The findings of recent BBC Wales research need to be placed in a wider context to avoid creating a misconception.
This is RhAG’s response to the survey comparing the performance of 11-year-olds from all schools in Wales in the core subjects of Welsh, English, Maths, and Science.
Lynne Davies, on behalf of that, said These findings must be carefully responded to and interpreted as a snapshot of a particular phase of the educational career of pupils in Welsh-medium schools. These findings need to be aligned with other statistics to ensure a fair and balanced picture.
First of all, it must be acknowledged and celebrated that children in Welsh-medium schools are less likely to underachieve than English-medium pupils in Wales. Indeed, is it not surprising that a third of pupils from non-Welsh speaking homes reach the highest places at the age of 11? It must be remembered that this is when mastering two languages, not one, and so the sport is one to be admired even more.
This is only a step towards further development at Key Stages 3 and 4, and GCSE results overall show the excellence of Welsh-medium education.
The strong message from the research is the need to strengthen the Welsh language in other areas beyond the classroom; there needs to be a much greater investment in leisure and social opportunities through the medium of Welsh for children and young people; more investment is needed to support parents on the language journey of the whole family and the conditions need to be created to produce more Welsh-speaking homes. We trust that the Welsh Government is paying attention to this.