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Plaid Cymru criticise decision not to abolish Welsh second language qualification

17 Feb 2022 4 minute read
Heledd Fychan speaking in the Senedd.

Plaid Cymru have criticised the decision not to abolish Welsh as a second language qualification.

The Welsh nationalist party’s spokesperson on Children and Young People, and the Welsh language, Heledd Fychan MS, argued that the current education system “does not allow equal access” to learn the language “for all”.

She criticised Qualifications Wales, and said that changes it announced yesterday  to Welsh language qualifications “raises major questions” about its “role and purpose”.

Qualifications Wales say the changes will help more learners become confident Welsh speakers.

Under the changes Welsh Language and Welsh Literature will be combined into one GCSE for pupils in Welsh-medium and bilingual schools.

GCSE Welsh Second Language will be discontinued, and a new GCSE in Welsh will be created for learners in English-medium settings.

A new additional qualification for pupils in English-medium settings who are ready to progress further in their Welsh language skills.

Heledd Fychan said: “This decision is contrary to the demands of campaigners and the clear evidence for years that the current system does not allow equal access for all to the Welsh language. It raises major questions about the role and purpose of Qualifications Wales as a body.

“The great danger is that what is happening is the rebranding of Welsh second language, rather than the much-needed step forward in order to meet the Government’s ambitious targets of creating a million, and more, speakers of the language.

“The existence of the second language qualification and the creation of a single Language continuum create dangers in itself in terms of lack of continuity between primary and secondary schools, particularly in a number of counties in the west of the country.

“We want to work together across the parties for the benefit of the people of Wales and their communities, but a decision like this from an unelected body undermines those efforts.

“Although the decisions by Qualifications Wales is the result of a process initiated prior to the Co-Operation Agreement, it is clear that the route will have to be changed if we can reach cross-party agreement on the content of a Welsh Education Bill.”

‘Encourage all learners’

Emyr George, Director of Qualifications Policy and Reform, at Qualifications Wales, said, “This new set of qualifications will encourage all learners to be confident users of the Welsh language, regardless of which type of school they attend, and will help achieve the aims of the Welsh Government’s ‘Cymraeg 2050’ language strategy.

“Eventually, we want to see one overarching Cymraeg qualification for all learners in all settings, but we are not there yet because learners have varying levels of exposure to the language.

“The qualifications will give all learners a fair and equal opportunity to achieve in Cymraeg. They reflect the different sets of expectations for English-medium and Welsh-medium schools, as outlined in the new Curriculum for Wales, while also allowing those learners in English-medium schools who are ready to progress further and more quickly along the Welsh language continuum.

“We have worked closely with teachers, subject experts and the Welsh Government over recent months to ensure this offer best meets the needs of learners to have the skills and confidence to use Welsh in their learning, work, and everyday lives.”

Jeremy Miles, the Minister for Education and Welsh Language, said: “Welsh Language qualifications should support all learners on their Welsh Language journey and provide a route towards a shared goal. I welcome the new Welsh language qualifications, which remove the concept of Welsh being a second language and will reward the hard work of those studying Welsh across the whole spectrum of Welsh language experience and ability.

“I have been clear that changes to qualifications must be radical and ambitious and support the new Curriculum, as we move to a continuum for Welsh learning, from those with little or no language experience, right through to those working towards proficiency.”

“There is a real opportunity to work with Qualifications Wales to help shape these new qualifications and I encourage everyone with an interest to engage with the process over the coming months.”


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Richard Alun Gerrard
Richard Alun Gerrard
7 months ago

Wales is as land of 3 nations…

  1. First language Welsh ..second English. Welsh born.
  2. First and only language English. Welsh born or Welsh lost.
  3. First and only language English. Not born in Wales.
  4. and Plaid Cymru need all of the above to get what they want…..
What Ismyname
What Ismyname
7 months ago

You forget people not born in Wales, who moved to Wales from England or elsewhere and are trying to learn Welsh to the best of their abilities and circumstances.

Leigh Richardss
Leigh Richardss
7 months ago

Wales is one nation Richard….and the Welsh language belongs to all of us in Wales. PS im sure a majority of 52 % to 48 % will be more than sufficient to secure independence for Wales 😉

Last edited 7 months ago by Leigh Richardss
Grayham Jones
7 months ago

Welsh is the first language in wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

Carol Loughlin
Carol Loughlin
7 months ago
Reply to  Grayham Jones

*Wales

Ieu
Ieu
7 months ago

How can an English-speaking child at an English-medium school do the same GCSE in Welsh Language/Literature as a fluent Welsh speaking child at a Welsh-medium school?

Maybe I’ve totally misunderstood, but I would be grateful if someone could explain it to me.

Diolch.

hdavies15
hdavies15
7 months ago
Reply to  Ieu

Good point. Perhaps a”level2″ GCSE in Welsh might be a good stepping stone to progressing to a level1 GCSE later. No point getting too dogmatic about singular levels of attainment. Make it more accessible and there will be more takers.

Ieu
Ieu
7 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

So that IS the point of the campaign? I’m sure it can’t be.

“Right year 10. Today you have Geogaphy, Maths, Biology and then ancient Medieval Poetry in a language you can’t speak without using any of the language you can speak.”

Leigh Richardss
Leigh Richardss
7 months ago

“The Welsh nationalist party’s spokesperson”…er do you prefix reports on statements from elected Labour or Conservative representatives with “British nationalist party’s spokesperson”?🤔 Why is Nation Cymru sounding like the brit media? ☹️

Cymru Cymraeg
Cymru Cymraeg
7 months ago

This was always going to be inevitable. The Gov isn’t going to allow learners (in English medium schools) to compete against learners (in welsh medium school) and thereby setting them up to fail. Can you imagine a Year 11 learner achieving 10 A* and an E in Welsh? It’ll never happen……nobody would allow it.

Arwyn
7 months ago
Reply to  Cymru Cymraeg

Cytuno. It’s a laudable aim to have everyone on the same continuum but the fact is that it takes more than a school to make a Welsh speaker – it takes a community. There’s too much of the idea around that we can chuck everything at schools to solve and then it’s job done. One day, yes, all schools will be able to teach the same qualification in Cymraeg … but there’s a lot of work to be done to get us to that point. This policy is putting the cart before the horse.

Pete
Pete
7 months ago
Reply to  Arwyn

I suggest that any Monoglot children forced to take an unfair Welsh GCSE exam, not to bother to turn up on the day the exam is held.

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