conversational way than we were taught in school.

Personally, I think it's really valuable for Welsh to be taught in schools but it does need to have more of a positive vibe. At school, for us at least, Welsh was done because it had to be, there was very little suggestion that we should love the language. Even the teachers seemed to assume that teaching us was a battle between us not wanting to know & them having to teach us. Absolutely no passion for the subject from the 'experts'. Our teachers would regularly speak to each other in Welsh because they assumed we wouldn't be able to understand them. More fool them when they were caught having 'personal' conversations by a Welsh-speaking child! wink The same could be said for every subject at the school though. I can only think of one teacher who genuinely seemed to love her subject & wanted to inspire others to love it too.

I digress. Basically I think Welsh should be taught, indeed compulsory, in schools & usage encouraged conversationally but I don't think children should be punished for not using it. Surely if a teacher speaks to a child in Welsh & they can reply in English that demonstrates their understanding at least!

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Mon 11-Mar-13 18:55:00

My nephew, aged two, was born in London to his Londoner dad and my sis, who was born in Wales to English parents like me. He has picked up a perfect "Ach y fi!" and "Mae'n twp", I think from my mum grin. He's progressed this afternoon to "Mae'n bwrw eira".

I don't think he even realises they're words from another language. It's interesting.

Startail Mon 11-Mar-13 19:09:10

Yes, sorry I know Powys has ancient roots, it's just those roots don't take into account it's way easier to go West into England than north into the rest of Powys or south to Cardiff. This makes the bit of Wales I still call home a bit of an anomaly, perhaps.

gaelicsheep Mon 11-Mar-13 19:14:02

MechanicalTheatre - you are right. Unlike when I lived in Scotland I have no prior connection with Wales so I'm struggling to feel it. I guess it feels like the different language puts another barrier in the way of that. It's like emigrating by accident grin. But I hope you and others have seen that I have been persuaded that learning Welsh will be good for the DCs. I suppose I'm also sad they won't get the opportunity to learn Gaelic as I always hoped they would.

Dottiespots Mon 11-Mar-13 19:14:41

Startail do you mean east into England?confused smile

Dottiespots Mon 11-Mar-13 19:17:19

gaelicsheep I think you have hit the nail on the head. Moving to Wales is like emigrating. It is another country with its own unique language and history.

MechanicalTheatre Mon 11-Mar-13 19:19:12

OP, could you teach your children Gaelic?

I'm a Doric speaker and the thought of any child of mine spikkin wi a ploom in their moo makes me come over all funny.

MechanicalTheatre Mon 11-Mar-13 19:22:21

OP, could you teach your children Gaelic?

I'm a Doric speaker and the thought of any child of mine spikkin wi a ploom in their moo makes me come over all funny.

pansyflimflam Mon 11-Mar-13 19:29:22

The problem with lots of English people is that they just see Wales as an extension of England. Like the UK has England and some other places.... I say this as an English woman born and bread who is moving at some point to Wales and yes, it is another country and very very happy that my children will be living in another culture and language. In fact, most of my children are going into the independent system so it is not compulsory there. Whatever I will make sure they learn the language of the country we will be living in.

MechanicalTheatre Mon 11-Mar-13 19:34:00

I hate to say it pansy, but I do agree with you. There is so often an arrogance in England that other cultures are the same as theirs - or that they should be.

I love England, have lived here for a long time but there are big differences between here and home.

Dottiespots Mon 11-Mar-13 19:56:10

Its similar to the way some English people regard Australia. They dont seem to understand that Australia is a country that has its own different ways. Alot of English people go to Australia believing that it will be like the UK but hotter when in fact it is not. Alot of English people feel that they are not welcome when they get to Australia but what they dont understand is that if they tried to intigrate themselves with the ways of the Australians rather than moaning about all the differences that they would get on better and would be accepted.

gaelicsheep Mon 11-Mar-13 21:02:46

MT - unfortunately I don't speak Gaelic myself, although I did always fancy learning. But languages don't come naturally to me, so I think that's now even less likely than me learning Welsh. sad. We do still watch BBC Alba though, mostly for the music programmes.

gaelicsheep Mon 11-Mar-13 21:10:37

I am reading the comment about English people - I am English by birth, not sure if anyone twigged that - and I am ashamed to realise I seem to have the same attitude that I hate in others. In my defence, I do think it is the circumstances that have created this situation in my case. Equally I will admit I would not choose to move to a very Welsh part of Wales because I do think I would struggle with the language side of things. Same as I wouldn't move abroad. What I wouldn't do, honestly, is move to an obviously Welsh speaking area and complain about people speaking Welsh.

I've learned a lot on this thread, so thank you. And most of you seem lovely.

Startail Mon 11-Mar-13 23:11:19

I think that's my problem, going home is getting more and more like visiting a foreign country.

There are Welsh signs on all the roads, not just those that always had Welsh names, Welsh signs in the supermarket and weirdest of all it says Ysgol on my old school gate.

I feel an alien in the place I call home and it makes me sad. Sad both because I know I can never go home and sad for my old friends.

As I have said non of my generation, or my parents generation speak Welsh. I feel that devolution has imposed a form of Welsh Nationalism on the area from outside. A form of nationalism that isn't theirs and that they don't want to pay for.

They and especially their children are part of Cardiff's elites master plan and that is just as alien to a hill sheep farmer as nonsense out of London is to those of us in rural England.

Dottiespots Mon 11-Mar-13 23:39:19

Startail say non of your generation or your parents generation speak Welsh. Do you mean just the people you know or everyone in your whole area? Are you yourself Welsh? Obviously Wales is another Country. Welsh Nationalism is very strong in most of Wales. People whether they speak Welsh or not are proud of their heritage, history, language and culture. Its not imposed from outside of Wales, its here in Wales. Welsh people have fought years and years , throughout history to have their country recognised as an independant place. Not part of England but a country in its own right. All are signs are in Welsh and English as well and our schools have always been "ysgol". What happens in Cardiff is not alien to us nor the the many hill sheep farmers around us.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Mon 11-Mar-13 23:47:37

Really Startail? confused What an odd situation. I love going home to Wales. It will always be the place I belong most, even though I'm not fluent in the language. Language is a big part of Wales but by no means all of it.

weegiemum Tue 12-Mar-13 00:26:35

I think I have a different perspective to gaelicsheep on this. I love the fact that my dc speak Gaelic, listening to them nattering away to our next-door neighbours when we go back to the Hebrides brings a glow to my heart.

But if we lived in Wales, I'd have them in Welsh medium. I'd never send them to English-medium abroad, always local language (though that's not really an issue).

We'd a massive discussion with dh's family when we were sorting out guardianship - we'd planned for it to be dh's brother and SIL, but it got very contentious and political as we'd hope to maintain Gaelic education in that situation - and in N.Ireland that's catholic/republican, and dh's family aren't - very much protestant/unionist!! In the end, my best friend, who is happy to keep my dc in their established education, will be their guardian if the worst happens.

I think I probably value bilingualism as much as anything. So if I was in op's situation, I'd be actively seeking out a good bilingual school for my dc. But as we want to keep them in the stream they're in now, looks like we're stuck here (I'm not complaining!!). Wouldn't fancy switching from Gaelic to Welsh myself, no matter how much my SIL (who is a welsh-medium teacher in S Wales and a native speaker from N Wales) tells me there's similarities!!

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Tue 12-Mar-13 00:32:46

Believe me the differences are very superficial! Colours, some tangible nouns...thw differences are maybe as discernible to a normal person as German is to English.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Tue 12-Mar-13 00:33:42

Which sounded a bit wanky. Sorry.

weegiemum Tue 12-Mar-13 00:40:42

Dont worry. Just wouldn't fancy trying to change dc over in the middle of school (and actually the total dis-joint between the Scottish and English/Welsh/N.Ireland education systems would probably be more of a worry. Very early in their education (nursery, p1 and p3 - so like yR and y2 we considered a move to London, but every borough we spoke to 1) would have made them all skip a year due to age, despite the amount of school time they'd had and 2) wouldn't give them help in English despite the fact that at that point all of their education had been in Gaelic, though there was help available from pretty much anywhere else in Europe or elsewhere. we stayed put. Most people probably thing just as well smile

MechanicalTheatre Tue 12-Mar-13 00:51:19

Would it be really cheeky of me to point all of you over to my survey on Media/Non-Member Requests? It's to do with bilingualism, so might be interesting...

(I know it's cheeky.)

gaelicsheep Tue 12-Mar-13 01:21:35

WeegieMum - this area is very much English speaking. There is only one Welsh medium school for miles around and I've never heard Welsh spoken anywhere except in DS's school. So he is in the absolute norm for the area. Hence my questions about the value of so much Welsh in school. The foreign country feeling comes from the Government not the locals IYSWIM.

gaelicsheep Tue 12-Mar-13 01:27:33

Yes btw the switch from Scottish to Welsh was awful as DS had to skip a year and is now the youngest in his class. All told he has dealt with this move amazingly well.

Btw, from what little I know of Gaelic and Welsh I can see similarities. Although the spellings are obviously totally different the sane principles seem to apply eg changing first letters and sounds according to whether noun is the subject or object, etc. I think - could be very wrong there!

gaelicsheep Tue 12-Mar-13 01:28:33

same principles

weegiemum Tue 12-Mar-13 02:00:59

I see your issue if it's a non-bilingual area. My eldest started s hool inthe Outer Hebriides, and I have a feeling the Gaelic community is much more integrated - in Glasgow, despite some politicised bods, we're part of a "scene" in the community, with drama, music etc (I've got dc playing pipes, accordion, fiddle, drums and all on piano too) in a traditional, cultural landscape.

I'm just imagining my (just borderline dyslexic) dd1 having to start to spell it "ysgol" when she's currently happy with "Sgoil". Funnily, ecole in French is different enough that's she's fine. In fact, her French is much better than mine was after 8 months at high school. The school encourage very high aspiration in languages, though, and due to personal circumstances our dc are also (rusty but) conversational in Spanish.

gaelicsheep Tue 12-Mar-13 02:23:33

Weegiemum, you're making me homesick again sad. You know we wrestled with what to do back home about Gaelic medium. I really really liked the idea, and much of that was because not only gaelic but also traditional music was ONLY taught in the Gaelic school. I so wanted DS to have those chances, but in the end it would have meant sending him to school in town away from all his local pals, so we decided no. It is such a shame that only a select few get those chances. sad

I don't know what happens here with music for example. I must say for a supposedly musical country I see/hear very little evidence of it.

weegiemum Tue 12-Mar-13 05:53:31

My dd1 started school in the same building as her peers (wheyey it was a big p1, there were 5!) though she was the only one who went into GMU.

We moved to Glasgow when she was going into p2, dh into last year of Sgoil Araich and dd2 had a year to go (where we lived in Harris she'd have had 2 afternoons a week in Rionneagan Beag - wee stars- that was a playgroup for age 2-3).

I couldn't put a p2, totally immersed in GM, into a O2 in English medium, she'd sink as she only read Gaelic! So on our move we were really lucky to get her a place at the Gaelic bunsgoil in Glasgow. Ds went to the nursery, followed by dd2.

Now I've got a p5, p6 and s1 (now in Ardsgoil) kids who are totally fluent (I realised recently I only know if they're using bad langua ge!!) despite the fact I speak limited, taught by their school, and dh no, ghaidhlig, my 3 dc are totally fluent. Recently we were at a wedding and the grooms mum is a native speaker. My dc chatted away all night - apparently it totally made her day!! They speak it pretty much exclusively (except to me and dh) on our holidays to our house in the hebrides. Very popular with our elderly neighbour!

They might never use it. But I can see how it's helping my dd1 with French, and biligualism also has been shown to boost maths and music.

As I've said before - our kids are very musical. Dd1 (13) plays Accordion and piano. Ds (11) plays piano, drums and chanter (for pipes). Dd2 (9) plays fiddle and piano. I'm planning on having a ceilidh band!!)

Also, dd1 who has now done a couple of years of French at school can actually hold a (fairly simple) reasonable conversation with a girl at church who recently arrived from the Congo. She speaks little English, so dd1's ability in French is helping her fit in!!

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Tue 12-Mar-13 09:44:56

Re the music, it is a musical country but different from say Ireland in that it's less staged for the tourists. When I moved to England I was startled by how ignorant the children in schools were, for example, of singing in harmony. Even the Y6es had no idea how to manage it, whereas when I was at school in Wales, we started two part singing in Infants. And our junior school could actually make decent noises on recorders rather than the piercing shrieking I encountered when I started teaching in England. On teacher training in Swansea, the three teachers I had placements with played an instrument and used to sing quite confidently with their classes and the children, including the boys, sang unashamedly and with massive gusto. This was so different to the schools I taught at here where I had to fight against school singing being seen as an embarrassing chore by the adults as well as the children. The first time I ran a choir at my first school, out of 200 children, 12 of them turned up, none of them boys, as opposed to the Swansea choir which had 60 children I'm it. It's just something ingrained in them in Wales, so it is a musical country. It's just a natural part of life rather craic staged in pubs.

gaelicsheep Tue 12-Mar-13 10:21:02

I think that might be where we suffer for being in quasi England. No sign of musical training at DS's school. It seems very low priority indeed. sad

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Tue 12-Mar-13 10:23:59

That's really sad sad

I grew up in the Vale - hardly the Welshest of areas. The school needs a kick up the bottom.

gaelicsheep Tue 12-Mar-13 10:27:07

Yet according to the prospectus music figures quite highly, that's one reason we picked it. I guess said musical member of staff must have left. We tried to have DS join recorder club and it was cancelles due to lack of interest, ie only he signed up. The school concert and carol service were "sung" along to a CD, not even a piano or organ accompaniment. I am very musical so it grieves me.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Tue 12-Mar-13 10:32:06

It grieves me too, the way music is being shunted sideways like it's something irrelevant which has to be fitted in somehow. I'm sure there are studies proving that singing together from an early age is hugely beneficial for school and adult communities and for children's mental well being. I got my first teaching job on account of my music qualifications - they needed a music co coordinator. When I left six years later, I was replaced by a generic NQT and they've been singing to CDs ever since. Don't even sing in Assembly any more. It's so wrong.

Startail Tue 12-Mar-13 10:51:56

When I say no one spoke Welsh I mean No one. I heard a north Welsh visitor speak Welsh to me once in 18 years.

out of 1200 DCs at school 1 girl in the sixth form spoke Welsh, she had a hyphenated wonderful Welsh name, that certainly wasn't local to those parts. My friends were Jones, Evans and Davis or were English incomers like me who had arrived as toddlers with welsh development fund or local government jobs.

I get the feeling very few people came from other parts of Wales, Sheep farms and local shops and garages tended to be handed down the family line. For whatever historical reason, speaking Welsh was not part of that long line of local residents traditions. Even the residents of the old peoples home never spoke in Welsh, nor the old chaps standing on the street corner or drinking in the pub.

I'm sorry if people don't believe me and I know the Welsh assembly are doing their best to insist everyone in Wales needs Welsh to feel Welsh, but honestly there are places it is being parachuted in where it doesn't belong.

hotair Tue 12-Mar-13 10:52:33

gaelicsheep I live in chepstow- a traditionally english speaking area (and in catchment for a suposedly "muscial" but totally rubbish primary school, despite the estyn). I don't know anyone who speaks welsh here, yet I've just signed my eldest up to start at the local (about 6 miles away) welsh schools meithrin (nursery) next month.

I considered every school in a twelve mile radius. I am someone who takes education and schools really seriously and my criteria were about schools that teach the whole child, schools that gave children life skills and experience and that had a passionate and enthusiastic leadership team with a culture of high academic expectations. I also hoped for an inclusive school.

I don't have a welsh language agenda, I come from mid-pembrokeshire originally and resented being forced to learn welsh as a child because it wasn't in my families cultural welsh tradition.

The welsh school was the best choice- there was in fact only one other school that even seriously made my short list. Not just because all bilingualism is good bilingualism, but because the school cared passionately about all it's learners. It was inclusive, had happy children and a rich extra curricular program- including lots and lots of music and instrument lessons.

It's really hard being homesick somewhere you don't want to be, it's awful feeling lonely and trapped- I feel that way myself sometimes- I'd actually never intended to live in the uk as an adult and find it hard to accept that at times. But I think you might be blaming welsh when actually this is a lot more about the rubbish school and isolation. And if you're dismissing the local welsh school out of hand you might be dismissing the best school in the area without even knowing! You would be if you lived here!

Startail Tue 12-Mar-13 11:04:23

As for music, I think that's luck where ever you live.

We had great concerts at my Welsh primary, due to a very musical deputy head. Every year he tried to teach us the Welsh national anthem and each year he failed (He and the other male teacher at school did speak Welsh, they used it when they didn't want us to overhear).

our secondary music teachers just did the min necessary to keep their jobs, not inspiring at all.

Here in England DD1 never stops singing, great Y6 teacher did music at primary, a very keen church choir master who is always organising things and a very active secondary school music dept.

Sadly, despite their best efforts DD2 plays sport instead.

Startail Tue 12-Mar-13 11:15:15

Hotair, I'm gkad you have found a good school, but oerhaps your experience illustrates the problem.

There just isn't the money, the skilled staff or the resources to duplicate everything to offer a real choice of EM or WM school to everyone.

Chepstow, is surely an area where many people don't want WM as Hobson's choice because, quietly, EM is being sidelined and allowed to go down hill.

Ofsted is certainly not immune to political interference, Im certain it's Welsh equivalent isn't either.

gaelicsheep Tue 12-Mar-13 11:20:58

To be fair it was almost impossible to make the right choices about schooling. It was so hard to find somewhere to live before we moved down, and without an address we couldn't enrol DS at a school. We were also moving in the middle of the school year. So we ended up plumping for a school that sounded OK that was in the area we thought we'd want to end up living. We were out of the catchment at first when we finally found a place to live, but have now moved into the catchment. So the whole process was a total nightmare. I couldn't visit any schools due to the distance we were moving, we just had to choose on paper.

We didn't "dismiss" the local Welsh school, it is just with having to jump up a whole school year we felt that plunging DS into another language as well would be far too much. I don't regret that, and if that school is better resourced than the others in the area then that is a failing of the Welsh Government. It is also not particularly local to us.

gaelicsheep Tue 12-Mar-13 11:22:24

And now he has settled we cannot move him again. We did consider it, but many schools in this area have appalling Estyn reports. We have since found that many parents shun this particular school, but we have found it OK - despite my gripes. I had my gripes about DS's school back in Scotland as well, believe me. This school is better than that one.

hotair Tue 12-Mar-13 11:27:40

The english schools are bad not because they have significantly less funding but because they have bad leadership teams.
You can check out the figures and compare the individual pupil premiums - how much an individual school gets for each pupil here
It's not about resources divided too far- it's about schools coasting and LA's not demanding that schools strive for the best for every child- a problem UK wide.

gaelicsheep Tue 12-Mar-13 11:29:58

Oh I don't doubt that. Unfortunately our local council has been singled out as failing on education. If we'd known that before, we quite possibly wouldn't have moved here.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Tue 12-Mar-13 11:32:36

I think education in Wales has suffered since devolution. They're sliding down international tables. Budgets are finite and if you have free prescriptions for all, something has got to give.

hotair Tue 12-Mar-13 11:40:38

gaelicsheep- Our "local" ( six miles is not local!) welsh school is not significantly better resourced than the local english school, most of the discrepancy comes from the free school meal premium, which should mean that the catchment school was better. The fact is it's teachers care more, thats the key. And in your area it might be different.

And I can understand how difficult it is moving into an area- we recently relocated here and I wasn't even able to view our house before we moved in!

School choices are difficult and there aren't any right answers are there, you can only make the decision that seems best for you at the time. But the fact is children move school systems the world over into new languages all the time and adjust perfectly well. You did dismiss the welsh school out of hand and it might have been a better choice than your current school. You've decided you can't move your son now- fine thats your choice, but maybe you'd be better off trying to improve the school that he's in than complaining about governments funding welsh language schools?

I mean I HATE the whole concept of faith schools, and resent that they get state funding at all, but the fact is other people love them and they are a valuable component of the diversity of our education system and wider society. Maybe you could look at wm education in the same way?

gaelicsheep Tue 12-Mar-13 11:47:32

hotair - I'm not talking about WM education at all here on this thread. You're right, I've checked that site and the WM school is not much better resourced per pupil. As you say it isn't all about resources, it's about staff commitment too. But have you read the whole thread, because I had questions which have been answered and I feel happier about the Welsh language thing now. You seem to be answering an argument I have never made!

I would also like to think I took the decisions I believe were right for my son. Moving a 6 year old up a whole school year when he's only been at school for 2 terms is no small thing.

hotair Tue 12-Mar-13 11:53:25

Sorry- you're right I was getting mixed up with the earlier thread about welsh medium education! I had them both open and read one half way then the other, then posted on the one I'd only read part way!
And of course- he's your son so your decision, you know him best. I was just pointing out that you could have chosen welsh medium and didn't for your own reasons, which is fine, but that others in your position might have made different decisions. It's not a given that any child moving up a school year wouldn't do fine if they had to change the language of education too, even though that was the right decision for your child.

Dottiespots Tue 12-Mar-13 18:31:36

Startail ....You say that no one you knew spoke Welsh but then you go on to mention people who did in fact speak Welsh. ie two of the teachers. So there probably was quite a few people that spoke Welsh there and it is not the case as you said, that no one speaks Welsh in your area. Not that it really matters, just that you say one thing and then say another. As you were an English incomer, do you think that maybe your feelings about Wales and the Welsh is probably not as strong as those of us who are Welsh. You also said that Powys was invented when you were a girl which of course it wasnt. It has been Powys since the 500 to 900. Do you actually live in Wales now? You said that you do not like going home now? I think that living by the border is going to be alot more "English" influenced anyway as there is a higher proportion of incomers living there and it is not the same as living further west.
Some of you have mentioned the lack of music in schools. In the majority of Welsh schools there is a very very strong musical driven ciriculum. Our Eisteddfords are very popular and all children take part in them (if they want). We have produced alot of famous singers, harpists,poets etc. These Eisteddfords are part of our culture.

Not all areas in Wales are totally Welsh speaking but you will often find Welsh speakers all over Wales not just in mid to north Wales. Cardiff and Swansea has its fair share of them as do alot of places I have visited.
To be perfectly honest if you move into Wales and dislike the language or the fact that Welsh is taught in schools then you probably would have been better not moving there in the first place and done more homework. Alot of people find that the "Wales" of their summer holidays is not the same as the "Wales" that we live in once the "season" is over and the holiday makers have once again gone home. We are a proud nation with alot of wonderful history and traditions.

wonderstuff Tue 12-Mar-13 22:39:07

People do speak welsh in mid Wales, in the area around Aberystwyth lots of people have welsh as first language

WallyBantersJunkBox Tue 12-Mar-13 23:34:26

Can I just correct a few things I've seen on postings?

Dyfed isn't mid Wales, it's West Wales. It doesn't actually exist anymore, it's now Carmarthenshire. That said, it hasn't moved, it's still West Wales.

Now, here's something from Wikipedia:

So basically the county of Carmarthenshire consists of a community where 1 out of 2 people can speak Welsh. The rest of the results are interesting too across the Principality.

When I go home with my "Saes" husband and son grin, my family never speak Welsh infront of them. As a guest it would be impolite. this might be why some people don't experience the Welsh language. If you start the conversation in English, most Welsh people wouldn't be so bloody minded as to speak over you in Welsh.

My driving instructor, BTW, was English, so if he'd have tried to carry out the test in Welsh then we'd probably be wrapped round a lamp post somewhere.

I'm generally quite shocked at the way people are talking about Wales as such a foreign, frightening place! If you went on holiday to Spain, you'd buy a packet of "Les Cadburies Fingeres" so why would a sign in the supermarket that said "Bacon" and underneath said "Cig Moch" be so scary! I'm genuinely perplexed...

And people worried about sending their kids to Welsh Uni, really? When I stayed with mates who'd gone to Cardiff, Ponty and Swansea half the folks there were English!

The Welsh generally, although patriotic, are a fairly easygoing nation. I live in Switzerland now, a country which embraces 3 languages equally across a country the same size as Wales, and still works hard to preserve the oldest language, Romansch spoken mainly in one Kanton. No one has a problem with it. Why do the English?

gaelicsheep Tue 12-Mar-13 23:53:55

You know, this sounds really petty, I know it does, but for me it's the Welsh first thing. So today I was filling out forms for the GP, and Welsh comes first, English second. It's really confusing, I still haven't got used to it! In Scotland it's English first, Gaelic second - who'd have thought it made a difference, but it does! Same on the road signs, I still find seeing the Welsh names first really confusing. And you can blame the OS for that. The names on any map you care to use are the Anglicised names (not saying that's right) so when you are looking for one place and then the road sign jumps out at you with something totally different, I mean bearing no resemblance in some cases, that's really confusing! Again in the supermarket, Welsh first.

So yes, petty, but it all has an impact on the perception of a country. And somehow, you know, the Welshness of Wales is not common knowledge throughout the UK. That sounds incredibly stupid, I know, but it is true so I think it really comes as a surprise. The part of Scotland that I moved from was so full of English and American people that you could really feel very at home quite quickly without making any effort. I think moving to Wales is more akin to moving to Caithness or the Outer Hebrides - really really proper Scotland.

Please don't take any of this the wrong way, I'm just trying to explain what the country of Wales feels like to someone who previously knew very little about it. And I mean I knew nothing, I had never holidayed here or anything. And yes it sounds crazy moving here in that case, but I've explained the circumstances. Anyway that's my honest take on it.

Dottiespots Wed 13-Mar-13 01:23:18

Yep your totally right there OP.....Welsh comes first but it has taken years and years of campaiging for the Welsh to have their own language come first and English second. And this is as it should be. And of course when you fill out forms and go to the supermarket, why wouldnt Welsh come first....its Wales. You say for you that its the Welsh thing....but....this is Wales. Its Wales! When you say it has an impact on the perception of the country....its Wales!. How do you think it should be England? It is Wales and we want people to know its Wales so that is the perception we want you to have. It is petty, you are saying that the thing you dont like about Wales is that fact that its Welsh. People do come here not realising what it is actually like to live here and have only experienced it on holiday. But you are entering another Country even though it is joined to England. And that is the thing that seems to bother you. Would you really be happy if there was no Welsh language cause that seems to be your main problem. Im sorry but it is a very arrogant attitued to say that we seem inward looking and unwelcoming. Maybe if that is how you perceive Wales then maybe it is your attitued that angers people here and makes us feel very unwelcoming. Why should we have to defend our Country. You really really need to try and get home back to England or wherever it is you would like to try living next because you are certainly very very unhappy living here.

Dottiespots Wed 13-Mar-13 01:36:06

Gaelicsheep you really really do seem very unhappy living in Wales. Can you not possibly change your job or get another job? Your child will be fine moving again as children adapt very very easily but you seem very stressed and deeply unhappy and surely staying in Wales is not worth all this unhappiness. sad

gaelicsheep Wed 13-Mar-13 06:02:29

Oh Dottiespots you're really taking quite unnecessary offence at an incomer speaking honestly about the country. I thought I made it clear how much of a small thing it is. I was just saying, as I have every right to do. I'm not going to bother posting any more on this thread because it seems I am unable to be honest without causing offence, even over something so minor.

gaelicsheep Wed 13-Mar-13 06:18:36

I also think you were quite unnecessarily personal at the end of your diatribe towards me, so an apology would not go amiss. I really don't see how anyone could take offence - why so defensive? Some people have no choice but to go where the work is you know. Or would you prefer Wales was just a place for hardcore Welsh nationalists, to hell with the economy? I was starting to come around to the way things are after speaking to so many nice, reasonable people on this thread. I hope they represent the majority.

gaelicsheep Wed 13-Mar-13 06:25:35

And finally - oh God you've annoyed me - where did I say I didn't like it? Wally asked why Wales seems foreign, I replied with my take on it. I said I find it confusing seeing another language first, that it takes some getting used to, I even expressed surprise that the order makes a difference. I thought I was being lighthearted. I really fail to see how anyone could take offence at that.

Tigresswoods Wed 13-Mar-13 06:25:39

It feels like so much has changed in Wales with regard to the language. I grew up in S Wales & spent all my school years there. My parents are both English.

At that time there was no compulsory Welsh, all we did was learn the National Anthem & a bit of basics like counting in junior school.

Now I see on FB my school friends are sending their children to welsh speaking schools! I'm not sure how I feel about it but I left Wales at 19 to go to uni & never returned so had I learned welsh I would feel it was was a waste if my time.

I don't recall speaking welsh being important in the 80's & 90's & have no recollection of my friends' parents of grandparents speaking it.

WallyBantersJunkBox Wed 13-Mar-13 06:45:04

Tigress if you grew up in Wales in the 80's and 90's there would have been some compulsory Welsh in school, no? The only difference was you weren't forced to take a language qualification. I went to an English speaking school and we certainly did Welsh from primary up to the age of 14 as a lesson.

And the supermarket and road signs have always been Welsh to my knowledge, I'm 42 btw.

At my cousins school her reception class this year has 5 Polish kids, straight into Welsh from Polish. When my cousin tried to explain to the parents that there was no formal English taught they didn't care. They has heard good things about the school and wanted their kids there. They said the English would come later.

frosch Wed 13-Mar-13 09:21:02

gaelicsheep I don't think Dottiespots has been personal nor defensive. Neither does she owe you an apology. Most of your posts on this thread have been rather negative and, as I said before, whilst I don't believe you are anti-Welsh nor anti-Wales, when you are living in a country where you appear to be desperately unhappy, it is not unreasonable that other posters will suggest that you move elsewhere! Many posters have responded to your posts positively, why not focus on that? Practically speaking, if a move is out of the question then you need to start dealing with the anger and isolation that you seem to be experiencing. Can you pick one thing about living in Wales that you like or enjoy?

gaelicsheep Wed 13-Mar-13 09:36:10

This is what I found personal: " You really really need to try and get home back to England or wherever it is you would like to try living next".
I WAS feeling happier. DH and I have made some decisions about our house up north and I had been persuaded of the benefits of Welsh at school, as I said earlier. I was just trying to explain why Wales does feel foreign, probably not just to me, as a point of interest nothing more. I think it's interesting how perception changes according to the order of languages. I wish I hadn't. Incidentally only the NHS forms were bilingual. All other paperwork and notices at the GPs are in English because that is what people speak here.

frosch Wed 13-Mar-13 09:48:39

I think it's the way it's read; I read that as a pragmatic suggestion, not as having a go. I've been told to 'get back over the bridge when you come from'. Now that IS being rude! It is a lifestyle choice for some people; I lived in 6 different Welsh villages before I was 18 because that was the attitude of my parents. "Where shall we try next" was a regular conversation smile You say you WERE feeling happier, can you get back to that feeling? What you're experiencing is a mild culture shock. I've been there myself and that fact that I can get Pobl Y Cwm and S4C on the TV here helps enormously!

gaelicsheep Wed 13-Mar-13 09:56:54

I simply object to any comment I make being blamed on me being homesick rather a legitimate observation. I might be homesick but I still have valid opinions. I'm currently peed off with DS's school over the overuse of the ORT Biff and Chip scheme. That's not because I hate Wales, that's because I hate ORT! And I find it confusing having to skip past Welsh first on official forms and road signs as I bet did the majority of Welsh people before they got used to it. I'm really not sure why that's controversial or why it suggests anger and unhappiness!

frosch Wed 13-Mar-13 10:05:42

as I bet did the majority of Welsh people before they got used to it

er, no. Welsh people grew up with it. It's normal.

Sure, be angry with ORT Biff and Chip scheme, that's perfectly valid. As an angry ORT Biff and Chip thread, it sure is negative about Wales!

gaelicsheep Wed 13-Mar-13 10:15:36

"Welsh comes first but it has taken years and years of campaiging for the Welsh to have their own language come first and English second."

This suggests it is something relatively recent, and I'd be surprised if people didn't find it confusing for a while.

Jojobump1986 Wed 13-Mar-13 10:32:49

Electricity is 'relatively recent' if you look at the whole of human history! wink Those of us who grew up with bilingual signs etc. just identify the relevant information from a glance. It's interesting that the Welsh doesn't come first on signs in some areas. It was like that where I grew up & we always felt like we were in Wales 'proper' when we drove somewhere & started seeing them with Welsh first! grin

It does take a while to get used to seeing different languages. I know what you mean about it being confusing. I was completely befuddled by the road signs on a family holiday to Greece once! It will eventually seem second nature though. smile

Am I the only person in the world who actually likes the ORT books?! You can get them yng gymraeg too!

gaelicsheep Wed 13-Mar-13 10:43:46

The best thing is when you've got used to looking below Welsh to the English, and then it suddenly changes! I'm used to bilingual from Scotland, that doesn't confuse me per se.

gaelicsheep Wed 13-Mar-13 11:59:25

Ah yes, one good thing about Wales. Well I'm alot closer to my mum in the north west of England who is currently finding out if her cancer has metastasised.

I've had enough of this thread now. See you around.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Wed 13-Mar-13 12:00:36

Good luck Gaelic. All the best to your mum x

gaelicsheep Wed 13-Mar-13 12:01:56

Thank you Ariel. smile

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Wed 13-Mar-13 12:03:16

Dottie, I think she knew all you were saying so vehemently. She was simply trying to explain the unexpectedness of it all.

greenhill Wed 13-Mar-13 12:07:21

Good luck with your mum gaelicsheep

Tigresswoods Wed 13-Mar-13 22:30:27

WallyBanters not at my school! We were close to the border... I wonder if that made a difference? As I saw we did basic stuff in Junior school but it was just that. Maybe they got away with it as we did the National Anthem every spring.

I remember one day a week we had to say Good Morning in Welsh in Assembly.


LiegeAndLief Wed 13-Mar-13 22:40:56

Slight tangent not about Welsh but gaelicsheep I don't think you need to worry about dual science. I did dual science GCSE, went on to do science A-levels, a science degree and am now a scientist.

Startail Wed 13-Mar-13 22:58:25

I give up, I really do.
I can't convince people who don't want to be convinced that Welsh is not a part of the tradition of my bit of Wales.
I can not pick them up and have them live there in the days before devolution and WM muddled the picture.

What I say is true, Teachers spoke Welsh because teachers had to learn Welsh. My brightest two primary teachers had learnt, one of them very occasionally tried to teach us. I think we learnt the word for window.

I never heard my secondary teachers speak Welsh and strongly suspect they actually didn't (or I'm sure the science teachers would have, instead of whispering in the prep room. They knew non of us understood a word).

wonderstuff Thu 14-Mar-13 11:11:05

Star tail I believe that English was the first language in your town, but you said no one speaks welsh in mid Wales, I would class Ceredigion as mid Wales, that is where my fathers family are from and welsh is their first language. I think there is a common misconception that welsh speaking families are confined to remote northern villages and it simply isn't the case.

BreconBeBuggered Thu 14-Mar-13 11:59:34

Interesting debate. I grew up in south-east Wales in the 70s, when there were no compulsory Welsh lessons - I think my comprehensive was the only secondary school in the area to offer them, and there was only one teacher for a very large school. Welsh place names were bastardised and pronounced in an anglicised approximation of the original. Hardly anyone bothered to even say -dd or ll- properly. Now when I go back to visit, Welsh words are pronounced correctly and there's a rebirth of real cultural pride in Welsh heritage.

Having said that, I know many Welsh people of my generation and older who feel at best irritated by the bilingual policies and having to pay for them, and at worst alienated and excluded from job opportunities. Me, well, I'm not Welsh and I only go there as a visitor, so my views aren't that significant (and I can't decide what they are). I can't help wondering what's hard about the bilingual signs if you see them every day, but it's possible I absorbed a certain amount of Welshness when I wasn't looking. One annoying thing, though, from when I was looking for a job in Wales a while back - being dismissed as a 'monoglot' because I couldn't converse in Welsh. Er, there are other languages out there.

mamapants Thu 14-Mar-13 20:43:20

So nothing really to do with the thread but a suggestion for Gaelic. It might be worth going on a weekend holiday to a strongly welsh speaking area it might give you a different perspective so that rather than finding it alienating and 'imposed' it would feel more natural. Your DS could have a go at speaking welsh in RL and it might be fun.
Planning a little holiday might cheer you up and there are some really beautiful places to go.

gaelicsheep Fri 15-Mar-13 13:09:45

Hi, just popping back to say thanks for latest comments/suggestions. A wee holiday sounds like a very good idea mamapants, especially for DS as you say. Might have to wait until next year though. smile

Mum's scan "inconclusive" so still a waiting game. sad

greenhill Fri 15-Mar-13 13:18:25

Have a <hug> gaelic.

Maybe planning to have a weekend away, even if it is a year away, might be a nice distraction. After all it isn't a break if you are popping to see your mum on weekends and spend the time worrying at her house, rather than visiting a local garden centre or having a pub lunch etc. Little, inexpensive treats could be a mood lifter for you and your mum.

gaelicsheep Fri 15-Mar-13 13:25:13

Unfortunately although nearer she's still a 4 hour drive away greenhill. You're right though and we will.

hippo123 Sat 16-Mar-13 00:10:40

Thoughts are with you and your mum garlicsheep. I understand what your saying about the road signs, forms etc but you do get used to it. How long have you lived in Wales? You have to think of all the positives, low crime rates, excellent outdoor facilities, lack of pollution, good standards of education (At least in my part of Wales). I Fully admit to knowing nothing when moving to Wales for uni. I told my mum there were a lot of Italians living here lol! I didn't realised people spoke welsh. I now think it's a great thing though. My dc are getting a much better wm education than they woud do where I come from in England. I only have to wait about a hour in a&e, as oppose to 12 hours plus. I can get a doctors appointment the same day. There is loads of free activities, beach, lakes, mountains all on my doorstep. I feel very lucky to live here and to give my dc the Oppurtunity to grow up in such a lovely area. Yes, parts can be clicky, but that's mainly because people have grown up together since primary school. I'm sure certaiin areas of england / Scotland are clicky too. A little bit of respect and knowledge of the welsh language / culture though lessons goes a long way IMO. After all i wouldn't live in Spain / France's without taking language lessons. I'm still awful at speaking welsh, totally lack rather confidence but people appreciate the effort. I still feel like a forgeiner in many ways, but i guess I am. Wales is a country in its own right and I think the welsh peeple have every reason to be proud of that and anyone moving to this beautfiul country's should Respect its language and culture.

gaelicsheep Sat 16-Mar-13 00:24:54

Tbh hippo, we moved from a place exactly you describe to one that's like England with some Welsh thrown in, IYSWIM. We had the cleanest air you can imagine, a real "family" GP (albeit 30 miles away), really good local services, etc etc. It's lovely to hear parts of Wales are like that though. smile As discussed earlier, we will have to explore!

gaelicsheep Sat 16-Mar-13 20:21:30

Da iawn Cymru!

(probably not quite, but I'm trying!)

MrSlant Sat 16-Mar-13 20:40:40

Cymru am byth

<tries to pretend she's not really from Yorkshire> wink

gaelicsheep Sat 16-Mar-13 23:31:00

OK, I'm sure no one is still following this but DH and I have brainstormed and realised our problem. Because we still have our old house we're paying for (looong story) we have no money to get about and about to see or do anything. Consequently we can't get to know the area or the country, so we're miserable! Obvious really when you think about it! Steps are being taken - hopefully this time next year things will have changed and I'll be a whole lot more positive. :-)

WallyBantersJunkBox Tue 19-Mar-13 12:26:42

I hope so Gaelic and it's good that you and your DH are communicating so closely on the things that you are unhappy about.

I think there is a bit of sensitivity on the conversation that you've raised. Especially seeing us as all a bit foreign - we're British too, and that probably took a few Welsh people on here (particularly me) by surprise!

And we are quite nice people you know, the Welsh.... wink

gaelicsheep Tue 19-Mar-13 12:55:58

It took me by surprise too Wally! It's not a bad thing though, you know, and as we adjust to our new life I think we'll come to see it as rather a good thing. Feeling MUCH more positive about things now. smile

gaelicsheep Tue 19-Mar-13 12:56:42

It probably helps that I have finally climbed out of the misery of the flu wink

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