Linguistic progression and standards of Welsh in ten bilingual schools - November 2014


This report is a response to a request for advice in the annual remit letter to Estyn for 2013-2014 from the Minister for Education and Skills. The purpose of the report is to: report on the linguistic progression of pupils in key stage 4 in terms of studying Welsh as a first language and other qualifications through the medium of Welsh; evaluate the effectiveness of curricular models and teaching methods that are in place in bilingual schools; and identify and share good practice in relation to bilingual education. The report is based on visits to ten schools, interviews with local authority representatives, analyses of school performance data and evidence from inspection reports. See Appendix 1 for more information about the evidence base. The report’s main focus is the local authorities where most bilingual teaching occurs, namely Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Anglesey and Gwynedd authorities. For the purposes of this report, we define a bilingual lesson as one that includes elements of teaching and learning through the medium of Welsh and English.
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Bilingual schools should:

  • set targets to increase the proportion of pupils in key stage 4 who continue to study Welsh as a first language and follow their courses through the medium of Welsh;
  • expand the offer of qualifications available through the medium of Welsh;
  • explain the advantages of following courses through the medium of Welsh to pupils and parents, and ensure that parents are included more in their children’s education;
  • co-operate with other schools to produce Welsh learning resources, and to discuss and share bilingual teaching strategies;
  • ensure that developing pupils’ Welsh skills is a whole-school priority and plan purposefully to promote the social use of Welsh;
  • encourage teachers across subjects to promote pupils’ use of Welsh in lessons and beyond; and
  • ensure that teachers across subjects pay attention to the accuracy and quality of pupils’ expression in Welsh.

Local authorities and regional consortia should:

  • track, on a school by school basis, the proportion of pupils in key stage 4 who follow courses through the medium of Welsh and set targets to increase this in line with the objectives of the Welsh-medium education strategy; and
  • assist schools in discussing, developing and sharing the most effective bilingual teaching strategies.

The Welsh Government should:

  • ensure that high quality Welsh educational resources are available in all subjects on ‘Hwb’;
  • raise awareness of the advantages of bilingualism and of continuing to study subjects through the medium of Welsh; and
  • ensure that examination boards publish guidance documents and marking schemes for teachers in Welsh, and prepare questions in a clear phraseology in their Welsh-medium examination papers.

Best practice case studies


  • Ysgol Gyfun Bodedern, Anglesey
  • Ysgol David Hughes, Anglesey
  • Ysgol Gyfun Llangefni, Anglesey
  • Ysgol Gyfun Aberteifi, Ceredigion
  • Ysgol Gyfun Bro Pedr, Ceredigion
  • Ysgol y Moelwyn, Gwynedd
  • Gwynedd local authority