Results in Welsh stood still in this summer's key stage 3 tests. In Welsh as a second language, only 44 per cent of pupils achieved level 5 or above, and scores ranged from 55.9 in Powys to 27 per cent in Blaenau Gwent. The next lowest-scoring, non-core subject was modern foreign languages, at 52.2 per cent. But 73.5 per cent of pupils achieved level 5 in the first-language test in both 2003 and 2004.
At KS2, 78.8 per cent of 11-year-olds achieved level 4 Welsh, the standard expected for their age. The results reinforce the findings of a recent inspection report on Welsh second-language learning published last month (TES Cymru, December 17). The inspection agency Estyn found the subject had the worst standards of all national curriculum subjects in Wales, although they are improving.