Rt. Hon Carwyn Jones, First Minister of Wales and Huw Lewis, Minister for Education and Skills
In July 2012, the former Minister for Education and Skills established an independent Review Group, chaired by Professor Sioned Davies, to provide advice on improving Welsh second language provision at Key Stages 3 and 4. The main objective of the Group was to consider what changes should be made to enable more learners to use Welsh outside the classroom, in their communities and in future employment.
The Group met with and gathered evidence from a number of stakeholders involved in Welsh second language education including teachers, pupils and parents. The Group’s final report One language for all, published in September 2013, highlighted many issues in the current approach to Welsh second language and explored themes that we are committed to addressing during the next stage of work in the review of curriculum and assessment arrangements in Wales.
On 12 March it was announced that Professor Graham Donaldson will be chairing an independent review of these arrangements and will provide recommendations to inform our development of a Curriculum for Wales. The One language for all report will form an important part of the evidence base as Professor Donaldson takes this work forward.
All changes to the teaching of Welsh in English-medium schools will reflect the Welsh Government’s commitment in the Welsh-medium Education Strategy to improve standards in Welsh second language to enable young people to become competent Welsh speakers in the future. This also contributes to the commitment made in the Welsh language strategy, A living language: a language for living, to increase the provision of Welsh language activities for children and young people and their awareness of the value of the language.
The One language for all recommendations are many and varied. Some are already being addressed while others are recommendations for the long-term and relate to the overdue, but necessary, overhaul of Welsh second language provision. Today the Minister for Education and Skills has published his response to the recommendations in the report which fall outside the review of curriculum and assessment arrangements in Wales.
In response to the recommendations, the Welsh Government will:
- facilitate the promotion of Welsh as a subject and as a skill for the workplace;
- continue to fund training activities for Welsh second language teachers through the Welsh in Education Grant and the Sabbatical Scheme;
- encourage schools to share good practice within and across consortia;
- work with consortia to ensure that statutory assessment arrangements for the end of Key Stages 2 and 3 are being implemented effectively;
- continue to commission high quality teaching and learning resources;
- work with Awarding Organisations and other stakeholders to ensure that revised GCSE, AS and A level Welsh second language qualifications are appropriate;
- remove the GCSE Welsh second language short course; and
- monitor the availability and take up of AS and A level Welsh second language.
The recommendations which directly relate to assessment and curriculum, will be considered during Professor Donaldson’s independent review. Some actions in response to other recommendations may also be influenced or affected by the outcome of Professor Donaldson’s review.
We would like, once again, to thank Professor Sioned Davies and members of the group for all their work in producing the report and its recommendations. We would also like to express our gratitude to everyone who worked alongside them, contributed to their work, and to those who provided evidence and advice to the Group.