Advanced search

AnyOne thinking of sending their little one to a welsh speaking school?

(26 Posts)
Reenypip Mon 16-Jan-12 22:45:21

I'm thinking about sending my baby boy to a welsh school. (yes I know already thinking ahead lol)
Are you thinking the same for your little one? Or already have a child in a welsh speaking school?
I only speak a couple of welsh words, so of my boy needs help with his homework I'm not going to be able to help. I am also thinking of going on a welsh adult beginner course.

HobnobsAreMyFave Wed 18-Jan-12 15:43:28

Mine are all in Welsh schools so fire away with any questions grin

Reenypip Thu 19-Jan-12 13:51:14

Can you speak welsh and help them with homework?

HobnobsAreMyFave Thu 19-Jan-12 14:13:12

I am a Welsh speaker, but the homework help only works up to a point. DS1 is in high school and I have to admit his physics homework would be beyond me no matter what language it is in! The school is very supportive and understanding and offers loads of provision for non welsh speaking parents (which are in the majority in most welsh medium schools in Cardiff). It would be worth learning Welsh but there are tons of classes out there and some which are specifically aimed at parents.

welliesandpyjamas Fri 20-Jan-12 13:06:22

My eldest is in a welsh prinary and I think the older they get, the more helpful it would be for the parents to speak Welsh. I speak it myself and wonder sometimes how some of the other parents manage with reading support and helping them with creative writing or spelling.

Also, I have to say that the fact that they don't start reading and writing English until KS2 can be a bit of a worry sometimes, especially when compared to their peers in English lang schools or in other parts of the UK. You just have to be confident enough in the school to ensure they are reaching the required standards for their age in a shorter amount of time. I went to Welsh lang primary myself and can remember clearly which books I was reading in
Junior school, as was, and today's KS2 reading books are a long way off that level, unfortunately.

Anyway those are my worries grin but on the other hand I wouldn't have it any other way. The caring atmosphere I have seen and experienced in Welsh lang primaries have been exceptional.

deepinwales Tue 24-Jan-12 21:09:20

This is something that has occupied my mind since the birth of my children and continues to do so. I have children in a Welsh primary school - not through choice, where I live there is no realistic choice. I am really concerned about their secondary education. Our nearest schools are Welsh language. My observations indicate that most pupils are not be truly fluent in English (written and spoken). How will they cope if they want to go on to further education in England, are their employment opportunities not being seriously limited? Amongst those who are strong advocates for a Welsh-medium education there seems to be an unwillingness to recognise that English is the International language and that, in my opinion, if you want to do the best for your children they absolutely MUST be fluent in English (as well as Welsh if you wish). It is creating a narrowness of outlook. Should a generation of children be used as guineapigs in a social experiment to keep a language alive. If I had the choice I would not choose a Welsh medium education for my children - what percentage of the Welsh population is first language Welsh?

HobnobsAreMyFave Wed 25-Jan-12 16:48:41

Deepi in wales my DS is in high school, educated in Welsh and his written and spoken Welsh is of the same standard (top sets so pretty decent). His ability to speak and write in 2 (and now learning a 3rd and 4th) can only be an advantage and his ability to translate and move between 2 languages is fine. It takes until high school for it to all even out but it does.

HobnobsAreMyFave Wed 25-Jan-12 16:50:04

Oh and children have been educated in Welsh for many years (I'm an old gimmer grin) and it really doesn't seem to have handicapped a huge number of people, on the contrary in fact.

HobnobsAreMyFave Wed 25-Jan-12 16:50:42

sorry was trying to say his Welsh and English are of the same standard.

HobnobsAreMyFave Wed 25-Jan-12 16:51:30

Oh and bilingualism is a good skill no matter what the language.

HobnobsAreMyFave Wed 25-Jan-12 16:52:45

And Deep surely your children are fluent in English if it's the language you speak at home confused

welliesandpyjamas Wed 25-Jan-12 21:47:32

Deep - by the time they are ready to 'face' the world, so leav eschool and work or go to uni, they will be absolutely as good as their english school counterparts. I was educated in the welsh school system and have to say I speak and write better English than a lot of people who weren't grin Also don't forget each child will be good at different things.

I know I said I was worried above but tbh that is more of a worry about whether the same standards exist today as they did ahem, 25 ish years ago, when I was in primary, but that's a whole different thing to the outgoing pupils of welsh schools being able to competently read n write in English.

welliesandpyjamas Wed 25-Jan-12 21:48:42

Nice typos there to burn my arguement down in flames grin

mumonthehill Mon 27-Feb-12 20:16:48

both my children attend a welsh language school, my elder child started his education in england but after 2 years at a welsh language school now speaks welsh with confidence. My younger child has only ever been educated at a welsh school and speaks welsh well. I do have concerns about teaching my younger child to read in english but I follow the jolly phonics system with him at home and he seems to be doing well. I do not speak very much welsh at all but we cope with homework and ask for help when needed. I love the fact that my children speak 2 languages and as we live in a community where welsh is spoken widely i think it is important. A school is not all about which language is spoken, it is about how happy the children are and how good the teachers are.

YuleingFanjo Mon 27-Feb-12 20:24:05

I would like mine to go to a Welsh language primary and do have a fairly good standard of Welsh mysef. However I too worry about the standard of education in Welsh language secondaries.

mumatron Mon 27-Feb-12 20:31:38

My youngest will be going a welsh school <fingers crossed>

I have a basic understanding of welsh and was thinking of maybe taking some lessons myself.

My elder dc didn't go to a welsh school but we moved a little while ago and so far I have been unimpressed with the primary schools in the are we moved to. The only school I've heard nothing bad about is the closest welsh school.

katster06 Thu 12-Apr-12 16:32:22


If you’re on facebook
wondered if you might be interested in this new page / group ;

Bilingual Babies - Welsh / English Promoting Bilingualism from birth 
forum to meet other parents trying to learn welsh / teach it to their children

Links to information / advice / tools etc

groups for parents learning welsh / with bilingual babies etc &#8232;&#8232;

Best Wishes 

malibuandcoke Mon 23-Apr-12 01:06:59

My children go to a welsh school & I worry bout them so much. I'm even considering changing their school & putting them in a RC one. Its nice to be bilingual but its even better to be part of yr childs education. I don't feel that I am because I'm a non-welsh speaker. They also learn alot of welsh in english schools. Much more than we did. Sorry but I don't think its the way forward for a non-speaking parent.

colourfairy Wed 11-Jul-12 22:14:11

I think the main issue is that parents should have choice and children should be able to move language group according to need. Where I live the language issue is very politicised and in my experience it has been prioritised above my kids' pastoral and educational wellbeing. We had to move house to get them into an English school and it costs me £100 a month in busfares cf zero to the Welsh school. Their engagement in learning has gone up tremendously since the switch. I know of a number of boys who have disengaged catastrophically with this issue contributing, but of course it's complex.
I think it depends on how hard working your child is, what their linguistic aptitude is like,will they relish or resent the challenge (?hassle) of it all.
There are also subcultural differences that can be difficult to bridge in deep Wales.
It can be a fantastic advantage, especially in w speaking areas or politics/ media.
Make sure that if your child does Welsh medium primary they will be able to switch at secondary if they/ you wish. We enthusiastically put them in Welsh primary only to find that they were not allowed to switch to English medium at secondary. Ask specifically and get an expicit answer in writing if necessary.

Enfyshedd Thu 12-Jul-12 22:04:52

I went to a Welsh Medium Primary and Secondary, and neither of my parents could speak Welsh (DM is also English). In fact, probably 95% of the parents couldn't speak Welsh. My secondary school was consistently in the top 3 schools in the local area and seemed to average 1-2 sixth formers a year going to either Oxford or Cambridge Universities, so I wouldn't worry about being able to help them with their work and their future opportunities. And before anyone assumes that I'm from some really posh area, I'm valleys born & bred.

Re. deepinwales' comment above - "Should a generation of children be used as guineapigs in a social experiment to keep a language alive." - the "social experiment" she refers to started with my teachers' generation, some 50 years ago now, so I think it's pretty well established by now. There's a lot of evidence that being bilingual from a young age benefits the mind in ways other than the ability to learn other languages at a later stage.

Personally, as a new mother, I want my DD to go to a Welsh medium school. I'm also a stepmother, my DSS's both go to English medium schools (DP is also English) and DSS2's primary is an excellent school, but I want my DD to go down the Welsh route. DP supports my choice and I hope that this will be the right decision.

secretlyahippy Sat 14-Jul-12 21:27:46

My dd1 goes to a welsh school and her younger brother and sister will also attend the same school when they are older. I can speak welsh fluently but my written welsh is poor as I went to an english school.

I wasn't that bothered on which school my children went to - english or welsh. It was my husband (who doesn't speak welsh) that was insistant on welsh education. He felt very strongly that he wishes that he had the opportunity to be a welsh speaker. I'm lazy and don't speak welsh to the children at home but dd1 who is 5 speaks it effortless and fluently. Dd2 also goes to a welsh playgroup and says many welsh words.

I went to dd1 school play this week and it was beautiful and it made me feel so pleased I can speak welsh and felt all patriotic and happy that the children had the opportunity and gift of being able to speak 2 languages (I'm going to try and speak it more at home too). I've been learning a 3rd language recently and have surprised myself how easily I'm picking it up - I'm sure being already able to speak 2 languages has helped.

The majority of children at dd1's school come from english speaking families. I have friends who went to welsh education and their english is at an equal level to myself (or probably even better). They all have great jobs.

welsh is also a handy language to speak abroad as a secret language as noone will understand you and you can happily say derogatory things about people without them knowing

welliesandpyjamas Sat 14-Jul-12 21:40:47

Not always, secretlyahippy grin I have been caught out abroad before and I remember another MNetter, Moondog, was spectacularly caught out in a quite obscure place iirc. You never know where the Welsh speakers might be lurking...

intheswim Sat 23-Mar-13 23:45:04

It's a personal choice, but as English is the lingua franca, you have to be secure in your child's ability to cope with different languages.My daughters were born in The Netherlands and went to Dutch speaking schools/playgroups until we came to live here, when they were 2and a half and 4 and a half. They knew their phonics and some words before school and my eldest is now studying languages at The University of Bristol (German and Russian),but they weren't 'allowed' to study German at school unless in top set Welsh in year 7! I think you need to learn a language which is actually useful in the global economy - sorry to offend anyone! We lived in Holland for 8 years and the Dutch understood that and are amazing at English, because they are realistic! I am so proud if my eldest, because she was always brilliant at English, but then did A levels in German and French and is fluent in German (six monthe there) and now living in Russia, studying and teaching. I'm sorry to say she has no truck with Welsh, as it not a global language.

intheswim Sat 23-Mar-13 23:53:34

In short, expose them to another language by all means, but don't limit them and do loads and loads of reading at home. In fact, be prepared to teach them English reading and writing at home, if you really want to send them to a Welsh school.

BeyondTheLimits Thu 27-Jun-13 20:53:26


Sorry I know this isnt exactly a recent post, but I'm in Newport and contemplating sending DSs to a welsh school. Those of you that went to welsh schools yourselves, are you still able to converse now, even if you havent used it for years?

Join the discussion

Registering is free, quick, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Get started »