16 Mar, 2018

A successful bilingual future

Our next piece is from Richard Carbis (@addysgrjc7  on Twitter), Headteacher currently seconded to the CSC Consortia as Welsh Standards and Policy Officer. You can find more of Richard’s writing on his blog – https://addysgrjceducation.wordpress.com/


Wales is at a very important juncture for our  new curriculum, Successful Futures. By the end of the summer, we should have a better understanding of what the areas of learning and experience will look like. During the autumn we will then be working within clusters taking curriculum development to the next stage. It is at times such as these, that being a part of a network has great benefits. To open discussions across the whole of Wales provides an opportunity to be truly collaborative, share ideas and in many ways, share the risks. This is why I feel that @networkEdcymru is an important venture. The more we can work together or simply air our thoughts, the better. After all, discussions about pedagogy, are at the heart of everything we do as teachers.

My greatest concern is the fact that the Welsh voice, or rather llais Cymraeg, will not be visible. I took part in a brilliant ‘Teach Meet’ in Cardiff organised by the Welsh Department of Eastern High School. The whole event was through the  Welsh medium and for the very first time, I truly felt that the Welsh voice across Secondary and Higher education was being heard. Welsh speaking colleagues are sometimes used to not being included in events, we are used to being the forgotten voice of education. However, with the new curriculum and the new direction driven by Estyn, this can no longer be the case.

Katherine Davies, a seconded Headteacher, working for Welsh Government made it clear that Welsh is to be a part of every AOLE. Just as the DCF is to be an integral part of every area, so is Welsh. Almost all schools are strategically planning for the Digital Competency Framework (DCF), looking at curriculum planning, teaching resources and CPD for staff. How many schools are able to say that this is also true for Welsh?  Yet this is one of the key aspects of the new curriculum, to use Welsh in all areas and to celebrate our culture and identity. This needs to be carefully planned by school leaders and the opportunity for CPD made available to all staff.

The new curriculum implies that this is our near future, however, the January update from Estyn implies that this is the reality today. They have requested that Inspectors judge the ability of pupils in all schools including English-medium according to their standard of Welsh oracy. Therefore there is an expectation to hear Welsh not only in the classroom but along the corridors, in the yard and in other curricular areas. They have also requested that Inspectors judge whether a school has a strategy for the development of Welsh. It is therefore important that as curriculum networks become a shared voice for our profession and that the f Welsh language is not forgotten.

As I stated in my blog post,

‘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.’


As @networkEdcymru is developed across Wales, it is my hope that discussions involving Welsh can also take place. More importantly, I also hope that conversations can be held in Welsh. Our Welsh-medium schools are on the increase due to parental choice. In Cardiff alone, we have  20 Welsh-medium schools. Our sector should no longer be the forgotten voice and as I have already explained, Welsh is at the heart of the future for every school in Wales.

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