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Claims children punished for not speaking Welsh at school

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: November 15, 2012

Keith Towler

Keith Towler

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CHILDREN'S Commissioner Keith Towler will look into claims that children at West Wales schools are being punished for not speaking Welsh.

Mr Towler has been emailed by a group of concerned parents over incidents at schools in Ceredigion, which allege that one pupil was told to "move to England" while a parent was told to stop reading English books to their child as it was hampering their Welsh learning.

Mr Towler said: "I can confirm that I have been made aware of this issue and that I will be responding to those concerned in due course."

Hag Harries, Ceredigion Council cabinet member for education, said: "We'll be happy to discuss any concerns raised with the person or persons that have set up the website.

"We find it very difficult to believe that the accusations have any basis."

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  • ArthurRittick  |  November 16 2012, 8:49AM

    Jiffy, I doubt if Polish or Punjabi children would go to a Welsh-medium school, but if they did I believe their parents would EXPECT them to be disciplined & speak only Welsh - that, after all is what they are there to learn to do. And no, they do not teach Welsh in the playground, but it is a well-known fact that the more you practice to communicate, the more likely you are to be able to communicate correctly. Being immersed in & communicating in Welsh at all (school) times goes a long way to developing language skills & that includes the playground. Communicating in Welsh is part of the school rules, much of the problems in society today is because people think that they can flout the rules as & when they like. Part of the unwritten curriculum in all schools is discipline & it's usually the parents who allow their child to flout the rules by supporting the child when rules are broken. What sort of message does that send?

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  • Jiffy  |  November 16 2012, 12:03AM

    They teach Welsh in the playgrounds do they? It's an attempt to exert the kind of control that you'd not put up with, but children have to. Wonder how the schools would stand if a couple kids were talking to each other in Punjabi or Polish?

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  • Kaiser_Macsen  |  November 15 2012, 9:38PM

    Jiffy and the point of Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen Welsh Medium Primary is?

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  • Jiffy  |  November 15 2012, 8:21PM

    I was told by a parent, only last week, that this is happening to her daughter in a primary school in Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen. So much for living in a land of choice. As I've said many a time - there are far too many vested interests in promoting the Welsh language. The rights and education of our children are being ignored by people who don't understand democracy.

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  • Neathboy234  |  November 15 2012, 7:12PM

    Not a single bit of evidence to back this up. It wouldn't surprise me if one of the anti all things Welsh letter writer on here is behind this, it wouldn't surprise me one little bit.

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  • JiffysWonders  |  November 15 2012, 7:05PM

    I was punished for speaking English when I was at my welsh medium primary back in the eighties. Usually involved standing outside the staff room for dinner. Parents and pupils were quite aware of the school rules. It was considered vital that children were immersed in the language early on so that they would be fluent by the time they went to comp. Nowdays it would be considered a pretty backwards approach. It's all carrot and no stick these days. The one last nod to the stick is the guilt trip. Kids are aware that WM schools conduct day to day life in welsh and expect to be told not to speak English in school. Parents are aware of this and if they are not - what on earth did they expect? Of course English is spoken in WM school yards but that's something you just can't stop. You have to let youngsters have the choice. At least they have it!

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  • ArthurRittick  |  November 15 2012, 7:02PM

    All this because of an anonymous complaint. Must have been a disgruntled Angle & a cowardly one at that. If he/she had any self-respect or more importantly IF THEY HAD ANY EVIDENCE, then surely they would have gone public with this. Instead we have this cowardly sniping, cloaked in the anonimity of the internet Perfidious Albion: an appropriate term for this item!

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  • Neathboy234  |  November 15 2012, 4:34PM

    In the EP article it says the children are being punished, yet on the BBC website it says they are being told off. There is a big difference, when my dog goes on the sofa he gets told off, i don't punish him though

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  • Dan01  |  November 15 2012, 3:13PM

    odinhouse, that does not mean that welsh language schools have to become bilingual. Attending a welsh medium school is a matter of choice, and with parents having made that choice the school has a duty to ensure that children are taught to be completely fluent in the language. Requiring children learning the language to speak to staff in welsh is surely a prerequisite of that. I am not aware that anyone does not have access to a bilingual school, albeit may not be on their doorstep. See my earlier post.

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  • odinhouse  |  November 15 2012, 2:56PM

    its now Law that it was past by the Welsh Assembly ( GOV) That Welsh and English have Equal Statues ...? if this is true about what is being said in this write up then it should be brought up in the Welsh Government ( WAG ) to sort it out Legally ..

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