Campaigners call for a clear commitment to the teaching of Welsh


Pressure is mounting on the Welsh government to ensure every child will leave school fluent in Welsh under the new curriculum.

Professor Graham Donaldson, who was tasked with reviewing the curriculum in Wales, has set out a reform programme which does recommend that teaching of Welsh should remain compulsory until the age of 16. 

However, Welsh language campaigners are calling on education minister Huw Lewis to go further when he formally responds to the report.

Former NUT Cymru secretary Gethin Lewis and Bangor University linguist Professor David Crystal are among a host of signatories who want assurances that the Welsh government will fulfil its pledge to see all pupils in Wales speaking confidently in Welsh regardless of what schools they attend.

They say it is clear the current system of teaching Welsh as a second language is a failure.

Prof Donaldson, a former chief inspector of education in Scotland, was instrumental in the development of the Scottish government’s curriculum reform programme Curriculum for Excellence.

His recommendations for Wales  mirror many of those introduced north of the border and include the launch of “progression steps” with broad expectations of pupils aged five, eight, 11, 14 and 16.

Prof Crystal, Mr Lewis, Bangor University education lecturer Bryn Tomos, and Archdruid of Wales Christine James have signed a statement urging the Welsh government to “take the opportunity to develop a new curriculum which will ensure that every pupil develops the essential educational skill of being able to communicate and work in Welsh as well as English”.

Ffred Ffransis, education spokesman for the Welsh language society campaign group, Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg, said it was unfair that the majority of young people in some parts of Wales were deprived of the ability to work and communicate in Welsh.

“The contemptuous idea of second-language Welsh is a failure and the government should change direction so that every pupil learns Welsh as their own language,” he said.

“The government doesn’t have to listen to us. But they should listen to the committee they themselves commissioned and (which) came to the same conclusion as us,” he added.

A spokesman for the Welsh government said: “The Welsh government will formally respond to the report in the summer. 

“Any resulting changes to the teaching of Welsh in English-medium schools will reflect our commitment in the Welsh-medium Education Strategy to improve standards in Welsh second-language to enable young people to become competent Welsh speakers in the future.”



Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.

Change the CAPTCHA codeSpeak the CAPTCHA code
Claim Free Subscription