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New way of categorising schools in Wales based on Basque language success

09 Jan 2022 3 minutes Read
Picture by the Welsh Government

Schools in Wales will be placed in new categories from September 2022 onwards according to how much Welsh they teach, in a move partly inspired by success in the Basque Country.

Since 2007 primary schools in Wales have been divided into five different linguistic categories with secondary schools in four categories with many subsections.

The Minister of Education, Jeremy Miles said that he has decided that this system was too confusing for parents and that the system need more clarity.

Schools in both the primary and secondary sectors will therefore be placed in three new categories.

In the primary sector:

  • Category 1 – provision will be through the medium of English with some Welsh.
  • Category 2 – schools will be Dual Language schools.
  • Category 3 – schools will teach mainly through the medium of Welsh.

The main change here involves the inclusion of the new Category 2 Dual Language provision.

This Category 2 model of provision will allow pupils to spend half their school time learning through the medium of English and the other half through the medium of Welsh.

This category has been developed based on a successful model of promoting the use of the Basque language, where the numbers of pupils who receive either a full or partial education through the medium of Basque has risen from 25% to 90% of primary school pupils.

This model will be aimed mainly at the areas in Wales where there are fewer Welsh speaking communities but where parents would like their children to have a better grasp of Welsh than they do at present.

‘Promoting’

Secondary schools will also be placed in three new categories.

  • Category 1 – English medium schools with some Welsh.
  • Category 2 – schools in bilingual communities
  • Category 3 – schools in areas with a high percentage of Welsh speakers and schools where all the curriculum areas except for English are taught in Welsh.

Jeremy Miles, the Minister for Education said on Newyddion S4C that he was confident that this new system of categorisation would be much easier for parents to understand.

“The new system will also encourage schools to provide more Welsh medium provision and that the emphasis would not only be on the teaching of Welsh in classrooms but also on promoting language use outside lesson time,” he said.

Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg welcomed the move as one step towards ensuring that all pupils in Wales in the future will be able to speak Welsh.

Chair of CYIG, Mabli Siriol also emphasise the need for new legislation to promote and safeguard Welsh medium education.

The Welsh Government have already noted that this is one of their goals during the present term of the Senedd.


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Cymro Cymraeg
Cymro Cymraeg
5 months ago

The significant (and important) difference between this model in Wales and the Basque country is that the measures are statutory in Gwlad Y Basque and won’t be in Cymru. Although different levels of language teaching and learning will continue in Ynys Mon, Gwynedd, Ceredigion and Carmarthen it’s unfortunate that there won’t be a a statutory implementation for these three categories to exist within schools in the other 17 county/unitary authorities. Either Welsh only or English only schools will continue to remain………..unfortunately!

Morry
Morry
5 months ago
Reply to  Cymro Cymraeg

Why is it unfortunate that Welsh only schools will continue to remain? Dual language schools where the children are taught in both languages are not the way forward, they reduce the expose of the children to Welsh and Welsh and English are not starting from a level playing field, children hear English every day virtually all day long when they aren’t in school, it is the language of the TV, of the radio, of Youtube etc.

Cymro Cymraeg
Cymro Cymraeg
5 months ago
Reply to  Morry

I agree – the point being that it’s unfortunate that the current model will continue. i.e. Welsh or English language schools………..it isn’t likely (without statutory implementation) that this new model (guidance only) will make any difference at all to the number of learners who are learning either through the medium of Welsh or English.

Gill Jones
Gill Jones
5 months ago
Reply to  Cymro Cymraeg

Cytuno 100% – mae rhaid cael deddf statudol.

Geoff Horton-Jones
Geoff Horton-Jones
5 months ago

Yes the right decision is to give this a full statutory basis in Wales

Penderyn
Penderyn
5 months ago

I learnt my English outside of school to an incredibly proficient level. Schools are fairly irrelevant now with the rise of the internet and its evolution.

Welsh fully taught in all schools…… is a minimum. The kids will still speak English only outside the school gate for as long as the overwhelming economic forces use an English tongue

stuart stanton
stuart stanton
5 months ago

Plaque in Basque capital, Vitoria Gasteiz

Gill Jones
Gill Jones
5 months ago

Anyone else notice that the current Category A Welsh education schools will now be known as Category 3 schools? Demotion? Surely Welsh eduction schools should be known as Category 1 schools!

Henry
Henry
5 months ago
Reply to  Gill Jones

It’s all in the perspective. You could look at it as 3 being a higher number than 1!

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