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Welsh medium education

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Title: Welsh medium education  
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Welsh medium education

Education delivered through the medium of the Welsh language is known as Welsh medium education (Welsh: Addysg Cyfrwng Cymraeg).

Welsh medium education should be distinguished from the teaching of Welsh (known as Cymraeg or Gymraeg) as an academic subject. Welsh as a subject is taught as first language in Welsh medium schools. In English medium schools it is taught as a second language and became compulsory for all pupils in Wales at Key Stages 1, 2 and 3 (up to age 14) in 1990. In 1999, it became a compulsory subject for Key Stage 4 pupils (GCSE (ages 15 and 16)). Provision of Welsh as a subject in independent (private) schools is less widespread — only a few provide it, and it again is taught as a second language. There is no private designated Welsh-medium school in Wales, although one does exist in London, known as the London Welsh School.

Roughly a quarter of schoolchildren in Wales now receive their education through the medium of Welsh. Children wishing to join a Welsh medium school do not have to speak Welsh to attend if they are young enough to learn the language quickly. Ysgol Glan Clwyd is an example; although 70% of the pupils attending this school come from homes where English is the main or only language, 95% of pupils finish their education speaking Welsh as well as a native speaker. Ysgol Glan Clwyd was the first Welsh-medium secondary (comprehensive) school, and opened in Rhyl in 1956.


  • Nursery Education 1
  • Primary Education 2
  • Secondary Education 3
  • Effects 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Nursery Education

The Mudiad Ysgolion Meithrin has established play groups and nurseries throughout Wales which allow children to learn Welsh through immersion. The spread of such nurseries has ensured strong demand from parents for Welsh Medium primary schools. The success of MYM inspired the Ikastolak movement in the Basque Country and the Diwan movement in Brittany.

Primary Education

In the primary school sector, the numbers of children in Welsh-medium schools (or in the Welsh-medium stream of dual stream schools) has grown steadily in recent years.

School year Total pupils WM pupils WM as % % inc
2000/2001 262,751 49,422 18.81%
2001/2002 260,151 49,687 19.10% +1.5%
2002/2003 256,690 50,756 19.77% +3.5%
2003/2004 252,230 51,131 20.27% +2.5%
2004/2005 248,328 52,792 21.26% +4.9%
2005/2006 243,982 52,867 21.67% +1.9%
2006/2007 240,621 54,099 22.48% +3.7%
2007/2008 237,917 54,895 23.07% +2.6%
2008/2009 258,314 59,989 23.22% +0.7%
2009/2010 257,445 60,318 23.43% +0.9%
2010/2011 259,189 61,073 23.56% +0.6%
2011/2012 262,144 62,446 23.82% +1.1%
2012/2013 264,186 63,192 23.92% +0.4%
2013/2014 269,421 64,366 23.89% -0.1%

Information taken from Schools in Wales (accessed 23 July 2010) Update for last three years taken from School Census Results, 2012 (accessed 17 May 2013)

Secondary Education

The percentage of children in Welsh-medium secondary schools is slightly less than in primary schools, but is also growing, with 2007/2008 seeing a major increase compared to 2006/2007.

School year Total pupils WM pupils WM as % % inc
2000/2001 210,396 38,007 18.06%
2001/2002 212,024 38,817 18.31% +1.4%
2002/2003 214,276 39,458 18.41% +0.5%
2003/2004 215,609 40,169 18.63% +1.2%
2004/2005 214,626 40,221 18.74% +0.6%
2005/2006 213,045 40,828 19.16% +2.2%
2006/2007 210,353 40,702 19.35% +1.0%
2007/2008 206,936 40,756 19.69% +1.8%
2008/2009 205,421 41,916 20.40% +3.6%
2009/2010 203,907 43,432 21.30% +4.4%
2010/2011 201,230 41,764 20.75% -2.7%
2011/2012 198,015 41,262 20.84% +0.4%
2012/2013 191,279 37,692 19.71 -5.4%
2013/2014 186,427 37,400 20.01% +1.5%

Information taken from Schools in Wales (accessed 23 July 2010) Update for last three years taken from School Census Results, 2012 (accessed 17 May 2013)


In 2013, reporting on comments by former Welsh Secretary Paul Murphy, the BBC reported that the admissions officer for Oxford University indicated that Welsh medium schools were especially reluctant to encourage pupils to seek places at top UK universities if this meant leaving Wales, which reportedly has contributed to a decrease in the number of Welsh pupils gaining places. As an example of the broader problem, which was also contributed to by other issues such as the impact of the Welsh Baccalaureate, and was not limited to Welsh medium schools, Murphy had indicated that "students from the south Wales valleys are five times less likely to apply to Oxford or Cambridge than students in some of the more affluent English counties".[1]

See also


  1. ^ "'"Paul Murphy: Teachers 'lack Oxbridge ambition. BBC News. 18 April 2013. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 

External links

  • Welsh Language Board
  • Mudiad Meithrin
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