In a report published today (August 6, 2020) by the Welsh Language Commissioner, the Commissioner calls for 'significant intervention' to see the radical increase needed in the number of teachers able to teach through the medium of Welsh.
According to the Commissioner, the education sector has a key role to play if the Welsh Government is to reach one million speakers by 2050.
Welsh Government targets include increasing the proportion of children receiving Welsh-medium education to 40% by 2050 and increasing the number who can speak Welsh after attending English-medium / bilingual school to 50% by 2050. In order to achieve this, they have set a target to increase the number of teachers that can teach through the medium of Welsh or learn the language as a subject to 9,400 by 2050.
According to the Welsh Language Commissioner, Aled Roberts, “In order to be close to meeting the targets set by the Government in the education sector, we need a radical increase in the number of teachers in Wales able to teach through the medium of Welsh.”
But the report shows that there has been a fall in the number of newly qualified teachers who can speak Welsh or can work through the medium of Welsh in the last five years. There has been a decrease of 23% in newly qualified teachers able to speak Welsh and a fall of 27% in those able to work through the medium of Welsh.
The Commissioner added, “The number of students following Initial Teacher Education (ITE) courses is at its lowest since records began in 2010/11 and the total number of first year students training to teach through the medium of Welsh in 2018/19 is nearly half the number that trained in 2013/14.
“This decline is worrying for us, as is the fact that a significant number of teachers who are fluent or fairly fluent in Welsh do not teach through the medium of Welsh.
“The targets set for teachers in the Cymraeg 2050 are challenging, and to realize them, the trends of the last decade must be reversed.”
The Commissioner has shared a number of recommendations in the report and calls on the Welsh Government to lead on developing a long-term strategy to transform Initial Teacher Education courses in Wales so that they develop the Welsh language skills of all student teachers.
Notes to Editor