Help on choosing a Welsh-medium school(13 Posts)
My partner and I are looking for our "forever home" somewhere eithin about half an hour from Cardiff. He has recently stated that when we have children, he is intent on them attending a Welsh medium school. This is definitely not negotiable. I am not a Welsh speaker but he is. I am having a bit of an issue with this as from what I can see, the Welsh schools I can see in the areas we've been viewing do not seem to perform well in league tables etc. So I was wondering if anyone could give some advice on this. Essentially I would like to get an idea of which areas I should focus our house search on in order to ensure that the local Welsh schools are smoggy the best ones. I'm finding it especially difficult as the various postcode checkers don't differentiate Welsh from English medium schools so it's hard to even work out which language the local schools even teach in. Can anyone help with this by suggesting which areas might be best? I'm looking long term so both primary and secondary schools are important. Thanks in advance!
TBH given all the surprises life may throw at you (redundancy, unable to havr children to name but two...) for me this is planning too far ahead. You do not have the children yet? If I were young without children I would move yo Cardiff and enjoy city life as a young couple for a couple of years. In this time you can investigate the commuter belt.
I live in Wales but not in Cardiff. Here the Welsh medium schools do at least as well if not better than English medium/bilingual schools. The Welsh medium secondary that my teens attend performs better than the bilingual alternative. So I am surprised that you have found Welsh medium schools in Cardiff don't mirror this.
Remember though that league tables aren't everything, and that a lot csan change in the 5/10/15 year timeframe that you are looking at. A change of HT for example can have a huge effect.
If you are worried about not being able to speak Welsh when your partner would like to bring children up as Welsh speaking, why not sign up for Welsh lessons? If you start now you could potentially be fluent by the time your child started school.
Welsh medium schools where I live do much worse.
If I could use and English medium school I'd jump at the chance.
You've not had the kids yet?
Areas, schools and life can change a lot in 5 months let alone in a few years!
And I agree with a bove, learn welsh yourself. another language is always handy and you can help the kids more at school if you know some
Thanks for the replies so far. I'm only trying to think so far in advance because my partner does not want to move for at least 10 years after we buy this house and wouod definitely expect to have school age children within this time frame. I'm finding it difficult because in many of the areas we have looked there will be an English medium school rated excellent and the closest Welsh school will not only be further away but only rated adequate. It seems insane to me to prefer to send your child to a worse school that's further away given they will already learn Welsh from their father regardless but as mentioned this is not negotiable. I don't have a specific issue with me not speaking Welsh myself. My only concern if that I want my kids to have the best start and it seems like we'd be choosing to put them at s disadvantage. I'm well aware that there are some great Welsh schools and I'd ideally like to ensure that I focus my house hunt around these so we can both be happy but I don't really know how to work out the catchment areas for those I know, or get s list of top Welsh medium schools near Cardiff? Lots of lists are available for top 5 schools by county but most are English medium schools. Also there seem to be numerous types of classification which sometimes contradict one another. Does anyone know where I could find a lost which specifically shows Welsh medium school rankings?
Also I am willing to learn Welsh for those that have suggested it
Wikipedia has a list of welsh medium schools in Cardiff, is that helpful
Also consider the long term financial security of yourself and your children if you do not intend to get married particularly if you intend yo be a SAHM or work part time. As said schools will change depending on the head teacher and 10 years is a long time. 10 years ago I was getting divorced. I have now remarried, had 2 kids, had 3 jobs and moved house 3 times. Our secondary school was given inadequate a couple of years ago and now has a new excellent head and has a good. Who knows what they will have in 10 years time!
Schools can go up and down like a yo yo. I have to admit I know nothing about welsh medium schools, but I am sure that a lot can change in ten years. Your ideas may change about what you want out of a school and so might your partners. There are schools with excellent results that have a major bullying problem. OFSTED reports (or the welsh equivalent) are often out of date by the time you send your child to a particular school.
If its any consolation what you do at home as a parent has more impact than the quality of school. My daughter's primary (we live in England) has some of the worst results in the county, but she has done really well in her key stage 1 SATs.
The only way to find out what a school is like is to visit it and talk to parents who have children there. Sometimes what is a good school for one child is not a good school for another.
All the Welsh schools round here have the word 'Cymraeg' or 'Gymraeg' in the title so you know it's Welsh medium just by looking at the name. They often start with YGG - which is Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg (Welsh Primary School). This should help you see at a glance which is Welsh medium. I am very surprised that Welsh medium schools perform more poorly than English in some areas. Here there's really no difference at Primary or second level. I agree with previous posters that you are planning too far ahead though, so much can change in 5 or 10 years.
Thank you for all your responses. To answer a few comments...
We do intend to marry before having children, but we will be moving before then.
I realise this is very far in advance to be thinking but my partner does not want to move house again unless we have to so I feel it's important to think as far in advance as possible, particularly as the quality of the school is not important to him - the only importance to him is that it's Welsh medium.
I do know that many Welsh schools are great and I don't have any problem with them in principle. However One of our main search areas is around Langstone and my understanding is that there is only one Welsh secondary school in this catchment in torfaen which does not seem to have good ratings or reviews at all. Meanwhile there are other schools much closer to langstone that are rated excellent which I have to rule out. I just don't know if I'd be better off excluding this as a search area entirely.
I think it seems sensible to do the research now. I wish I had spent more time doing this before buying our house, which has turned out not to be in catchment for the school we're after.
What you're asking for is more or less school rankings, which Welsh Government don't do. Although they do 'band', or basically group rank, schools now. So the best research you can do is a combination of identifying areas you could/would move, and then trawling the reports and data for the Welsh schools in those catchments.
The Cardiff Council catchment maps are helpful: ishare.cardiff.gov.uk/mycardiff.aspx And if its in a different local authority, similar maps will exist. Catchment lines are very much worth looking at before buying a house -- they most often play a staring role in the admissions policy. How far you live from the school itself matters, especially if the school is oversubscribed, but not as much as catchment.
The other site worth looking at is My Local School: mylocalschool.wales.gov.uk/ It collates lots of data and links to the Estyn reports (the Welsh version of Ofsted).
I've personally found the experiences of others to be most valuable in making sense of what it all means. One place to start could be the Welsh playgroup leaders: www.meithrin.cymru/playgroups/ You're really wanting to talk to people in the Welsh language speaking community, and you're more likely to get that in person than here on English speaking Mumsnet.
Best of luck!
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