The Iron Ring petition shows what we can achieve

Llywelyn Ap Gruffydd Fychan Statue, Llandovery. Picture by Gareth Thompson (CC BY-ND 2.0)

 

Izzy Evans

When I started a petition in late July against the Welsh Government’s plans to erect a monument to Wales’ conquest near Flint Castle I had no idea how successful it would be.

Within the week the Culture Secretary Ken Skates announced that they would think again, and now it has been announced that the plan will be scrapped completely.

The story of the Iron Ring is an important one. It shows that when we do raise our voices together we can make change happen.

The Welsh mindset has too often been that we are politically oppressed and that we must stoically trudge on, unable to do much about our circumstances.

But in fact, our biggest enemy is our own apathy. Our present circumstances will continue only as long as we tolerate them.

This is starting to change. The Welsh Government had not expected the response there was to the Iron Ring. And they will think more carefully about such projects in future.

It should also embolden us to push on and make our voices heard on other issues as well. Foremost among these is the need to ensure that our own history is taught at our schools.

A petition calling for the changing of the national curriculum in order to strengthen the teaching of Welsh history in our schools has now gathered almost 3000 signatures.

At the moment, as little as 10-15% of the history taught at GCSE level in Wales has any relevance to our country.

Young people growing up in Wales have little idea of their own culture, their own past – where they’ve come from.

I left school knowing virtually nothing about our history, and only discovered how fascinating it was after a chance conversation with a more learned friend.

I’m now besotted with the sheer wealth of exciting history that Wales has. But many haven’t been so lucky.

Is it really any surprise that some of our young people resent being taught Welsh in our schools? After all, they have very little idea why they’re learning the language. Its significance is lost to them.

It’s no accident, of course, that very little of our history is taught at schools. It’s a deliberate choice to ensure that we appreciate our neighbours’ history better than our own.

We’ve let them get away with it. But no longer – the tale of the Iron Ring, and our success in resisting it, is just the opening salvo of a wider campaign to restore Wales’ history to its rightful place in the national consciousness.

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RdWd
Guest
RdWd

Couldn’t agree more with what you’re saying about not having been taught Welsh history in school, it’s only after school that I learnt about Welsh history (and mythology) more thoroughly. I think we learnt more about Dylan Thomas’s mocking satire of Welsh life than we did our own history. John Davies’ ‘A History of Wales’ is in places a bit dry but essential reading.

Willia-Glyn THOMAS
Guest
Willia-Glyn THOMAS

I was educated in a Grammar School in Rhyl in the 1950’s and the only history we were taught was English kings and queens. The lessons were a series of dictation whereupon the student write notes. The teaching method would have been better suited tintraining me to be a Secretary.

Pen-Cloch
Guest
Pen-Cloch

Without you organising the Petition, this wouldn’t have happened and it would have gone ahead.

So Diolch yn Fawr and Thank you for your commitment to the cause Izzy Evans.

education person
Guest
education person

Welsh history is already part of the WJEC GCSE curriculum in Wales. It is made up of 4 units: 1. Wales and the wider perspective 2. History with a European/world focus 3. Thematic studies (one from crime, health, warfare, migration) 4. Working as a historian The curriculum states: “In following this specification, learners must consider a Welsh perspective if the opportunity arises naturally from the subject matter and if its inclusion would enrich learners’ understanding of the world around them as citizens of Wales as well as the UK, Europe and the world. Specifically, Units 1 and 3 will require… Read more »

sibrydionmawr
Guest

From what you’ve said there, it seems that history from a uniquely Welsh perspective is an adjunct to Brit history taught as default. The statement ‘learners must consider a Welsh perspective if the opportunity arises naturally from the subject matter’ which kind of gives the whole game away, and suggests that the Welsh perspective is subordinate. Half a syllabus is simply not enough, and quite simply history in Wales should be taught from an entirely Welsh perspective, putting the country in context with the rest of the world, and where there is no subordination to Brit history as is currently… Read more »

Tame Frontiersman
Guest
Tame Frontiersman

Yes – to challenging self-serving, London-centric interpretations of Wales’ past, present and future!

Llongyfarchiadau

But to really push this agenda forward needs Wales-wide coordination of action.

Andrew
Guest
Andrew

For a realistic view of our history, schools should introduce children to Terry Breverton,s book,The Welsh The Biography.Young people would soon gain a sense of their true identity and culture and within a generation wales would become independent.

Dafydd ap Gwilym
Guest

Until Lord in waiting, Carwyn Jones, the rest of the unionists, all those representing foreign political parties and the British llackies are removed from our Senedd and positions of authority of any kind, nothing will change and our people shall be dragged further into oblivion. Until we have our own media our hard of learning will be fed foreign anglo-british lies and will continue to be dumb. The majority of our people, like, lemmings will follow right over the edge into the abyss unless we help them. Until every educational establishment is Welsh speaking and teaches the truth about the… Read more »

Capitalist and Welshnash
Guest
Capitalist and Welshnash

Yes thank you, and direct action. To comments on Welsh Education. As long as Wales-focused education is not a ploy to focus on Left-wong stuggles and land-rights and ‘ordinary’ Welsh lives at the expense of conventional historu teachin from a Welsh perspective, I support having a state wide curriculum, but it must not be used to put promote authoritative attitudes of the state or a Leftist political ideology. I only worry about this because I went to YesCymru indyfest yesterday, and the historical education moment took a decidedly left wing approach, and that can be very dangerous. A woman in… Read more »

sibrydionmawr
Guest

There is absolutely nothing wrong with either the sickle or hammer used as part of a communist crest. The use of the hammer symbolises on the one hand the workers, and the sickle on the other, the peasants. Because YesCymru did not actively condemn the woman’s statement does not mean that YesCymru supports the totalitarian nature of the Soviet Union. Maybe YesCymru’s apparent ‘favouring’ of so called ‘leftists’ (I attended #indyfest too, and noted no particular left-wing bias, or indeed, any particular right-wing bias). And perhaps anything centrist or centre-right is viewed with hostility for the reason that most people… Read more »

Neil Woods
Guest
Neil Woods

Can’t say I’m surprised that a campaign based on nationalism and historical revisionism was successful in Brexit Wales.