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Bilingualism is better for Welsh pupils, says study

Welsh-medium schools perform better than English-medium counterparts because they have greater clarity of purpose and there is more commitment from parents and pupils, a new study claims.

It says Welsh education authorities should expand the number of bilingual schools in the next few years. "Whatever precisely is going on within them, more of the children of Wales need to experience it," it concludes.

The two-year study, conducted for the Institute of Welsh Affairs, set out to examine the reasons for the success of bilingual schools, which now cater for one in seven Welsh pupils. Although they do very well in examinations and inspections, they have been described as a "con trick" perpetrated by the middle class on the Welsh working class because of their privileged intakes.

The researchers, led by David Reynolds, professor of education at Newcastle University, examined two Welsh and two English medium schools with a broadly similar social intake within a single unitary authority in South Wales. They found that the Welsh- medium schools had more effective teaching, using more interactive, whole-class teaching and getting pupils to settle faster.

A Competitive Edge: Why Welsh Medium Schools Perform Better is available price pound;10 plus pound;1.50 p amp; p from the IWA, tel. 01222 575511.

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