The Cry of the Children: The untold plight of school children in Wales

Comments: 4

‘The Ministry of Truth’ BBC CYMRU (wales), never misses an opportunity to promote the Y Fro Gymraeg narrative and are shamelessly exploiting Corona Virus school closures to support a policy that is doing untold harm to most of our children.

BBC Wales through the army of its Welsh-speaking ‘journalists’ are fretting that the school closures will undermine the children’s progress in learning Welsh:

On this occasion, they used Gwenfair Griffith (Twitter: @gwenfair_ don’t forget to use the underscore after her name), who tells us this:

“On top of anxiety about coronavirus and general concern about education, some parents are worried their children’s Welsh language skills will suffer.”

Both Gwenfair and BBC Wales promoted this article via the Social Media but when I challenged them with an alternative point of view, this was quickly deleted!

30 hours of stress, confusion, bewilderment and anxiety that is never mentioned in Wales but the pain and suffering is real, present, goes on for a long time and may have a life-changing impact in the latter life.

Interesting use of the wording ‘some parents’ that is often applied by journalists with low integrity to imply many, when more often than not, it is nothing other than a crude invention to promote their agenda. For the full article, follow the link: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-52209165?at_campaign=64&at_custom4=34085F20-8217-11EA-AED4-05B9FCA12A29&at_medium=custom7&at_custom3=%40BBCWalesNews&at_custom2=twitter&at_custom1=%5Bpost+type%5D

Parents need to realise that the Welsh Medium Education (WME) is not a panacea that the Welsh language missionaries promise you.

WME is substantially inferior to the English Medium Education (EME) as detailed in my letter to Kirsty Williams (I).

The promises of job opportunities, cognitive advantages of ‘bilingualism’ are just empty promises made to protect the privileges of the ‘more equal’ minority, that became the hallmark of the post-devolution Wales.

Most children from homes with no Welsh language ‘skill’, never achieve the Welsh language fluency that the Welsh L1 pupils get (II).

Eventually, kids from English L1 homes do achieve some Welsh fluency but at a considerable cost as prioritisation of Welsh has dumbed down their STEM (Science -Technology-Engineering and Maths), abilities, and most will never catch up.

On the STEM subjects, it is worth pointing out that for some years now, most of the new teachers in Wales, originate from the Welsh-medium teacher training courses and the very teachers that are prioritised or fast-tracked by the Welsh Government.

Only circa 25% of them have STEM degrees. The vast majority mainly have the Welsh language qualifications – Not a good omen for the teaching standards in Wales, is it?

As far as embracing Welsh, again the evidence shows that most English L1 pupils have no intention of using Welsh during adolescence or later on in life or as a social language at any stage – In other words ‘not cool’ and quickly forgotten/abandoned (III).

The Welsh Government has been disingenuous for years: It has relentlessly pushed the narrative ‘Welsh language is a living language, a language for living,’ but is it when you examine the concept in the cold light of day?

Parents need to understand that Welsh as an everyday/social language is virtually nonexistent amongst the children of Wales. A well document fact and this simple fact will not change no matter what draconian measures the Welsh Government will think of next to impose on our children.

Now back to the emotional well being of toddlers (Early Years Foundation Stage – Ages 3-5) in WM settings then the same in WM infant classes (5-7 years by age or KS1 stage) and eventually into WM primary education (KS2 – Ages 8-11).

Most of these kids will hear no English during the school lessons until the KS2 stage when English is introduced.  To add insult to injury, children are often threatened with punishment should they use English during the playtime (IV) – Acceptable?

Caring parents (Not sure if I can include parents with no Welsh, who chose WM education for their children in this category). Either way, most kids are generally well-loved and cared for before the school starts, when they experience some stress by being separated from their parents.

This is generally known as positive stress which is a normal part of learning and development. Children do adapt to cope with frustration, handle obstacles and learn how to confront challenges. All of this will raise a certain amount of stress, but this level of stress is usually safe and manageable, especially if a child has the support of a healthy home environment.

In contrast to tolerable or positive stress, toxic stress refers to persistent, unhealthy amounts of stress caused by chronically stressful conditions without the protective benefits of healthy caregiving.

These stresses can eventually cause permanent damage, and I would argue that exposing children for hours, days, weeks and years to a foreign environment where the teachers shun their home language is a TOXIC STRESS (V).

There are other forms of toxic stress that sadly, many children experience and especially those who live in households where alcoholism, drugs and partner abuse is a norm rather than the exception.

These kids mainly live in the deprived areas of Wales, and most fall into the FSM (Free School Meals) category. At this point, it’s worth remembering that Wales has the highest child poverty as well as having the worst education system when compared to the other UK’s home nations.

(The demise of Welsh education standards is strictly down to the Welsh language prioritisation – The FACT that Welsh parents must not ignore).  

The school should provide some reprieve from their toxic home environment, but the Welsh state burdens children with the Welsh Medium Education if they happen to live within a catchment area where there are no English Medium schools – In short, the double whammy syndrome that will expand as the Cymraeg 2050 initiative (VI) is intended to remove the English Medium Education throughout Wales (KS1/KS2 years).

The Welsh Government (Labour), including the opposition (Conservatives and Plaid Cymru), IMO are all guilty of a heinous crime by abandoning the duty of care for vulnerable children in the state education. Making them into Welsh ‘speakers’ seems to be by far higher priority than giving them the tools that just might provide them with a chance of a meaningful future?

All of this suffering and misery, for the sake of a warped ideology that is never going to work, IMO can never be justified.

Welsh language had its day and seeing the harm being done, especially to children; I would argue that any language that needs state intervention and compulsion to keep it alive is not worth saving.

Back to the parents, especially those who initially chose the Welsh Medium Education for their kids, there are many with decent souls who discovered the hard way that they have made a huge mistake and do intervene by taking the children out of WME and finding an English Medium school for them.

Most of them do so to protect their little ones who displayed immense unhappiness, depression and reluctance to go to school often expressed through tears. This is far from being an isolated case and is happening throughout Wales.

Those parents who I have spoken with, tell me that the transformation was simply magic from the minute their children entered an English medium school – No more tears, children happy to go to school and at last being able to learn in a language that they understand.

Welsh political establishment, including the Welsh ‘media’ know this but go out of their way to hide it and continue to lie and mislead other parents.

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words – In the image Heledd Fychan, a Pontypridd Cllr representing Plaid Cymru, is appealing to Andrew Morgan (Labour Cllr) and Rhonda Cynon Taf Council leader to stop the parents taking their children out of WM schools – Welsh ‘democracy’ at its best:

Heledd’s attitude is mirrored right across the Welsh political establishment with the exception of Neil Hamilton and Gareth Bennett who both support parental choice to EM or WM Education (No idea where the Brexit Party stands on this, will update when I find out)

Darren Millar, a Conservative AM for Clwyd West is slating the Welsh Government for ‘allowing’ closures of Welsh Medium schools. No mention of a simple fact that most Welsh Medium schools are not economically viable due to the lack of demand but kept open regardless.  

Finally, we must not ignore another significant element that the Welsh state is guilty of undermining:

Welsh Government wants you either to join in, into your child’s Welsh learning ‘journey’, or if that is not possible, practical or reasonable, they want you to entrust the Welsh-speaking teachers to replace you in the ‘educational development’ of your child.

Should you chose either of the two options, your child will be influenced to celebrate Welsh nationalism, subtly taught to hate the English through the emphasis on Welsh ‘victimhood’. There will be no room for Britishness, just the brutal nationalist version of history (VII).

The Welsh ‘educators’ (Education Minister/Estyn/LEA’s/Welsh-speaking teachers), all of them are keen to suppress that the critical aspect of your child’s success in education is the level of your involvement and assistance you can give your child in the crucial early years learning stage and in a language, you speak at home.

The latest on this comes from Plymouth University but many other reputable sources have the same message: https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/news/parental-involvement-plays-key-role-in-childrens-academic-attainment-research-shows

Would love to hear from any Welsh politician in the Assembly or the Westminster, to explain how on earth they can keep silent on one of the evilest deeds that any Government can impose on people and children they govern?

I would like to conclude this essay with a poem poignantly defining children’s silent cries and suffering from a deferent era but now and almost hard to believe that children’s silent suffering is happening in XXI C Wales.

Back to 1842, when Elizabeth (Barrett-Browning) wrote a poem to expose the immense suffering of children who were used as cheap manual labour in coal mines, quarries and other labour-intensive industries that existed during the Victorian era.

Elizabeth summed up their mental and physical pain using young lambs bleating to signify the suffering and a cry for help:

“Do ye hear the children weeping, O my brothers,

      Ere the sorrow comes with years ?

They are leaning their young heads against their mothers, —

      And that cannot stop their tears.

The young lambs are bleating in the meadows ;

   The young birds are chirping in the nest ;

The young fawns are playing with the shadows ;

   The young flowers are blowing toward the west—

But the young, young children, O my brothers,

      They are weeping bitterly !

They are weeping in the playtime of the others,

      In the country of the free.

 Do you question the young children in the sorrow,

      Why their tears are falling so?

The old man may weep for his to-morrow

      Which is lost in Long Ago —

The old tree is leafless in the forest —

   The old year is ending in the frost —

The old wound, if stricken, is the sorest —

   The old hope is hardest to be lost :

But the young, young children, O my brothers,

      Do you ask them why they stand

Weeping sore before the bosoms of their mothers,

      In our happy Fatherland”? (Land of our fathers, in the context of Wales).

The poem in full: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/43725/the-cry-of-the-children

On a personal note and as a parent I find it hard to comprehend the Welsh political agenda and its direction. We must not keep silent and helplessly watch the destruction of our children and their future.

Jacques Protic 25.04.2020

References:

(I) – https://www.glasnost.org.uk/2019/12/open-letter-to-the-minister-for-welsh-education/

(II) – Data from the Welsh Government’s education stats: Reference: FOI – ATISN 12553 (2018)

For years the Welsh Government and the Welsh media have publicised and often repeated mantra “All pupils who leave WM schools after KS2 stage are equally fluent in Welsh”. In factual terms a blatant lie, and as the graph shows, English L1 kids are nowhere near the Welsh language proficiency that the children from Welsh L1 homes get (% given refer to the EFSM bands).

(III) – Bangor University, self-explanatory: https://www.academia.edu/21511550/Minority_language_abandonment_in_Welsh-medium_educated_L2_male_adolescents_classroom_not_chatroom?email_work_card=view-paper

(IV) –

Report of a Survey on the Social Use of Welsh by Gwynedd’s Primary Sector Children by Dylan Bryn Roberts and Dr Enlli Thomas (Bangor University)

For ‘penalised’ read punishment and this is from the so-called Welsh-speaking heartland

(V) – Essential Reading:

(VI) – https://www.glasnost.org.uk/2020/04/cymraeg-2050-policy-panacea-or-a-disaster-for-welsh-education-and-children-of-wales/

(VII) – A Welsh ‘history’ template being exported from Gwynedd LEA to the rest of Wales:

Nothing left to chance, children brainwashed to only support Welsh teams – Bizarre IMO.

Appendix A: Welsh Assembly Members ‘scrutinising’ the Minister for Education (Nov 2019) – Most AM’s absent – Left me speechless, any suggestions for the caption?

4 thoughts on “The Cry of the Children: The untold plight of school children in Wales

  1. On a personal note and as a parent I find it hard to comprehend the Welsh political agenda and its direction. We must not keep silent and helplessly watch the destruction of our children and their future.

  2. STEM (Science -Technology-English and Maths)
    It is Engineering not English. I think you knew that. Why change it?

Leave a Reply to TheEditor Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *