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Welsh history to be ‘mandatory’ part of new curriculum says Plaid-Labour cooperation agreement

22 Nov 2021 3 minutes Read
Owain Glyndŵr statue in Corwen. Picture by Michael Garlick (CC BY-SA 2.0).

The Senedd cooperation agreement between Plaid Cymru and Labour includes a commitment to ensuring that Welsh history is a “mandatory” part of the new curriculum to be taught in Welsh schools.

Plaid Cymru had voted against the new curriculum bill in March, saying it provided no guarantee that national Welsh history will be taught to every child in Wales.

But the report says that Welsh history will now be taught and also makes reference to an Estyn report that was critical of the lack of Welsh history taught in Wales’ schools.

Estyn, the education and training inspectorate for Wales, revealed the findings in its report, The teaching of Welsh history including Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic history, identity and culture.

The report said: “In a majority of schools, pupils have little knowledge of the historical events that have shaped their local area and can name few significant Welsh people from history.”

The Plaid Cymru and Labour cooperation agreement said that they were committed to “improve the teaching of Welsh history, taking account of the Estyn report”.

“We are committed to Welsh history being mandatory in the new Curriculum for Wales. New curriculum resources will be developed to support Welsh history in all its complexity and diversity. National Network conversations will start in early 2022.”

The agreement between Plaid Cymru and Labour is a joint policy programme covering 46 areas, ranging from the delivery of free school meals to all primary school pupils; a commitment to take immediate and radical action to address the second homes crisis, to long-term reform of the Senedd.

Plaid Cymru Members will not be joining the Welsh Government as Ministers or Deputy Ministers. Plaid Cymru will appoint a designated lead member for the agreement and committees made up of Welsh Ministers and Plaid Cymru designated members will be established to reach agreement on issues covered by the Co-operation Agreement.

‘National story’

Speaking in the Senedd last week, Wales’ Education Minister has said that “Welsh history must never be forgotten” and that he was “considering how to respond” to the Estyn report.

“But one of the things that is clear from the Estyn report is how important it is for our young people to have a clear understanding of Welsh history, including the many and varied diverse aspects of it, including Wales’s role in the slave trade and the race riots,” he said.

“These are important parts of the history of Wales and must never be forgotten.”

He added that next year they would prompt a national conversation in the Spring on next year on the development of resources and supporting materials on Welsh history and local context.

Explaining Plaid Cymru’s decision to vote against the curriculum bill earlier this year, Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Education Minister Sian Gwenllian had said that “It’s very disappointing to see this bill reaching its final stage without Welsh history, including the history of Black people and People of Colour, as a mandatory element of the curriculum.

“The national story of Wales should be a compulsory part of the new curriculum, included on the face of the Bill and supported with resources and training for teachers.

“Otherwise, there will be limited guidance for schools on its teaching and implementation and ultimately it will be very unlikely that it’s taught in practice.”

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William Glyn THOMAS
William Glyn THOMAS
7 days ago

My generation had no education in Welsh history I’m sure there will be a great deal of interest in learning about the course material, especially if it was possible to purchase the course material.

Dafydd
Dafydd
6 days ago

….. or even make it a free online resource that all of us can make use of?

Something to make up for the ommissions of the past!

GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
7 days ago

The education system was so bad under Westminster control I didn’t even know about Owain Glyndwr until my 20’s outside of the education system. Imagine that, the country that invaded yours decides which of your history to teach you, which was none. Learnt plenty about that fat bast Henry 8th and all the English kings but absolutely zero about our own history. I hope our youngsters learn and appreciate what we were denied.

Martin
Martin
7 days ago
Reply to  GW Atkinson

There was no national curriculum in Wales until 1988. If you went to school before that and didn’t learn any Welsh history that was the decision of your teachers not Westminster. Your teachers would have made that decision against the advice of the Education Department which has been encouraging the teaching of Welsh history since its Welsh department was set up in 1907. After 1988 the curriculum was decided by the Welsh Office and Welsh history was made mandatory (although what that meant in practice was not properly defined so many schools only paid lip service to it). Since 1999… Read more »

Ystrad Rhondda
Ystrad Rhondda
7 days ago

This announcement is another step along the way for our independence. Generations to come will be more likely to feel pride in our past, learn lessons from our history and hopefully become more confident to take ownership of our future.

It is astonishing though that it has taken until 2021 for Welsh history to be mandatory in Welsh schools. My partner’s grandchildren (aged 10 and 13) when asked recently about Owain Glyndwr wore blank expressions which soon changed when asked about Henry VIII – “we know loads about him”.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
7 days ago

There are still people born & bred in Wales that don’t even know there own history or have the ability to pronounce properly Welsh placename’s. So sad. This is not only tragic, but a national disgrace and .deliberately done by past Westminster governments, who have attempted erase Welsh culture and history whilst teaching our children an Anglocentric curriculum. This still occurs today with the SE England based media that transmits largely Anglocentric programming into Wales, and why the devolution of broadcasting & communications should be devolved to our Senedd. And before Unionists call it insular ideology. You are wrong.! t’s… Read more »

Last edited 7 days ago by Y Cymro
Mr Williams
Mr Williams
7 days ago

This is excellent news. For far too long Welsh history has been swept under the carpet in favour of the ‘official’ British history, i.e. that which is favourable to the union.

I don’t teach history but I have seen in schools I have taught in that pupils are taught lots about the battle of Hastings, Wars of the Roses, English cotton mills etc. whereas they are taught almost nothing about Owain Glyndwr, Hywel Dda, Treaty of Montgomery, Llywelyn, St Illtud, Arglwydd Rhys and the first Eisteddfod etc.

So I am really happy to hear this news today.

Last edited 7 days ago by Mr Williams
Stephen Owen
Stephen Owen
7 days ago

Newyddion gwirioneddol dda iawn, Cymru am byth 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

Malcolm rj
Malcolm rj
6 days ago

When I left school i didn’t have any knowledge of Welsh history when I was stationed in the army in Germany i was in a bar and this American soldier asked me where I was from i said that I was from Wales he started to quote Dillon Thomas poetry I said I never heard of him he whent mad with me he thought i was taking the Mick of him he would not believe that I had not been taught about him in school and I was from Wales start teaching our children about our top people

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