Call to push Welsh study

24th June 2005 at 01:00
Estyn urges mandatory training in native curriculum for teachers who move to Wales. Nicola Porter reports.

Teachers who move to Wales should receive compulsory training in Y Cwricwlwm Cymreig and the promotion of Welsh culture, according to a new report. Parents from multi-cultural backgrounds should also be encouraged to learn about the curriculum at evening classes.

Inspection body Estyn discovered most schools were making good progress on phasing in the Welsh dimension to the national curriculum. But a third of schools have teachers trained or from outside Wales. Few have received training on Y Cwricwlwm Cymreig and some showed little interest in learning about it. A similar lack of commitment was shown by some schools on the Welsh border, especially in Monmouth, Flintshire and east Powys.

Y Cwricwlwm Cymreig aims to inform pupils about the Welsh language, its history, people and landscape, to complement the national curriculum.

Guidance issued by ACCAC, the qualifications, curriculum and assessment authority for Wales, in 2003, set out how and where it could be promoted in the school curriculum. There was widespread support from teacher unions for Estyn's recommendations.

Gruff Hughes, acting general secretary of UCAC, the Welsh-medium teachers'

union, said teachers who came to Wales should show respect for Wales's educational ethos and heritage by being enthusiastic about Y Cwricwlwm Cymreig.

Anna Brychan, director of the National Association of Head Teachers Cymru, said the success of the curriculum depended on a school's culture, including the level of support from parents. She also called for the General Teaching Council for Wales to take more of a lead in training teachers, rather than individual schools.

Estyn found some schools and teachers "had very little understanding of, and in come cases, little empathy with Y Cwricwlwm Cymreig".

Its recommendations for the Assembly, schools, local education authorities and ACCAC include compulsory training for all teachers who move to Wales from other areas - in line with training already offered to Wales-based teachers during induction.

Other recommendations include:

* encouraging schools to share materials for teaching Y Cwricwlwm Cymreig via networks of schools and websites;

* continuing to provide extra training opportunities for teachers delivering the Welsh curriculum, and who want to learn Welsh to a higher level.

Schools in particular are urged to monitor provision of Y Cwricwlwm Cymreig in all subjects, and ensure a designated governor has responsibility for it.

Estyn found the quality of teaching of Y Cwricwlwm Cymreig was good or better in three-quarters of classes. Welsh first or second-language teaching "forms an essential element" of the programme, and most schools now have a co-ordinator.

Progress in implementing the curriculum was particularly good in south Pembrokeshire and other traditionally Anglicised areas, and there is now less regional variation in planning for it.

There was also praise for older, more established teachers who have become aware of a stronger national profile within Wales in politics, media, the arts, sport, language issues and civic life. And two-thirds of all schools had made good progress in increasing the amount of Welsh spoken in school assemblies, and informally by pupils.

But the report found a third of all heads had not read the ACCAC guidance.

And moves towards increased bilingualism were lagging behind, particularly in administration - such as in letters to parents and telephone calls.

A GTCW spokesman said it was already compulsory for newly-qualified teachers to familiarise themselves with Y Cwricwlwm Cymreig during their induction year.

Y Cwricwlwm Cymreig: progress made by schools in implementation of guidance issued by ACCAC in 2003, see

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