Estyn annual report 2017-18 Key messages for developing Welsh Language:

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Here are the key messages for schools and the Welsh language. The key features are;

Progression

Transition

Planning for language development

Developing oracy with a focus on Welsh speakers.

Welsh in the Primary Sector:

In English-medium schools, most foundation phase pupils make appropriateprogress in developing their Welsh speaking skills. They use simple words to count how many friends eat different fruits at playtime, name colours and talk about the weather in nursery and reception. They gain confidence in talking about their likes and dislikes and begin to extend their phrases in Year
2. The progress of too many pupils slows as they move through key stage 2. They begin to lose confidence in their ability to speak the language and rely too heavily on prompt sheets for speaking and writing tasks. In a very few exceptional schools, pupils move easily between English and Welsh and use Welsh as part of their classroom routines and their social interaction.
However, improving pupils’ standards of Welsh, particularly in key stage 2, continues to be an important area for development in English-medium schools.

Teaching and learning in the Primary Sector:

In a minority of English-medium schools, planning to develop
pupils’ Welsh language skills needs improvement.

Welsh in the Secondary Sector:

The standards of Welsh of pupils in many Welsh-medium and in a minority of bilingual schools are good. They talk, read and write well in Welsh, and many use their language skills confidently in different contexts across the curriculum. Many pupils have the ability to use the Welsh language effectively in formal and informal situations. However, a few pupils do not develop their oracy skills to the best of their ability. In many cases, pupils speak Welsh in social situations less often than they did in their primary schools. This is because of the status
given to the language by their peers and school leaders and the expectations that school staff have about speaking Welsh. In May 2018, we published a thematic survey about Welsh in key stages 2 and 3 in Welsh-medium and bilingual schools (Estyn, 2018a). Please read the report.

Only in around a quarter of English-medium secondary schools do pupils continue to develop their Welsh language skills when transferring from primary to secondary school. These pupils have a sound grasp of basic vocabulary and grammar, pronounce words accurately and write well for a variety of purposes. They develop their ability to construct their own sentences and demonstrate positive attitudes and enjoyment in learning Welsh. In the rest of the schools, pupils do not develop their Welsh speaking skills well enoughWelsh lessons or in other contexts. In these schools, pupils focus too much onpreparing for examinations and do not have the confidence to attempt to speak Welsh. This has an adverse impact on their speaking, reading and writing skills. Around a half of these schools had a recommendation to raise standards in Welsh.

At key stage 4, girls continue to outperform boys nationally, particularly in subjects such as English and Welsh.

Teaching and Learning Experience:

Most English-medium schools have increased the number of pupils taking Welsh language qualifications, but very few plan well to increase the day-to-day use of Welsh. A few English-medium schools do not ensure that pupils fluent in Welsh gain Welsh first language qualifications. Welsh-medium schools enter nearly all pupils for Welsh GCSE. However, a few bilingual schools do not ensure that pupils make suitable progress from key stage 3 to key stage 4.

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