Postscript to “The cry of the children.”

Comments: 13

A significant detail occurred to me after I wrote the article on the plight of the children with no Welsh at home in Welsh Medium ‘Education,’ and will attempt to expand on it, under the context of the subheading question:

Are the Welsh parents most gullible parents on the planet?

The question only applies to parents in Wales who do not speak Welsh and are from the 80%+ segment of the total population in Wales. The only mitigating factor is in parts of Wales where the authorities (LEA’s) have already removed the English Medium Education in primary years, therefore no choice unless the parents can afford the independent school sector.

Most of these people have swallowed the Welsh language propaganda hook, line, and sinker, without knowing, understanding or questioning what it’s all about and for whose benefit.

Many of these parents willingly submerse (*) their children into the Welsh Medium Education or have them in the so-called English Medium schools with significant Welsh.

In both settings, most of the teaching time is lost on Welsh, then the quality of the teaching staff may be compromised as they mainly come from a small pool of the Welsh-speaking teachers. The end result is children underperforming through the toxic stress concept that I introduced and dealt with within the main article.

Now, let’s reverse the linguistic gospel and for the argument’s sake, say if the kids with no Welsh at home must be subject to compulsory Welsh learning, then the same principle should apply to the children who only speak Welsh at home and make them learn English throughout the foundation and the KS1 stage (3-7 years by age).

Reasonable?  I guess, most fairminded people would say yes, and amazingly so the Welsh Government ‘apparently’ thought the same just over a year ago when they proposed to include compulsory English lessons in the Welsh-medium nurseries.

As soon as the word got out into the public domain, the Welsh language fanatics were outraged, fuming, raving and demanding Kirsty Williams’ head on the platter.

English language poison must not be allowed in the Welsh-medium nurseries where the ‘more equal minority’ send their children to be educated and insist on racial and cultural purity.

Didn’t take long for Kirsty Williams to back off and even managed to apologise by grovelling for making such a dreadful mistake to the Welsh-speaking lobby. Surprisingly BBC CYMRU wales picked it up and published the sorry saga, back in February of last year:

Demands to remove English from WM nurseries came from UCAC (Teaching Union for Welsh-speaking ‘teachers’), Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg (The Welsh Language Society) and Plaid Cymru, all expressing ‘grave concerns’.

In the footnote, I’ll include the full article as written by my ‘favourite, impartial and always objective’ Welsh-speaking BBC Cymru’s education correspondent, Bethan Lewis. But, what has been missed out, and why so much anger from the Welsh language missionaries?

Before I deal with the key question above, Kirsty Williams after backtracking on the English language early years learning, was quickly back in the Social Media underlying her commitment to the Welsh language immersion that should read submersion (*):

This time, Kirsty is including and reassuring Mudiad Meithrin a ‘voluntary organisation to promote WM education in early years’ lavishly funded by the Welsh Government and given
£3,031,000 (2019/20 Financial Year)


‘Voluntary’ but costing the Welsh taxpayers £3 Million annually – Can only happen in Wales.

Now to the answer and it should not surprise anyone that the Welsh language missionaries want the best possible education for their children and through their home language.

They know fully well the key facts to good education as often articulated by the British Council, Save the Children Foundation, UNICEF and many other education experts throughout the world.

The British Council summed it up perfectly:

By using the learners’ home language, learners are more likely to engage in the learning process. The interactive learner-centred approach – recommended by all educationalists – thrives in an environment where learners are sufficiently proficient in the language of instruction. It allows learners to make suggestions, ask questions, answer questions and create and communicate new knowledge with enthusiasm. It gives learners confidence and helps to affirm their cultural identity. This, in turn, has a positive impact on the way learners see the relevance of school to their lives.

But when learners start school in a language that is still new to them, it leads to a teacher-centred approach and reinforces passiveness and silence in classrooms. This, in turn, suppresses young learners’ potential and liberty to express themselves freely. It dulls the enthusiasm of young minds, inhibits their creativity, and makes the learning experience unpleasant. All of which is bound to have a negative effect on learning outcomes.”

Then there is another dimension to all of this and one that is far more sinister. The Welsh language missionaries want the total and the absolute control of the Welsh nation through privilege and entitlement including, jobs for life for them and their children.

By insisting on compulsory Welsh-medium education for all, these people are destroying the children whose home language is English by not allowing them to flourish and develop their potential.

Welsh Government (Labour) is guilty of a heinous crime as they have consciously and deliberately created legislative conditions to enable the Welsh language extremists to dictate the format and route that Welsh education should follow – More than evident through Kirsty Willams’s surrender act.

As I’ve said it before, do not expect a reprieve from the Welsh Conservatives as they are fully supportive and committed to the Cymraeg 2050 cause – Devolution is not working for 80% of us, so where do we go from here?

Back to the gullible parents, who are supporting social engineering of Wales by sacrificing their children is not an answer. Start demanding the best education your child should get and in your home language.

Insist on the removal of all teachers deemed ‘Welsh speaker essential’ in the English Medium schools. Children need inspiring teachers and not the Welsh language fanatics.

Take the fight to your LEA (Local Education Authority), get involved in school governance and keep out those who are only involved through the agenda to support the Welsh language dominance.

Get organised, form an action group with other parents and if your LEA is not providing the education format that you want or desire don’t hesitate to take your children out of the school – Your children deserve a decent future.

Politicians are usually sensitive to public feelings and use them to articulate your case. If they refuse to help, vote them out and keep spreading the word.

Can’t believe what I have just written, suggesting a revolution in the so-called ‘democracy’ but when democracy is stolen or taken away from you then there is no other option IMO.

Now to ‘Submersion’ (*):

Bethan’s report:

“Last week Welsh teaching union Ucac said the proposal in the new Curriculum White Paper was “a serious concern”.

But now the government has said the wording was not an accurate reflection of its intentions.

It has acknowledged the “unintended consequences”.

Ministers have also pledged to ensure any new law will make clear that language immersion can continue.

Currently, English is introduced incrementally from the age of seven in Welsh-medium schools.

Under the new proposals set out in a consultation last week, English would be introduced to three-year-olds in “cylchoedd meithrin” or Welsh-medium playgroups.

The consultation document said it would be a “duty on all schools and funded nursery settings to teach English as a compulsory element of the new curriculum for Wales”.

In a statement, the Welsh Government said on reflection that statement “does not reflect our intention” and would have “unintended consequences” for Welsh-medium schools and nurseries who apply immersion as the teaching model.

“To be absolutely clear, our proposal is the new curriculum will still enable schools and settings, such as cylchoedd meithrin, to fully immerse children in the Welsh language,” it added.

Ucac has welcomed the clarification.

The union’s general secretary Rebecca Williams said: “The unanimity and ferocity of the response from parents and organisations proves the value of immersion as an approach that creates bilingual citizens. It also emphasises the need for constant vigilance, and the importance of scrutiny and protest within a democratic system.

“We look forward now to responding to the detail of the proposals which should see our curriculum moving forward to a new and pioneering era.”

‘Lack of faith for the future’

Siân Gwenllian AM, Plaid Cymru’s shadow minisiter for education and Welsh language said: “The fact that such a clause has been included in the first place raises serious questions about the credibility and integrity of this government’s education department and its education minister.

“This mess is a sign of a lack of basic understanding learning within government about the necessities of minority language teaching.

“It does not generate a lot of faith for the future, given the key part the department is expected to play is to plan the growth of Welsh-medium education as part of the government’s goal to create a million Welsh speakers by 2050.”

__________________________________________________________________________

My final note on UCAC statement above:

It also emphasises the need for constant vigilance and the importance of scrutiny and protest within a democratic system.”

The statement left me ‘gobsmacked’ and did think of a few and highly apt profanities in response to UCAC but refrained from using them.

Jacques Protic 28.04.2020

13 thoughts on “Postscript to “The cry of the children.”

  1. I teach in a Cardiff inner-city secondary school along with its four cluster primaries. The ever-increasing imposition of the Welsh language has seriously affected the education of pupils and the morale of staff, especially when there are over 60 different languages spoken with English often being a second or third language.

    There’s a lot of disquiet amongst staff but not much tangible opposition. We need to create platforms or organisations that can be assembled to create a more substantial and visible opposition to, what can be only be described as cultural fascism, to create change.

    Most people have realised calm discussion and logical discourse is beyond the Welsh Taliban as it’s like discussing the Enlightenment with religious fundamentalists, time consuming and pointless.

  2. What Ellen Bialystok failed to realise is that in Wales “parental choice” is a one-way street.
    Certainly in the populous South and South-East, the popularity of Welsh Medium schooling is evident but, in Wales, WM schools occupy the same position that CofE and independent schools do in England; that is they are patronised by the educated, relatively affluent and educated middle classes.

    In Cardiff, the diaspora from the Welsh Speaking heartlands has given rise to a Welsh-speaking population demanding WM schooling for their children. Many of the parents are in Welsh essential jobs in Government, Education and the media. Their children do well…and would do well in any school whatever the language medium. The tragedy is that the public is then misled into believing that a successful WM school is a success BECAUSE it is WM.

    WM schools are not “The real world of schools” they have lower free school meals percentages, far fewer ethnic minority pupils and virtually no newly arrived ethnic minority pupils, fewer SEN pupils, fewer “looked after children”, no traveller children or refugee children. Unsurprisingly they have more girls than boys where there is a choice of language medium in schools for the simple reason that girls are more adept at language and boys drop out disproportionately after failing at primary level in Welsh-medium schools.

    And after all that; WM schools underperform similar (EFSM%) English medium schools on average.

  3. I have never commented here before although I am in broad agreement with many (but not all) of Jacques’ views. Jacques and I have in fact met on a couple of occasions.
    It’s particularly good to see the well informed views of Mrs Williams and one comment struck me; “One size does not fit all”.:

    This is the closing paragraph of a letter I had from Ellen Bialystok many years ago I had described to her the Immersion/Submersion strategy for Welsh medium schools in Gwynedd:-

    “Education policy is complex, and the development of individual children is impossible to legislate. My advice to parents is always to find the environment that works best for your child, because there is no “one size fits all” solution to nurturing a happy, successful, and confident child.”

    Sincerely,
    Ellen Bialystok


    Ellen Bialystok, Ph.D., FRSC
    Distinguished Research Professor
    Department of Psychology
    York University
    Toronto, Ontario, M3J 1P3
    Canada

    And that was the leading proponent of immersion schooling.

    • Good to hear from you J, and if we all agreed on everything the world would be a dreadful place! On the Canadian bilingualism, at least the unwilling/submersed learners will get a reasonable command of another MFL, which is not the case in Wales.

  4. Thank you, Mrs Williams, for your brilliant contribution. Just wish more teachers and parents in Wales will wake up and make their voices heard. Welsh children deserve and must have the best education in either English or Welsh medium of teaching and based on parental choice.

      • This is not the case. If you read current Welsh Government education documents there has been a change of direction away from one based on ‘demand’ to one based on ‘policy’. It is written in black and white.

        If you look at school applications data the ‘demand’ argument doesn’t hold true for WM secondary schools. The most oversubscribed schools in my city are all EM schools. There are more WM schools being built now because it is WG policy. The target of 1 million Welsh speakers by 2050 is driving this. Choice goes both ways whether you choose to identify as Cymraeg or Welsh.

      • Genuinely shocked Tarian, not a single word or a sentence in your post that contains abuse. I must have more than a hundred of your abusive rants in the profanities folder. There is absolutely no point in me answering your latest wisdom.

        • Because it is the truth, parents throughout Cymru WANT their children to be Cymraeg, not “welsh”.

          “Gwlad heb iaith, gwlad heb galon.”

          • Not so Tarian; take a look at the schools in Anglesey and Gwynedd; What’s the largest primary school in Anglesey? Not the amalgamated school in Llangefni; that’s the second largest.

            The largest primary school is Caergeiliog school which is nominally a dual-stream school but in fact, has hardly any Welsh stream pupils.

            Which is the largest secondary school in Gwynedd? Ysgol Friars, the only English medium school, where just 2% of pupils speak Welsh at home and pupils travel from Holyhead, Amlwch, Benllech and as far away as Criccieth to attend.

            If there was a free choice of language medium in the Fro Cymraeg the WM schools would be closing down.

  5. A balanced approach is needed to ensure all children in Wales have the right education for their needs, backgrounds and circumstances. One size does not fit all.

    If equal treatment of both English and Welsh language in schools is now WG policy then equal visibility, promotion and access need to be ensured. There seems to have been an unequal promotion of the Welsh language in educational establishments, diverse communities and throughout the wider society of Wales.

    A disproportionate amount of time and money has been spent in the public sector on a language that is not spoken by the majority of the Welsh public. The same language that is now promoted and driven by policy and no longer demand-driven.

    Support those who wish to follow the Welsh language route but do not impose it on others or artificially create a demand for it through compulsion and an absence of free choice.
    Support those who, after accessing balanced available information on WME for EM children, choose to educate their children through the medium of Welsh.

    For those with no Welsh at home, there needs to be more transparency and honesty about the commitment needed from parents and of the challenges faced at secondary school. A well resourced, well funded, newly built WM school will not compensate for a lack of Welsh language provision and support at home for many during the more challenging secondary school years.

    Unfortunately, many EM parents, who initially get swept along with their WM peers towards the well funded WM primary Ed route, end up floundering in the depths when their children are at secondary school if not before. Goodwill towards and respect for a language is all very well but this does not compensate for an inability to speak it and therefore adequately support a child’s education at home.

    A little more honesty is needed in Wales about the realities of choosing to educate your child in a language that is not spoken at home and is not the majority language of the country in which you live.

    Welsh-medium education for all is not the answer when looking to solve the problem of Wales’s comparatively poor exam results. It will not help to elevate attainment. It will not end barriers to learning. It will not improve access for all to secure, meaningful employment.

    Do not erase the rich and diverse history of many Welsh communities where the majority language spoken is not Welsh and hasn’t been since the post-Industrial Age. To do so is to deny many Welsh people their identity and their history. It must not be erased to suit the new narrow vision of Welsh identity. This is the route to discrimination.

    Dis-enabling the majority of the population if they choose not to speak or learn Welsh (or educate their children through the medium of Welsh) is not good government policy. Making access to good quality EM education, parity in the jobs market and equality of opportunity uncertain for the majority of the Welsh population is nothing short of discrimination.

    Alienating a large proportion of the population based on language choice is not good governance. Creating artificial barriers to ensure that those who have the ‘right’ language have disproportionate rights of access to employment opportunities in Wales is bad governance. It is discrimination.

    Parity, I’m not seeing it being administered correctly or fairly.

    • There is one very big flaw in your argument, and that is no-one is seeking to deny any Welsh people their identity, it’s a highly inflammatory claim for which there is no substance.

      As for discrimination, Welsh speakers are routinely discriminated against when they try to access local authority services in Welsh due to the lack of Welsh speaking staff. But of course, that doesn’t suit your narrative, and anyway, all Welsh speakers speak English, don’t they?

      You moan and complain about English speakers being discriminated against, and you present falsehoods, such as your comment about Welsh medium schools being opened due to Welsh Government policy rather than demand, but you don’t mention the fact that WG policy is still determined by demand, which led to provision being driven by policy – I don’t see any of those schools having to struggle to find students! Then you present all sorts of bogus arguments about kids struggling, especially in secondary school, when it comes to their parents not speaking Welsh – but the fact remains that most self-respecting children over the age of 13 would eat worms rather than ask their parents for help – unless it’s monetary! And besides, they’ll do what children of all generations have done – asked their peers – it is after all how most learning is achieved, as most teachers are mediocre at best, which is why they have discipline problems. A competent, engaged teacher who loves their job, and knows how to engage kids will never have significant discipline problems – sadly there are very few such. Such teachers can be inspiring, no matter what they teach, even if they teach the Welsh language or through it

      Oh, and your calls for parity are bogus. The ultimate aim of the Welsh education system is of course parity at the end of the day, but in order to truly achieve that parity the Welsh language needs a huge boost. Any other way means that parity won’t be achieved and English will still be predominant, even within Wales. If you truly believed in achieving parity then I think you’d acknowledge the need for Welsh to be predominant in Wales’ education system. But of course you don’t want Welsh to have parity, you want it completely extirped, so why not be honest about that?

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