Further to my post last week I see this press report from Wales Online again about ESTYN’s findings and the writer supports my belief that we should encourage bilingualism but the policy and strategy for ensuring this including the training of teachers with the level of Welsh needed to be more fluent in English-speaking Welsh schools.
As a parent I for one was pleased that Welsh schools were embraced and that I had the choice of sending my child to a Welsh-speaking school even though English was our main family language. Just as important for my other family members was the choice not to send their child to a Welsh school but to and English school that taught Welsh. I am sure this is still a really good compromise for most of the Welsh people.
This is just food for thought unless everyone just speaks Welsh in Wales then dual language and the balance between the two must always be measured against the needs of the children and society and not a group that wishes just to promote the language. Whilst there is a place for this they can alienate if they try to impose their wish. My family members are mainly happy that they speak English and have no wish for their children to learn Welsh apart from an awareness of it and an acceptance of bilingualism.
The report finishes on these notes to which I totally agree.
Whatever action the minister decides to take on the basis of the findings, he needs to ensure that the excellent work done by his Government doesn’t slip between the cracks.
The Welsh-Medium Education Strategy is a case in point, as are the powers in the School Standards and Organisation Bill. At long last, the framework is in place to hold local authorities to account in terms of their Welsh education strategies – so please, let’s not abandon ship now.
For those still young enough to soak it up, to those of us a little more advanced in our years, including all school staff, the support needs to be in place to give everybody the opportunity to grasp bilingualism with both hands.