Focus should be on English

First published in Letters

YES, Estyn, all very commendable to look into ways of developing skills in the reading and writing of the Welsh language.

However, I do feel that, with vast numbers of pupils leaving primary school and entering the secondary system without even basic skills in the reading, writing and speaking of our first language – English, especially here in South East Wales – this is where focus should be. It is simply wrong to pursue the teaching of Welsh unless or until a child has demonstrated a satisfactory command of English, indeed a terrible waste of resources, especially when education standards have slipped to an all-time low here in Wales.

Jackie Davies Bryn Eglwys Cwmbran

Comments (30)

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2:54pm Thu 24 Jan 13

ncfcr says...

Or teach them how to count, finance skills, how to change a light bulb, etc, etc.

As someone who had the Welsh language forced down his throat, I can tell you it was counter-productive. I rebelled against being forced into something I had no interest in.
Or teach them how to count, finance skills, how to change a light bulb, etc, etc. As someone who had the Welsh language forced down his throat, I can tell you it was counter-productive. I rebelled against being forced into something I had no interest in. ncfcr
  • Score: 0

4:23pm Thu 24 Jan 13

Mervyn James says...

Bi lingual education is actually an success story in Gwent, so not an educational loser, far from it,more welsh schools are in the pipeline, they are supported FOR the better education the child gets, as averse to the bog standard schools going downhill faster than an avalanche. A child with two languages has more kudos than a child with just one. If LEA's get their way you would see our kids force-fed Mandarin...
Bi lingual education is actually an success story in Gwent, so not an educational loser, far from it,more welsh schools are in the pipeline, they are supported FOR the better education the child gets, as averse to the bog standard schools going downhill faster than an avalanche. A child with two languages has more kudos than a child with just one. If LEA's get their way you would see our kids force-fed Mandarin... Mervyn James
  • Score: 0

7:07pm Thu 24 Jan 13

47alan47 says...

There is no point learning or speaking Welsh, why can't we just get over it. I would rather kids learn Mandarin they would have far more opportunities.
There is no point learning or speaking Welsh, why can't we just get over it. I would rather kids learn Mandarin they would have far more opportunities. 47alan47
  • Score: 0

9:30am Fri 25 Jan 13

Mervyn James says...

No point for YOU, that's fine, let's not forbid others access to learning. Who is forcing you ?
No point for YOU, that's fine, let's not forbid others access to learning. Who is forcing you ? Mervyn James
  • Score: 0

9:34am Fri 25 Jan 13

Owain Vaughan says...

Mervyn James wrote:
No point for YOU, that's fine, let's not forbid others access to learning. Who is forcing you ?
That is an illogical argument. Just because something bad does not affect someone personally does not mean that they should have no chance to rectify it for the good of others.
[quote][p][bold]Mervyn James[/bold] wrote: No point for YOU, that's fine, let's not forbid others access to learning. Who is forcing you ?[/p][/quote]That is an illogical argument. Just because something bad does not affect someone personally does not mean that they should have no chance to rectify it for the good of others. Owain Vaughan
  • Score: 0

10:25am Fri 25 Jan 13

Mervyn James says...

I repeat WHO is forcing you ? Just another diatribe against the welsh language...
I repeat WHO is forcing you ? Just another diatribe against the welsh language... Mervyn James
  • Score: 0

12:10pm Fri 25 Jan 13

scraptheWAG says...

i think they meant they are forced to pay for it i wonder if the welsh speaking gang had to pay for it directly themselves whether they would be so keen then
i think they meant they are forced to pay for it i wonder if the welsh speaking gang had to pay for it directly themselves whether they would be so keen then scraptheWAG
  • Score: 0

12:56pm Fri 25 Jan 13

brian819@btinternet.com says...

If a child is thought to get a better education at a 'Welsh school' then some people may get the impression that this is due only to the fact that Welsh is taught there which can't possibly be true.
This is like saying that one gets a better education at a Catholic school because only Catholics attend.
If, indeed, a better education is obtained at a Welsh school then a reason other than the fact that Welsh is taught there must be looked for.
Whatever anyone says to the contrary, Welsh is the second language of Wales and while I, even thought I can't speak Welsh, would not want Welsh, or Welsh culture, to be in any danger whatsoever of becoming extinct, I do draw the line at these costly bi-lingual road signs and official paperwork. I believe that the criterion which should be used is not how many Welsh people can speak Welsh but how many Welsh people can't speak English. Before anyone objects to my view, though not Welsh-speaking, I am as Welsh as the hills.
If a child is thought to get a better education at a 'Welsh school' then some people may get the impression that this is due only to the fact that Welsh is taught there which can't possibly be true. This is like saying that one gets a better education at a Catholic school because only Catholics attend. If, indeed, a better education is obtained at a Welsh school then a reason other than the fact that Welsh is taught there must be looked for. Whatever anyone says to the contrary, Welsh is the second language of Wales and while I, even thought I can't speak Welsh, would not want Welsh, or Welsh culture, to be in any danger whatsoever of becoming extinct, I do draw the line at these costly bi-lingual road signs and official paperwork. I believe that the criterion which should be used is not how many Welsh people can speak Welsh but how many Welsh people can't speak English. Before anyone objects to my view, though not Welsh-speaking, I am as Welsh as the hills. brian819@btinternet.com
  • Score: 0

6:54pm Fri 25 Jan 13

Mervyn James says...

The advantage is there has to be in a welsh medium school a more honed approach to learning,it is more 'concentrated via basics than the usual English only schools,it invokes a better 'discipline' approach to learning, you have to think it two languages.

well I speaka da english lingo fairly well myself lol I think welsh is 4th language actually in pecking order, albeit it does have more support. Religious schools, I'd ban all of them. That is indoctrination. Welsh is still a choice I believe at 14 they can opt out.
The advantage is there has to be in a welsh medium school a more honed approach to learning,it is more 'concentrated via basics than the usual English only schools,it invokes a better 'discipline' approach to learning, you have to think it two languages. well I speaka da english lingo fairly well myself lol I think welsh is 4th language actually in pecking order, albeit it does have more support. Religious schools, I'd ban all of them. That is indoctrination. Welsh is still a choice I believe at 14 they can opt out. Mervyn James
  • Score: 0

7:03pm Fri 25 Jan 13

MR DUDLEY says...

I am annoyed at the cost of being bilingual. Not so much the educatioal side, but the duplication of documents road signs etc. An energy company is charging Welsh customers extra because the are forced to provide a bilingual service. My simple thought is that only a small % of Engish speakers also know Welsh, yet my guess is that the majority of Welsh speakers understand and can speak/read English.
I am annoyed at the cost of being bilingual. Not so much the educatioal side, but the duplication of documents road signs etc. An energy company is charging Welsh customers extra because the are forced to provide a bilingual service. My simple thought is that only a small % of Engish speakers also know Welsh, yet my guess is that the majority of Welsh speakers understand and can speak/read English. MR DUDLEY
  • Score: 0

7:25pm Fri 25 Jan 13

scraptheWAG says...

it will be hard enough for school leavers to get jobs they would be better to learn german or chinese. are people actually going to move to west wales to get work when they leave school uni
it will be hard enough for school leavers to get jobs they would be better to learn german or chinese. are people actually going to move to west wales to get work when they leave school uni scraptheWAG
  • Score: 0

3:43pm Sat 26 Jan 13

P C Neilson says...

It seems to me that the gripe here is about money. Banks and almost all other companies offer online admin negating the need for paper at all. This is good for the environment, and also our pockets.

No computer? how about a phone number where a 'request' can be actioned on their computer system that only prints the necessary language, using the necessary amount of paper. You would only have to do this once.

Of course some insipid good would find a way to mess it up, or somehow make it complicated.

I really hope that Wales doesn't have any ambitions to succeed from England with the current pack of numpties we have to turn to for ideas.
It seems to me that the gripe here is about money. Banks and almost all other companies offer online admin negating the need for paper at all. This is good for the environment, and also our pockets. No computer? how about a phone number where a 'request' can be actioned on their computer system that only prints the necessary language, using the necessary amount of paper. You would only have to do this once. Of course some insipid good would find a way to mess it up, or somehow make it complicated. I really hope that Wales doesn't have any ambitions to succeed from England with the current pack of numpties we have to turn to for ideas. P C Neilson
  • Score: 0

3:48pm Sat 26 Jan 13

P C Neilson says...

P.S. I meant to say 'insipid goon' and remove banks, as I'm pretty sure they waste paper just as bad.
P.S. I meant to say 'insipid goon' and remove banks, as I'm pretty sure they waste paper just as bad. P C Neilson
  • Score: 0

2:30am Sun 27 Jan 13

jokeport says...

Whilst we are all debating about whether or not the welsh language should be tought in our WELSH schools, theirs another debate to be brought into this? My little brother who is in year 12 at school got sent home frome school the other day, as he told some of his 'multicutural pupils' to speak their own language in class. They took this the totally wrong way and decided to carry on. Little did he know whithin the next hour he would be sent to the headmaster, sent home for innopropriate behavior and RACISM!!

Its ok for them to burn our poppys, but we ask them to speak english, which MOST of them are perfectly able to do, we get classed as racists!!
Whilst we are all debating about whether or not the welsh language should be tought in our WELSH schools, theirs another debate to be brought into this? My little brother who is in year 12 at school got sent home frome school the other day, as he told some of his 'multicutural pupils' to speak their own language in class. They took this the totally wrong way and decided to carry on. Little did he know whithin the next hour he would be sent to the headmaster, sent home for innopropriate behavior and RACISM!! Its ok for them to burn our poppys, but we ask them to speak english, which MOST of them are perfectly able to do, we get classed as racists!! jokeport
  • Score: 0

9:10am Mon 28 Jan 13

Mervyn James says...

welsh speakers aren't racist, a few can claim they are targets reading here. Yes here is the inequality of it all, where schools and other areas can flout the speak English law as well as the learn welsh one with impunity, the whole thing is a joke, but as we read, easier to go at welsh, you face court action complaining about anyone else.
welsh speakers aren't racist, a few can claim they are targets reading here. Yes here is the inequality of it all, where schools and other areas can flout the speak English law as well as the learn welsh one with impunity, the whole thing is a joke, but as we read, easier to go at welsh, you face court action complaining about anyone else. Mervyn James
  • Score: 0

2:35pm Mon 28 Jan 13

blackandamber says...

If I may add my pennyworth here. I don't care what language people speak to each other, but one thing you are all missing is this the language of the United Kingdom is English. If you want your children to learn Welsh fine, send them to a Welsh medium school but don't force all schools in Wales to make the language compulsory.
Less than one in ten people in Newport
speak Welsh.Less than one in five in WALES speak Welsh. Just a thought for you tax payers out there the NHS spends £23 million pounds pa of your money on multi lingual forms and signs. Something to think about the next time your doctor says he can't afford the drugs you need.
If I may add my pennyworth here. I don't care what language people speak to each other, but one thing you are all missing is this the language of the United Kingdom is English. If you want your children to learn Welsh fine, send them to a Welsh medium school but don't force all schools in Wales to make the language compulsory. Less than one in ten people in Newport speak Welsh.Less than one in five in WALES speak Welsh. Just a thought for you tax payers out there the NHS spends £23 million pounds pa of your money on multi lingual forms and signs. Something to think about the next time your doctor says he can't afford the drugs you need. blackandamber
  • Score: 0

6:23pm Mon 28 Jan 13

Mervyn James says...

Well if 1 in 10 people speak welsh in Newport, that is still 14,000 people. How easily the anti-welsh language lobby is to dismiss the rights of so many. I think it a bit OTT to suggest the welsh language access is preventing people getting vital medication and treatment, there cannot be many areas left that the welsh language is not being blamed for now. I think it is just pointless to continue this any language lobby, it's law. A law respected and endorsed, by Westminster too, and finance supported. It doesn't come out of any other budget.
Well if 1 in 10 people speak welsh in Newport, that is still 14,000 people. How easily the anti-welsh language lobby is to dismiss the rights of so many. I think it a bit OTT to suggest the welsh language access is preventing people getting vital medication and treatment, there cannot be many areas left that the welsh language is not being blamed for now. I think it is just pointless to continue this any language lobby, it's law. A law respected and endorsed, by Westminster too, and finance supported. It doesn't come out of any other budget. Mervyn James
  • Score: 0

7:12pm Mon 28 Jan 13

Mervyn James says...

Currently the census states 562,000 welsh speakers last year – OK a drop from 21 per cent to 19 but still hardly a number to be ignored and whose rights don't count..
Currently the census states 562,000 welsh speakers last year – OK a drop from 21 per cent to 19 but still hardly a number to be ignored and whose rights don't count.. Mervyn James
  • Score: 0

11:53pm Mon 28 Jan 13

Dee-Gee says...

My experience has been that people taught via the medium of Welsh have a significant disadvantage when they move on to English-medium universities. I vividly remember one very bright lad struggling to follow Maths lectures because he didn't know the English word for common maths terms like "denominator".

Apparently (2nd hand info so apologies if incorrect) his school had some kind of authority to construct new Welsh words for concepts that didn't have an existing word, so the words he'd been taught for such things would be known and understood by only a couple of thousand people in the entire world. He did OK in the end, but I do wonder how far he could have gone without the artificially imposed language barrier.
My experience has been that people taught via the medium of Welsh have a significant disadvantage when they move on to English-medium universities. I vividly remember one very bright lad struggling to follow Maths lectures because he didn't know the English word for common maths terms like "denominator". Apparently (2nd hand info so apologies if incorrect) his school had some kind of authority to construct new Welsh words for concepts that didn't have an existing word, so the words he'd been taught for such things would be known and understood by only a couple of thousand people in the entire world. He did OK in the end, but I do wonder how far he could have gone without the artificially imposed language barrier. Dee-Gee
  • Score: 0

8:41am Tue 29 Jan 13

rightsideup says...

MR DUDLEY wrote:
I am annoyed at the cost of being bilingual. Not so much the educatioal side, but the duplication of documents road signs etc. An energy company is charging Welsh customers extra because the are forced to provide a bilingual service. My simple thought is that only a small % of Engish speakers also know Welsh, yet my guess is that the majority of Welsh speakers understand and can speak/read English.
Quite right IMO.All of the duplicated documents in Welsh I receive go straight in the recycling bin.I'd rather have that wasted money spent on more important things.So would,I suspect, the majority of people who live in S E Wales.Not politically correct though I supose!.
[quote][p][bold]MR DUDLEY[/bold] wrote: I am annoyed at the cost of being bilingual. Not so much the educatioal side, but the duplication of documents road signs etc. An energy company is charging Welsh customers extra because the are forced to provide a bilingual service. My simple thought is that only a small % of Engish speakers also know Welsh, yet my guess is that the majority of Welsh speakers understand and can speak/read English.[/p][/quote]Quite right IMO.All of the duplicated documents in Welsh I receive go straight in the recycling bin.I'd rather have that wasted money spent on more important things.So would,I suspect, the majority of people who live in S E Wales.Not politically correct though I supose!. rightsideup
  • Score: 0

11:42am Tue 29 Jan 13

welshmen says...

I believe that when in Wales do as, Welsh born should have the right to learn and speak the Welsh language, this is a big part of the Welsh Culture to try and keep it growing although there was a slight drop in the last 10 years, Schools to day are expected to teach any child from anywhere weather the child speaks English or not, and in a lot of cases the child only speaks the language of it's home country, JOKEPORT i agree....more of the parents need to stand up to these false accusations of Racism and remove there children from that School....
I believe that when in Wales do as, Welsh born should have the right to learn and speak the Welsh language, this is a big part of the Welsh Culture to try and keep it growing although there was a slight drop in the last 10 years, Schools to day are expected to teach any child from anywhere weather the child speaks English or not, and in a lot of cases the child only speaks the language of it's home country, JOKEPORT i agree....more of the parents need to stand up to these false accusations of Racism and remove there children from that School.... welshmen
  • Score: 0

2:46pm Tue 29 Jan 13

Independentvoter says...

I don't know anyone that speaks Welsh fluently. Never have.

Isn't that strange and sad since I live in Wales. I believe Welsh people should be given the choice and the opportunity to learn their language.

We could be in a triple-dip reccession soon.

If it's a choice about spending money on a language or using it for vital medical frontline services then I know which one I would choose.
I don't know anyone that speaks Welsh fluently. Never have. Isn't that strange and sad since I live in Wales. I believe Welsh people should be given the choice and the opportunity to learn their language. We could be in a triple-dip reccession soon. If it's a choice about spending money on a language or using it for vital medical frontline services then I know which one I would choose. Independentvoter
  • Score: 0

3:07pm Tue 29 Jan 13

blackandamber says...

A True Tale
A man walks into a Welsh valleys post office with a form to tax his car in Welsh. The person behind the counter says I can't do that it's in Welsh, but were in Wales says the man. I know that says the P O but I cant understand it , it has to be in English.
You couldn't make it up
A True Tale A man walks into a Welsh valleys post office with a form to tax his car in Welsh. The person behind the counter says I can't do that it's in Welsh, but were in Wales says the man. I know that says the P O but I cant understand it , it has to be in English. You couldn't make it up blackandamber
  • Score: 0

3:41pm Tue 29 Jan 13

Dee-Gee says...

That's shocking blackandamber. The man has a right to conduct business in Welsh - possibly a legal right, but I'm not 100% sure.

Tell your mate to contact his AM. If he doesn't get any sense out of them, the local Plaid Cymru office will probably appreciate the ammunition.
That's shocking blackandamber. The man has a right to conduct business in Welsh - possibly a legal right, but I'm not 100% sure. Tell your mate to contact his AM. If he doesn't get any sense out of them, the local Plaid Cymru office will probably appreciate the ammunition. Dee-Gee
  • Score: 0

4:35pm Tue 29 Jan 13

Llanmartinangel says...

blackandamber wrote:
A True Tale
A man walks into a Welsh valleys post office with a form to tax his car in Welsh. The person behind the counter says I can't do that it's in Welsh, but were in Wales says the man. I know that says the P O but I cant understand it , it has to be in English.
You couldn't make it up
That speaks volumes about just how popular the language isn't, even in the valleys. Is anyone suggesting that Post Office be made to have a Welsh speaker working there (and presumably sack one already there to make a spare seat)? Or employ a spare Welsh speaker just in case someone else walks in with the same wish? They are losing money as it is and being forced to close.
[quote][p][bold]blackandamber[/bold] wrote: A True Tale A man walks into a Welsh valleys post office with a form to tax his car in Welsh. The person behind the counter says I can't do that it's in Welsh, but were in Wales says the man. I know that says the P O but I cant understand it , it has to be in English. You couldn't make it up[/p][/quote]That speaks volumes about just how popular the language isn't, even in the valleys. Is anyone suggesting that Post Office be made to have a Welsh speaker working there (and presumably sack one already there to make a spare seat)? Or employ a spare Welsh speaker just in case someone else walks in with the same wish? They are losing money as it is and being forced to close. Llanmartinangel
  • Score: 0

6:32pm Wed 30 Jan 13

dragonlady1 says...

I can remember having French forced down my throat, at least they are trying to teach children the language of the Country they live in and no I am not a Welsh speaker myself.
I can remember having French forced down my throat, at least they are trying to teach children the language of the Country they live in and no I am not a Welsh speaker myself. dragonlady1
  • Score: 0

8:47pm Wed 30 Jan 13

Mwy Eira says...

Welsh language bashing has been going on for centuries and from this website it appears to be still going on. Welsh hasn't decreased over the centuries out of choice but speakers were forced to stop speaking the language.

Teaching any language in schools should be promoted as it improves the children's overall language skills and in Wales we have the perfect opportunity to promote language learning. By giving children a knowledge of their home country's language as well as English it promotes positive attitudes towards other languages and a greater understanding of how languages are structured in general.

The aim of Welsh medium education is for the children to be fully fluent in Welsh and English, not just Welsh. If a child's first language is Welsh it as important for them to socialise in English (just like those whose first language is English who attend welsh medium schools need to be around welsh speakers as much as possible).
Welsh language bashing has been going on for centuries and from this website it appears to be still going on. Welsh hasn't decreased over the centuries out of choice but speakers were forced to stop speaking the language. Teaching any language in schools should be promoted as it improves the children's overall language skills and in Wales we have the perfect opportunity to promote language learning. By giving children a knowledge of their home country's language as well as English it promotes positive attitudes towards other languages and a greater understanding of how languages are structured in general. The aim of Welsh medium education is for the children to be fully fluent in Welsh and English, not just Welsh. If a child's first language is Welsh it as important for them to socialise in English (just like those whose first language is English who attend welsh medium schools need to be around welsh speakers as much as possible). Mwy Eira
  • Score: 0

9:27am Thu 31 Jan 13

Mervyn James says...

Llanmartinangel wrote:
blackandamber wrote:
A True Tale
A man walks into a Welsh valleys post office with a form to tax his car in Welsh. The person behind the counter says I can't do that it's in Welsh, but were in Wales says the man. I know that says the P O but I cant understand it , it has to be in English.
You couldn't make it up
That speaks volumes about just how popular the language isn't, even in the valleys. Is anyone suggesting that Post Office be made to have a Welsh speaker working there (and presumably sack one already there to make a spare seat)? Or employ a spare Welsh speaker just in case someone else walks in with the same wish? They are losing money as it is and being forced to close.
Speaks volumes about their ignorance of the law. It doesn't have to be in English. Frankly most in PO are Asian and even english speakers cannot follow them. It isn't about what is popular it is about the right of access, the PO has to prove access for non-english speakers as does the NHS/Police et al.. It is a legal RIGHT, what part of legal do people not understand ? Today a deaf child's parents are suing a council for failing to provide an welsh language teacher for their girl, an deaf, welsh signing, and welsh lip-reading child after a school withdrew the one she had. There is a case of access being taken away. Clear violation of the law they had already accepted.
[quote][p][bold]Llanmartinangel[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]blackandamber[/bold] wrote: A True Tale A man walks into a Welsh valleys post office with a form to tax his car in Welsh. The person behind the counter says I can't do that it's in Welsh, but were in Wales says the man. I know that says the P O but I cant understand it , it has to be in English. You couldn't make it up[/p][/quote]That speaks volumes about just how popular the language isn't, even in the valleys. Is anyone suggesting that Post Office be made to have a Welsh speaker working there (and presumably sack one already there to make a spare seat)? Or employ a spare Welsh speaker just in case someone else walks in with the same wish? They are losing money as it is and being forced to close.[/p][/quote]Speaks volumes about their ignorance of the law. It doesn't have to be in English. Frankly most in PO are Asian and even english speakers cannot follow them. It isn't about what is popular it is about the right of access, the PO has to prove access for non-english speakers as does the NHS/Police et al.. It is a legal RIGHT, what part of legal do people not understand ? Today a deaf child's parents are suing a council for failing to provide an welsh language teacher for their girl, an deaf, welsh signing, and welsh lip-reading child after a school withdrew the one she had. There is a case of access being taken away. Clear violation of the law they had already accepted. Mervyn James
  • Score: 0

9:42am Thu 31 Jan 13

Owain Vaughan says...

dragonlady1 wrote:
I can remember having French forced down my throat, at least they are trying to teach children the language of the Country they live in and no I am not a Welsh speaker myself.
People speak languages, not countries. There is no such thing as "the language of the Country they live in". If someone wants to get on with other people then they need to speak the same language. If they cannot communicate with a particular group of people they can just choose to communicate with another with whom they have a common language. It is when they cannot communicate with *anyone* that we have a problem.
[quote][p][bold]dragonlady1[/bold] wrote: I can remember having French forced down my throat, at least they are trying to teach children the language of the Country they live in and no I am not a Welsh speaker myself.[/p][/quote]People speak languages, not countries. There is no such thing as "the language of the Country they live in". If someone wants to get on with other people then they need to speak the same language. If they cannot communicate with a particular group of people they can just choose to communicate with another with whom they have a common language. It is when they cannot communicate with *anyone* that we have a problem. Owain Vaughan
  • Score: 0

4:57pm Thu 31 Jan 13

blackandamber says...

I don't know about Welsh, but going by today's papers I think a crash course in Polish is going to be very beneficial
I don't know about Welsh, but going by today's papers I think a crash course in Polish is going to be very beneficial blackandamber
  • Score: 0

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