The week before Christmas a crucial document was released by the Welsh Government, the Welsh in Education Plan. It sets out the strategic direction for Welsh as a language and Welsh Medium Education.
My aim in this post isn’t to analyse the content but to draw your attention to a blog post written by Katherine Davies. It provides a clear direction for the development of Welsh within our schools.
For a long time I have argued that greater clarity regarding Welsh within the new curriculum was required. It is being given equal billing with English and sits within the area of learning and experience for language and literacy. Rightly or wrongly, my fear has been that although I understood that Welsh would appear across the curriculum, that this needed greater clarity. This has been provided by Katherine Davies,
“There is also the expectation that the Welsh language, history, literature and culture will be a cross-cutting theme across all areas of learning and experience.”
Here is the key statement that explains clearly that all schools and not simply Welsh Medium Schools will be expected to teach Welsh across the curriculum. This sits comfortably with recent Estyn inspections of English Medium settings where recommendations have been given for developing the use of Welsh beyond the Welsh lesson and more recently beyond the classroom. Schools need to be preparing for this in the same manner as they prepare for the DCF. Only through effective strategic planning in terms of school vision, recruitment and language support can this be achieved. As Katherine Davies correctly states,
“But ensuring the Welsh language and culture is rooted in every aspect of a school’s life and ethos will involve school leaders and governors owning the vision, mapping out the language capabilities of staff and building up capacity within schools, using schemes like the Welsh Language Sabbatical scheme. School leaders from all sectors must work together strategically to really make a difference.”
To support this we have to realise that the new professional standards expect all leaders of schools in Wales to support a vision that encorparates Welsh and the Welsh dimension. This is an expectation within the new standards that will be guding our workforce from September.
The link to an earlier post on my blog clearly indicates how Welsh and the Welsh dimension are part of the new professional standards for teachers and school leaders.
The sabbatical scheme is an excellent opportunity for all schools and rather than taking my word for it, please read the link below that includes the views of two practitioners,
The article by Katherine Davies also identifies the importance of bilingual education,
“There is much evidence to suggest that learning a second language has a positive impact on an individual’s learning and development. It is challenging, can build capacity to learn additional languages and can open the mind to different ways of thinking and seeing the world. And yes, it can be fun.”
My post on bilingualism, was in my ‘Top 3’ from 2017, demonstrating to myself the interest that people are developing in the importance of being able to speak more than one language,
I firmly believe that the link below is essential reading,
It comes with a big thank you to Katherine Davies for clarifying a number of important issues raised in her post. Diolch!
It is an exciting time for the development of the Welsh language in Wales and my hope is that we will all take full advantage of the opportunities available and join in the journey and share the vision, as we create a million Welsh speakers.