Welsh v English Which path do I choose for Secondary School ? – Wales

This is an interesting story about the path of twins and their choice at secondary school after engaging in a Welsh Primary Education, which path to choose?

Has anyone else out there been in this position?  I have been promoting Welsh via the Primary Language Awards and the Welsh category as having been born in South Wales I wanted to promote the language, this years winners can be seen at www.languageawards.com.

AN EDUCATION guidance document has prompted some controversy after revealing  concerns over the progression of Welsh language skills for Welsh medium pupils.

The document – called Promoting linguistic progression between Key Stages 2  and 3 – has been distributed by the Welsh Government to local education  authorities and the head teachers and governing bodies of Welsh medium primary  and secondary schools.

It reveals there has been concern within the Welsh Government at the failure  of some children undergoing Welsh medium education to progress their language  skills after making the transition from primary to secondary schools.

It states: “Despite a growing number of learners being taught through the  medium of Welsh in our primary schools, the lack of linguistic progression  across the educational stages from Key Stage 2 onwards has been of concern to  educators in Wales for a number of years and there has been considerable  discussion on how best to try to respond to the situation.”

The document goes on to offer advice about how to overcome the doubts of  parents who worry whether Welsh medium education will place their child at a  disadvantage. It advocates running “workshops for Years 5 and 6 learners {aged 9  to 11} to raise their awareness of the value of Welsh medium education”.

The document states: “This is best undertaken by means of fun activities that  underline the economic, cultural and social benefits of being bilingual in  contemporary Wales.

“During the project, a number of fun activities were created for use with  Years 5 and 6 learners to raise their awareness of the benefits of bilingual  skills, including the social, educational and economic benefits.

“One example is to have two dolls that are similar in appearance, and present  a story about the dolls to the learners. They are twins who have been brought up  as Welsh speakers. Both had a Welsh medium education at primary school. One went  on to receive a Welsh medium education at secondary school, but the other  followed her friends and chose an English medium education. One went to college  in Wales while the other went to college in England. One of them retained her  Welsh while the other lost the language after spending years working in  London.

“By coincidence, years later both applied for the same job – a senior job  with a good salary in an area of Wales with a high number of Welsh speakers. The  learners are told that one twin has bilingual skills, and is therefore able to  speak to everyone, in either English or Welsh. The other twin can only speak  English. There is a discussion on the importance of giving customers a choice of  language and on the rights of Welsh speakers. Learners are asked to choose which  candidate should be given the job. In all cases, without exception, the learners  chose the twin with bilingual skills. The result of the exercise is that the  learners themselves realise the benefits of having bilingual skills.”

A source in the education sector said the document had caused some  controversy since it was issued earlier this year because some educationalists  believed it clearly proposed “strategies to discourage English-medium education  between Key Stages 2 & 3”.

The source said: “I think the document speaks for itself. The strategies for  discouraging English medium secondary education – particularly those aimed at  children like the dolls example – are, I think, highly questionable.”

A Welsh Government spokesman said: “We want to address the decrease in  numbers of pupils who continue to study Welsh first language and subjects  through the medium of Welsh on transfer from KS2 to KS3. That is the focus of  this document.

“It highlights the advantages of learners progressing from primary through to  secondary education in the language which they’ve been using throughout their  education. It also provides guidance for local authorities and schools on how to  support and encourage progression. Linguistic progression is a key part of our  Welsh medium education strategy.”

The document also recommends a DVD to be shown to parents called Symud  Ymlaen/ Moving On. The DVD states: “Employers now seek robust bilingual skills – having a Welsh medium education is an effective way of improving skills and  confidence in the language. More jobs require bilingual skills today than ever  before.

“Being bilingual gives young people the opportunity to experience two  different cultures and two worlds of experience. Two languages – twice the  choice!”

A National Assembly briefing paper about the current Assembly term, which we  have seen, suggests a Welsh medium education Bill may be necessary to compel  local authorities to implement the Welsh Government’s Welsh medium education  strategy, which has targets that 30% of Year 2 learners and 23% of Year 9  learners should be assessed in Welsh first language by 2020.

Read More http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/education-news/2012/05/31/document-sparks-fears-for-pupils-welsh-language-skills-91466-31080648/#ixzz1wWgzPVDm