‘More Welsh speaking teachers needed’ to reach 1 million speakers target

Welsh language school sign
Welsh language school sign. Philip Wolmuth / Alamy Stock Photo

The Welsh government needs to act fast if it is to provide enough Welsh-speaking teachers to meet its own target of 1 million Welsh speakers by 2050, according to campaigners.

The Welsh Government is expected this week to publish new regulations that set ten-year targets for councils to expand Welsh-medium education by 2030.

However, Cymdeithas yr Iaith said they were likely to miss their own deadline if they do not make more of an effort to increase the number of Welsh-speaking teachers.

Toni Schiavone from the campaign group said that the Government needed a strategy for ensuring the workforce exists so that they can reach their target.

“For years, we have been pushing for the Government to act on this, but they haven’t taken it seriously enough,” he said. “We hope they’ll see sense eventually.

“There needs to be a specific strategy for planning the Welsh language education workforce in order to meet the Government’s targets. In that strategy, there need to be legally-binding targets, or floors, for initial teacher training providers in terms of the numbers and percentage of students who start and complete their training and are able to teach in Welsh.

“The Government already sets a cap on the number of students who study initial teacher training. It’s clear that the Government has the power, ability and desire to intervene in these courses to plan the workforce.

“So, it stands to reason that the Government should set targets for recruitment and after the initial training for the numbers who can teach through the medium of Welsh. After all, doing this is essential to meet the Government’s own targets.”

 

‘Obvious’

The campaign group is calling on the Welsh Government to:

  • Set statutory targets for initial teacher training colleges to increase the percentage of people who will teach through the medium of Welsh;
  • Introduce an intensive programme of targeted in-work training for schools;
  • Ensure that every sabbatical course aims to have teachers teaching through the medium of Welsh after the course, with a skills certificate as a guarantor;
  • Extend the initial teacher training courses by up to a year to enable prospective teachers to learn and improve their Welsh; and
  • Adopt a strategy for planning the Welsh-medium education workforce

“Although we welcome the efforts of officers to make do within the current limitations of the law, it’s glaringly obvious by now that there needs to be a Welsh Language Education Act in order to deliver on the vision of a million Welsh speakers,” Toni Schiavone said.

“After all, that was the clear recommendation of the Government’s panel of experts earlier this year. It’s about time the Government listened to the experts.”

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Tudor ReesMatênin GreniernathalieAdam SeymourCapMjr humphrys Recent comment authors
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Rhosddu
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Rhosddu

If you believe that, you’ll believe anything.

The aim is to repair the damage done by the Llyfrau Gleision report of 1842, the effects of which Wales is still suffering from (your comment is a case in point). Fortunately, Welsh people themselves are generally supportive of the project now.

Barry Taylor
Member
Barry Taylor

The other issue is monoglot English-speaking teachers in English-medium schools being expected to deliver quality Welsh lessons. Major investment is needed to train them – and I don’t mean the ‘one step ahead of the kids’ training that’s currently prevalent. Teachers need to learn the language properly if they are ever going to teach more than a token level of low-quality Welsh.

Jonathan Gammond
Guest
Jonathan Gammond

It has been a revealing process learning Welsh. Recently I have had some great teachers but all too often the only qualification the teacher had was being a native speaker, which made the start of each course a bit of a lottery. And these weren’t ‘conversation sessions’ at the local pub but proper accredited courses. At least the first teacher motivated me by announcing to the class that men find it more difficult to learn a language than women. I think she was focused on the 80% and forgot the other 20% in the room. Increasing the number of qualified… Read more »

Rhosddu
Guest
Rhosddu

You could ask that about any subject in the curriculum. Why pick on one of the two languages of the country?

jr humphrys
Guest
jr humphrys

It is standard populist practice to try to stir things in this manner. The Finnish ultra right party says the same about Swedish. But educated people continue to support Swedish , with some sending their children to Swedish medium schools, as do educated English people to the Welsh medium.

Theresa Green
Guest
Theresa Green

It’s about time that the perpetrator of this article got to grips with the fact that if the Welsh language is to survive it should do so on it’s own worth and not need laws and policies to ensure its future.

Anthony Mitchell
Guest
Anthony Mitchell

Then why not make Chinese the national language of the UK? If English survives on it’s own then we can keep it. ?

Tudor Rees
Guest
Tudor Rees

S4C and BBC Cymru could do more with short news bulletins for learners. In the meantime use “Say something in Welsh”,” Duolingo Cymraeg”, and tape Welsh speakers like Dewi Llwyd, to play back a bit at a time with your dictionary at hand. Every Welsh speaker also has a role as an informal “teacher”. There are many learners anxious to try out their new skills, and we should support them!

Ben Angwin
Guest
Ben Angwin

We could give all new teachers who don’t yet speak Cymraeg a year of study in the language.

We could pay for it by keeping more students in Wales, who would put more into the economy here, providing local tax revenues which would trickle up through the Welsh economy.

Dave Brooker
Guest
Dave Brooker

Forcing new teachers to learn Welsh will just see them do their teacher training in England and get a job there instead, free from the brainwashing and social engineering of the language hobbyists.

Rhosddu
Guest
Rhosddu

No doubt there’ll be a few, but those who are committed to Wales will stay. Undoing the damage will obviously require the learning of the language at primary level, and if it were an unpopular measure it would not have the support it has now.

Are you still under the illusion that Welsh people speak Welsh for a hobby? Why do you think God gave us rugby?

Anthony Mitchell
Guest
Anthony Mitchell

I know it kind of reminds me of the time when they introduced the Welsh Not in schools……wait a minute?!?!

Anthony Mitchell
Guest
Anthony Mitchell

Also by your comment it would suggest that any subject taught in school is a form of social engineering, so your point is inept ? I find people like you prove to me that democracy is a flawed system.

Jonathan Gammond
Guest
Jonathan Gammond

If you can teach a language after studying it for just one year, I would be very grateful if you could share some tips on how to be that adept at languages!!

Rhosddu
Guest
Rhosddu

The standard would not be very good. Hence the message outlined in the article.

C Harnden
Guest
C Harnden

Hmm. It’s all about hard cash really isn’t it. As a Welsh speaking teacher I find I’m too expensive to gain a permanent position as a teacher so decided to leave teaching. They’ll need to be willing to pay/find more funds if they want this to work.

Tudor Rees
Guest
Tudor Rees

Wales is a bi-lingual country in a multicultural, increasingly multilingual world. It would be especially sad this year, if some children in Wales continue to be denied direct access to a major part of their cultural heritage by persisting with out-dated imperial attitudes to non –english languages, The UN have in fact declared 2019 the Year of Indigenous Languages. ;— “An International Year is an important cooperation mechanism dedicated to raising awareness of a particular topic or theme of global interest or concern, and mobilizing different players for coordinated action around the world. In 2016, the United Nations General Assembly… Read more »

Terry Mackie
Guest
Terry Mackie

These fantasists never learn. The way forward is not mandate, coercion or linguistic predominance. We need better ideas for Welsh to thrive and respect for democratic preference: see https://www.iwa.wales/click/2017/09/reality-vision-welsh-language/

CapM
Guest
CapM

From that iwa article- ” …that most of our people are not to be disrespected or disenfranchised because they prefer to remain monoglot…” We are an very very long way from English speaking monoglots being disrespected or disenfranchised. To suggest otherwise is scare mongering and kind of nasty as it suggests that bilinguals are doing this already and they will inevitably do more of it in the future when bilingualism increases. Regarding the preference of people to remain monoglots, in the context of school education this would be them exercising their preference to deny their offspring the chance to become… Read more »

Walter Hunt
Guest
Walter Hunt

Eggs and omlettes. In other parts of the third world, where there is a shortfall of well qualified teachers, the students participate in e-classrooms with subjects delivered by the best teachers from the best schools. Of course that will never happen in Wales because of the power of the teaching lobby and thus L2 Welsh language provision will continue to suffer and L3 provision will be largely irrelavant for the needs of 21st century life outside the EU

Lynda Defiglio
Guest
Lynda Defiglio

The government are not taking welsh speaking teachers seriously because it is not a serious subject. The nhs is , the crime rate is , rise of stabbings, rise in homelessness, rise in drug addicts on our streets, bullying in schools , food banks. I could go on
But do you see the difference in these problems above compared to employing more welsh speaking teachers ? You are so obsessed with the welsh language that you cannot see beyond it. The be all and end all of life is not to be able to speak welsh .

jr humphrys
Guest
jr humphrys

Why hasn’t Westminster taken those problems seriously? Because the rich live in a different world.
In any case, this article is specifically concerned with retaining and building our culture in Cymru.

Adam Seymour
Guest
Adam Seymour

I’m Irish and i have huge respect for the Welsh people. While the Irish government watches as Gaeilge goes extinct the Welsh language is thriving. sláinte.

Matênin Greniernathalie
Member
Matênin Greniernathalie

LOAN BETWEEN INDIVIDUALS ONLINE FREE OF CHARGE A VERY DYNAMIC TEAM TO THE TASK. Are you looking for a loan to revive your activities either for the realization of a project or you need money for other reasons? Do not worry, even if you are registered in your country and do not have access to funding please contact this e-mail: greniernathalie1@yahoo.com to know the conditions of granting loan and financing without harassment and say goodbye to your financial problems. Note the areas in which we can help you to carry out your projects or break the deadlock. * Financial *… Read more »

Tudor Rees
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Tudor Rees

“A new study shows that babies raised in bilingual environments develop core cognitive skills like decision-making and problem-solving — before they even speak. The study, out of the University of Washington, tested 16 babies. Half came from English-speaking households and half came from English- and Spanish-speaking households. The babies listen to a variety of speech sounds, from preverbal to English- and Spanish-specific sounds. Researchers monitored the babies’ responses to the sounds using magnetoencephalography (MEG), which helped them clearly identify which parts of the brain were activated via electromagnetic activity. You will never see a more cuddly scientific setup: The babies… Read more »