Standards of Welsh in Welsh-medium and bilingual primary and secondary schools are good overall according to a report published today by Estyn. Pupils in these schools speak, read and write well in Welsh and many are confident using their language skills in different contexts across the curriculum.
Today’s report, 'Welsh in key stage 2 and key stage 3 in Welsh-medium or bilingual schools', was published to help support the development of a new curriculum for Wales and the national priority to increase the number of Welsh speakers and the numbers who use the language in their everyday lives.
Meilyr Rowlands, Chief Inspector, says,
“Improving the teaching and learning of Welsh for all learners is at the heart of developing Wales as a bilingual nation. Most headteachers in our Welsh-medium and bilingual schools have a clear vision for all pupils to make the best progress possible while developing their Welsh language skills and for fostering a strong sense of Welsh identity.
“We have seen examples where immersion courses have had a real impact on developing listening and speaking skills and raising standards. The good practice case studies in this report highlight strategies that other schools and authorities can model.”
In Gwynedd local authority, inspectors found the county’s five language centres provide a firm foundation for pupils with little or no previous competence in the language to learn bilingually. Staff at these centres use highly effective methods to teach language, emphasising the importance of listening and speaking skills. Similarly, in Ysgol Glan Clwyd, some pupils in Year 6 choose to move from English-medium education and learn nearly all subjects through the medium of Welsh in an immersion class in Years 7 and 8.
Estyn recommends that schools focus on developing pupils’ oracy skills to help develop other skills, particularly writing. Other recommendations highlight ways in which local authorities and regional consortia can better support Welsh language development. In addition, the report contains questions for schools to consider as part of their self-evaluation, including questions about opportunities for pupils to develop their Welsh language skills outside Welsh lessons and the school’s ethos regarding promoting Welsh language and culture.