Welsh chief's language gaffe

25th August 2000 at 01:00
THE chief inspector of schools in Wales - already under fire because she cannot speak Welsh - has delighted her detractors with a classic linguistic blunder: getting her own title wrong, writes Warwick Mansell.

Even more unfortunately for Susan Lewis, head of the inspection service, Estyn, the mistake was in a letter about the inspectorate's Welsh language policy.

In a letter to inspectors and local authorities across the Principality, Ms Lewis's title was given as Ei Mawrhydi Prif Arolygiad, which translates as "Her Majesty Chief Inspection".

The gaffe could not have come ata worse time for Ms Lewis.

Earlier this month, the National Union of Teachers and UCAC, the Welsh teacher union, protested that none of Estyn's four most senior officers spoke Welsh.

Ms Lewis is chief among their targets. Advertisements for her post, to which she was appointed in 1997, said that candidates would need a commitment to learn the language. Three years on, she still does not speak Welsh.

An Estyn spokeswoman acknowledged the mistake but said it had been corrected in a follow-up letter. She added: "Ms Lewis is learning Welsh. It's a difficult language."

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today