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

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?

Welsh Education Minister responds to my letter = WHITEWASH:

Comments: 3

Freudian slip, or a dragon in distress?

True to their word Kirsty Williams’ team ‘responded’ to my letter dated 18.10.19.

On a quick reading, I found the response offensive and patronising as it doesn’t answer a single specific point raised on the underperformance of Welsh Medium Education. 

It merely restates their braindead policies and repeats their low-grade statistics which have nothing to do with education.  They have to do this because they have no answers and they know that we can’t do anything about it (Sheer and unadulterated arrogance – IMO).

What is astonishing that they have legislated ‘tonnes’ of the Welsh language compulsion measures with no prior impact assessment, which is nothing short of criminal neglect of the due process:

“The Welsh Government is in the process of conducting a comprehensive analysis of school performance looking at factors such as the medium of education of the school and other characteristics including eligibility for free school meals and speaking Welsh at home. This work has been internally and externally peer-reviewed, and we are currently taking forward work suggested following the peer review.”

This suggests that they are now looking for a way to obfuscate the inconvenient outcome from their review.

Welsh Government does not work for people of Wales – They work for their self-interests and not for us – they are not public servants but paid apparatchiks of the Y Fro Gymraeg regime.  

They are both propagandists and gatekeepers – trained to play everything hostile with a dead bat.  Some of these people have probably never done any kind of work other than taking taxpayers’ money to promote and facilitate the Welsh language.   

Under normal circumstances, the media should be on-board but they’re no better than apparatchiks as well.  As things stand there is a near-total cabal inside the political class and the 4th estate in favour of increasing the Welsh Language – the cabal is supported by cross-party consensus.  There is no meaningful dissent and no meaningful consultation.

When it comes to a war of attrition, the apparatchiks have all the advantages and they get well paid for doing it – The only solution is to get organised before May 2021 Assembly elections and support any party that has ABOLISH THE WELSH ASSEMBLY in its manifesto!

The Welsh Government’s letter in its naked form:

08.11.2019

Eich cyf/Your ref  Ein cyf/Our ref TO/KW/07373/19

Dear Mr Protic

Thank you for your correspondence dated 18 and 22 October to the Minister for Education. I have been asked to respond on her behalf. The Welsh Government is firmly committed to the belief that we want all our school learners to have the opportunity to be bilingual.  In terms of the money spent on the Welsh language, figures are openly available on the government’s website at https://gov.wales/sites/default/files/publications/2018-12/finalbudget-2019-2020-megs.ods (This link doesn’t work for me but in the current financial year 2019/20 the Welsh Government has allocated £24 Million to ‘promote’ Welsh Medium Education that is based on ‘legalised compulsion’: https://www.glasnost.org.uk/2019/12/two-official-languages-in-wales-but-are-they-equal/ )

  – the BEL tab at the bottom of the document shows a breakdown of expenditure by theme.  

 As you mention in your correspondence, we consider the census of the population to be the key source of information about the number of Welsh speakers in Wales. However, the Office for National Statistics’ Annual Population Survey (APS) provides quarterly estimates of the number of Welsh speakers in the period between censuses. Attachment V in your correspondence shows how the estimates vary between the APS and 2001 and 2011 Census, something that the Chief Statistician has addressed in a blog, which was subsequently explored in more detail in the statistical bulletin, Welsh language data from the Annual Population Survey: 2001 to 2018.

 Cymraeg 2050 clearly states that the trajectory towards a million Welsh speakers was based on 2011 Census data and progress towards this target will be monitored using future census data. Nevertheless, the APS provides us with more regular estimates of the number of Welsh speakers, and the APS data is published to be able to monitor trends between censuses. The question on the Welsh language is included for cross-analysis purposes by the Office for National Statistics, and not specifically to provide a count of the number of people who can speak Welsh.

As a Government we are not aware of official publications or estimates that indicate that there are around 100,000 Welsh speakers.  

It should also be added that there is a strong democratic mandate for promoting the Welsh language and Welsh medium education. The Welsh Government’s policy in this area has been through several layers of public scrutiny and debate which suggest that the consensus of public opinion is supportive of this approach. The vision of reaching a million Welsh speakers by 2050, of which the education system plays a crucial role, was a party manifesto commitment which, following National Assembly elections in 2016, was included in the Welsh Government’s Programme for Government. The policy itself was subsequently subject to thorough scrutiny in Assembly Committees, before being voted upon by democratically elected Assembly Members in Cardiff Bay. 

 The Welsh Government is in the process of conducting a comprehensive analysis of school performance looking at factors such as the medium of education of the school and other characteristics including eligibility for free school meals and speaking Welsh at home. This work has been internally and externally peer reviewed, and we are currently taking forward work suggested following the peer review. 

Yours sincerely
Catrin Morris Senior Welsh in Education Planning Officer