In most developed countries, success in life is generally based on the quality of education one gets as a child, but in Wales, where the standard of education is beyond miserable, most children would do a lot better if they got expelled!
To put it all in perspective and how we got to this sorry state, we need to go back to the beginning of Welsh devolution when the Welsh Education became the sole responsibility of the Welsh Assembly Government.
The newly formed Welsh Labour Government didn’t take long to start dismantling the long established parity with the education system in England under the guise of creating an education system with a unique ‘Welsh Distinction’ that all successive education ministers have followed blindly to this very day.
This unique ‘Welsh Distinction’ soon became synonymous with the Welsh language imposition on a scale that went far beyond anything that existed before in Welsh education. In recent years, primary school children in English-Medium education lose between 30 – 60% of the available teaching time on learning the Welsh language! (Token Welsh was taught for years before the devolution to largely disinterested children and generally confined to circa 5% of the available teaching time with no apparent damage to kids or standards of their education – The only exception was Gwynedd which included Anglesey at the time and few schools in the Welsh speaking areas of West Wales).
The Welsh speaking nationalists took control of the Welsh Labour Party that has dominated Welsh politics ever since, and they have used the devolution as a stepping stone to promote and impose the Welsh language in education and public employment by any means irrespective of whether the measures used were legal or not.
That was beginning of the end for the Welsh education as we knew it and unquestionably the sole reason for the ongoing and near terminal decline of the Welsh education system.
The scheming nationalists must have known that any parity with the English education had to end and quickly as it wouldn’t have taken long to establish that the new Welsh language provisions were damaging children’s education through comparative tests that still existed at the time.
The league tables in secondary schools quickly disappeared followed by banishment of the SATs tests for 11-year-olds without any due regard to the wider implications of having no feedback of children’s progress till the GCSE stage which comes much later on in childrens’ educational journey.
The ‘Welsh Way’ had to prevail irrespective of the consequences on the quality of Welsh education or the damaging impact on Welsh children’s future.
Other measures followed, moving Welsh education even further from the English approach when the Welsh Government’s ‘flagship policy’ the Welsh Baccalaureate came into being back in 2007.
The Welsh Bacc was aimed at giving teenagers a broader post-16 education than the more specialist A-level subjects and was promoted as “a significant innovation which will broaden students’ learning, bring coherence to them as well as being distinctive, modern and ‘Proudly Welsh’, what a surprise!
Does ‘the proudly Welsh’ system work? The answer depends on who you talk to but it appears the overall verdict is that the Welsh Bacc doesn’t work and it has little currency or value outside of Wales which should worry many parents as Wales remains to be the basket case of the UK with very few tangible employment opportunities at home.
The ‘Welsh Way’ onslaught didn’t end there and the real and lasting damage came through the changes imposed in early years’ education – The Foundation Phase for the three to seven-year-olds in Wales.
The Welsh Way ‘education model’ was borrowed from Scandinavian countries where the children learn through play and where teachers impart a love of education during their time in schools that would stay with them for life – In other words by giving children a new way of developing their thinking was seen as the best foundation that they can possibly have as they grow older.
This model works well in Scandinavia and especially in Finland where Finnish schools provide a relaxed teaching environment: They have no uniforms, no entrance exams, no fees, no league table and especially No Estyn Inspections!
No child in Finland starts school until they are 7 years’ old and dividing kids into sets based on ability is illegal. Children address their teachers by first names and only get little home work – And yet, since 2000 Finland has topped most international education league tables including PISA, where Wales has abysmally failed:
So, why then doesn’t this system work in Wales? In Finland, they are keen on the child learning through the language that they use at home; Swedish or Finnish or Sami in the North. There isn’t minority language imposition and “they don’t care what language the kids speak in the playground and most certainly they do not prioritise or impose minority language speaking teachers in their schools.”
The Welsh Language issue became an invisible elephant that is found in every Welsh state school but never seen or debated by anyone and whilst volumes of analysis were produced in the recent years on trying to figure out what’s wrong with our education system – No one in the Welsh media including the BBC Cymru (Wales), ITV and the provincial press (Western Mail and the Daily Post) has ever mentioned the Invisible Elephant as being the root cause behind the unprecedented failure that is destroying our children, our society and the Welsh future!
If we are going to learn from Finland and other countries that pride themselves on equitable education, we need to adapt this philosophy in our society and our governmental structures to have education that is more concerned with the collective good and making sure that every pupil does well instead of focusing on Orwellian Social Engineering for the privileges of the few.
Lies and deceit on the part of those governing us including those overseeing the Welsh education (Estyn) must end. Sadly, both are controlled by the Welsh speaking zealots with no vision of any kind beyond their long expired language and culture that they want to revive and at any cost, so it is unlikely that honesty will prevail any time soon!
Instead of creating a true enlightenment in Welsh foundation years, children are often taught through a language of little or no relevance anywhere including most of Wales.
Disproportionate teaching time is lost on teaching Welsh and kids go into secondary education significantly illiterate in English language together with little numeracy and this process continues relentlessly throughout the Welsh compulsory education period.
Where do we go from here? A question that is truly difficult to answer as the Cymrufication of Wales process seems unstoppable for now.
The Welsh speaking minority has the firm control of the Welsh Media who relish their role as the gatekeeper and protector of the new Social Order in Wales and use immense prejudice to censor and conceal the damaging aspects of Welsh language imposition – This practice is unlikely to change until Wales implodes which will happen and sooner rather than later but at a huge price of lost opportunities for generations our children.
UK national press has a substantial Welsh readership and they certainly can do the ‘right thing’ for the oppressed Welsh majority by exposing the Orwellian order we have to live with in Wales (They have done it few times in the recent past especially on Welsh NHS disasters) – We all know that Wales is of little relevance to the rest of UK but our children are suffering and NEED HELP – will they do it?
We have Assembly elections in few weeks’ time and the Welsh electorate is largely ignorant about what’s happening around them. For those who may read this, think long and hard before you choose to vote for any Welsh speaking politician especially those from Welsh Labour, Welsh Conservatives and the Welsh Lib-Dems (Most of them have similar mind set and values to those held by Carwyn Jones and his cronies)!
In regard to the non-Welsh speakers currently in the Assembly, most of these people never had any guts or the courage to question the Welsh language policies imposed from the above – Do we still want them?
Finally, must say thank you to Christopher Gage of Spectator whose article titled “How Wales was betrayed by its (Labour) government” inspired me to write this article and from where I borrowed the expression ‘the best thing Welsh education can do for any child is to expel them from a Welsh school’.
There are many more issues not dealt with in this article and will follow this with another essay to explain what Carwyn Jones means by the education policy based on a premise ‘A living language: a language for living’, then there is a need to examine in more depth some uncomfortable truths behind the appointment of Professor Graham Donaldson to resolve the Welsh education crisis.
I will not forget to expand upon the implications behind the ignored advice given to Welsh Government by the OECD, the funding gap when compared to England, then the poverty link and the real truth and extent of damage on English Language 1 children in Welsh Medium Education.
If anyone has missed reading Carwyn Jones’ letter, he sent to me last October that was first disclosed in the Glasnost article titled “Orwellian Wales”, it can be read HERE.
Some of Carwyn’s comments give an exceptional insight into his thinking and his ‘Welsh Language Tyranny’ created and unleashed upon the Welsh majority by his Government and the Welsh Language Taliban under the ‘respectable guise’ of DfES, Welsh Language Unit, Estyn and the Welsh Language Commissioner!
Jacques Protic 23.03.2016