Welsh Medium Schooling

(6 Posts)
OvariesBeforeBrovaries Mon 02-Oct-17 15:41:53

We're in West Wales and have a choice of English or Welsh medium schools in almost every town. Which town/village are you looking at moving to?

Kids pick up Welsh very quickly. I moved to Wales from England when I was 3; within a year of pre-school I was as fluent in Welsh as those who came from Welsh-speaking households, despite both parents speaking only English. I learned well enough to be considered first-language for GCSE Welsh purposes by 15.

I think bilingualism from a young age is a massive bonus for children; it helps with picking up other languages later on. If they decide to stay in Wales for work, many companies will consider the ability to speak Welsh a useful asset. It's helped me to get jobs.

All this said, we've chosen English medium for DD. The school uses Welsh as a conversational language and they learn Welsh as a second language from the age of 7 onwards, but I'm confident that DH and I will be able to raise her to be fluent. The most important thing for us was Estyn reports and outcomes for pupils leaving KS1 and KS2, all of which the English medium school came out on top for.

SirVixofVixHall Mon 02-Oct-17 15:19:39

Primary schools are almost all Welsh medium . Personally I would say, if this bothers you, then DON'T MOVE TO WEST WALES. You probably won't have a choice of Welsh or English stream until Secondary level. My frustration stems from the fact that I live in an area increasingly popular with holiday makers and as a result we've had a big increase in people moving from England, now that the internet means one can work from home. Most of those are people who have come on holiday, had a lovely time, seen our lower property prices and decided to move here rather than Devon or Cornwall. For starters please respect the fact that selling in Sussex means you can afford to buy a house here at a higher price, which then prices locals, who are generally not very well paid at all, out of the housing market. This gradually erodes both culture and language, so think long and hard about your moral responsibilty in this, before moving here. If you do decide to move, then your children will pick up Welsh in school, but yes I would think you need to learn at least some Welsh if you want to be able to help with homework, enjoy school plays etc. In my daughter's primary the vast majority of children are Welsh first language, and of those that aren't, including my daughter (my DH is welsh but not welsh-speaking, I grew up speaking some welsh but more English, I use a mixture with my children) the children from entirely English-speaking homes seem split between coping very well with the language, or hating it/never quite grasping it and moving into English stream at secondary, or moving away .
Helping your children with learning to read in Welsh will be difficult for you if you don't have any welsh at all, so you'll need to get the basics of pronounciation and sentence structure, learn the alphabet etc. They don't do any English reading in school until year 3. Keep in mind that you might find things like Assemblies and Eisteddfods a bit alienating if you don't have any Welsh, as the other parents will be chatting away in Welsh, as well as the teachers. Friends of mine found that aspect a bit tricky to navigate. At school pick up where I am for instance, almost all of the parents are speaking Welsh to each other. This varies by area, South Wales would be completely different.

jacksquat Mon 02-Oct-17 14:14:33

I went to a Welsh speaking school at age 4 knowing no Welsh at , the majority of children were first language Welsh. For me, it was a really positive experience - great for language skills, reading and understanding different cultures. It didn't hold me back academically and I went on to study languages at uni. Not a statistically significant sample but my general message is that it's all positive!

MedHelen Mon 02-Oct-17 13:59:52

This bothers me too. My little one has only just turned two but it's making me want to move again. I'm really worried about how she will cope coming from a completely English speaking home and how I'll be able to feel part of the school if all the other parents speak Welsh. I'm also bothered she'll get behind because I can't help with reading etc sad

I realise this doesn't help at all, but I just wanted you to know you're not alone in your worries wine

Stopyourhavering Thu 28-Sep-17 14:34:02

Hi, I live in Gwynedd which is very strongly Welsh and was worried about my kids learning Welsh as I'm from Scotland and don't speak any Welsh although dh was brought up locally but had forgotten most of the Welsh by time he met me!
However I found that the dcs had no trouble whatsoever in picking up the language and your dcs are a perfect age to learn it....they introduce it at nursery or reception year .
our school used to do one week English reading and spelling, next week Welsh spelling/ reading
All 3 of my dcs were fluent in Welsh by time they left primary and all got A* in GCSEs
Eldest dd ( who has dyslexia and was taken out of Welsh lessons to improve her spelling) has just got a job teaching English as a foreign language in China after she'd completed her MSc in TESOL at Edinburgh University
Once they're at school there's the Urdd which is a Welsh youth organisation which promotes Welsh language and culture( you'll be dragged all over to these events-but the kids love it!)

highndry2017 Thu 28-Sep-17 13:50:51

We're in the process of selling our house and upping sticks from Sussex to Ceredigion. (Area not completely decided yet as we will be working from home so need a good internet connection)
We have been on holiday there loads and love the area but the only thing putting me off is schooling. We have two boys one of two and one almost four.
Can anyone explain how it would work as my husband and I don't speak any Welsh (although I am trying to learn with Duolingo but it is so difficult).
Will they be the only ones who don't speak Welsh? How will they understand what is going on in class? Will we be able to help with homework and learning to read?
If anyone could help that would be wonderful.

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