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Over 1,000 sign petition calling for Welsh-medium education for every child after disappointing census results

12 Dec 2022 2 minute read
Picture: Brad Flickinger (CC BY 2.0)

Over 1,000 people have signed a petition calling for Welsh-medium education for every child after disappointing census results.

Last week’s 2021 census results showed that the number of Welsh speakers had continued to slide from 582,000 (20.8%) in 2001 to 538,000 (17.8%) today.

The fall was among 3-16-year-olds, with older age groups showing an overall rise in Welsh speakers.

The new petition was set up by Luke Johns of the campaign group Wish I Spoke Welsh who are calling on Welsh Government to extend Welsh-medium provision to every child in Wales.

The petition calls for ambition and a clear timetable to ensure Welsh-medium education for all children in Wales and will play a key role if we want to see the language flourish and reach Welsh Government’s goal of a million speakers by 2050.

“We believe that Welsh belongs to all the people of Wales, and that everyone, whatever their background, has the right to the language,” Luke Johns’ petition says.

“The evidence shows that the way to ensure young people become fluent in the language is Welsh-medium education, but only around 20% of young people are given this opportunity at present.

“We believe there should be significant and sustained growth in Welsh-medium education, building up to universal Welsh-medium provision to ensure access to the language for all young people.”

‘Future’

Following the publication of the 2021 census results, David Thomas, Welsh Learner of the Year 2021 spoke out under the banner of the Wish I Spoke Welsh campaign calling on Welsh Government to extend Welsh-medium provision to every child in Wales.

“I grew up as part of a ‘lost generation’ in Cardiff in the 1970s. I had no opportunity to learn Welsh as a child and always regretted this. Learning Welsh as an adult has transformed my life, but it does take time and effort to learn as an adult,” he said.

“It is vitally important that we give every child in Wales the opportunity to learn through the medium of Welsh at school.”

“Mindful of the 2021 Census data published this week, the Welsh Government can and must act to extend Welsh-medium provision to every child in Wales. To do so would ensure their future inheritance and make good in some part for what was denied to so many of us in the past.”


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Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
1 month ago

This is for the long haul, and isn’t going to happen quickly. But it is certainly what the country should be ultimately aiming for, as was the case in other countries such as Latvia and Israel. There is certainly no reason why nursery schools shouldn’t all become Welsh medium in the not-too-distant future. Besides, it’ll give the Welsh Tory branch something new to complain about and to justify their existence to themselves for just a little longer.

Riki
Riki
1 month ago

Only a Thousand? Another example of why Media needs to be devolved. As if those who want the language gone are going to tell those same people that numbers have fallen.

Radian Prys
1 month ago

There are loads of Welsh speakers in England. It is not the methodology of teaching that’s broken it is the employment opportunities. I live in a small town over the border and when the World Cup started most pubs had the Welsh and England flags.

Jon_S
Jon_S
1 month ago

Because education only exists to advance the cause of the Welsh language? This is nonsense – with ability in the language as low as 10% in parts of the country, and a large chunk of the 90% who don’t speak it with no interest at all in its future, this is cloud cuckoo land. Even if the inevitable (fierce) resistance to the idea could be overcome, where would the teachers come from? Yes, every child should have the opportunity to take advantage of a Welsh language education if they and their family want it, but to hoist it on the… Read more »

Riki
Riki
1 month ago
Reply to  Jon_S

So I guess we should just pack it in then huh? Let’s just forget our history and leaders while we are it..and better still we should just call ourselves English also. Well thankfully you are a minority within Wales and getting smaller by the day. We will not go quietly and succumb to Englands 1000 year plan to replace us.

Jon_S
Jon_S
1 month ago
Reply to  Riki

No, just that this is not the way. It will not work, it will make matters worse, if anything accelerating the demise of the language by making a whole generation hate it. You cannot force people to speak a language – you have to give them a reason to want to.

Robert
Robert
1 month ago

Signed!

Rhosddu
Rhosddu
1 month ago

It seems a worthwhile policy, and an achievable goal, to begin by converting all nursery schools to Welsh medium

Jon_S
Jon_S
1 month ago
Reply to  Rhosddu

In parts of Wales they are already failing to find enough Welsh speakers to work in Welsh nurseries with the existing number…

Rhosddu
Rhosddu
1 month ago
Reply to  Jon_S

I’m not proposing that they convert them tomorrow morning. Obviously they need to accelerate the recruitment and training of Welsh-speaking nursery staff.

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