Welsh Medium Schools Day 1, Ysgol Pen y Garth, Penarth

| September 26, 2011 | 6 Comments 

“Bore da!!”  A great welcome to a really fun day: an INSET day with 6 “Welsh medium” schools, taking place at Ysgol Pen y Garth, Penarth, Redlands Road Penarth.

Our aim: to provide “Ysbrydoliaeth ansbaradigaethus ar gyfer ysgrifennu estynedig i bob oedran!” (Fantastic inspiration to aid extended writing for all ages!)

I can only apologise if my Welsh is not accurate. Welsh: A beautiful and powerful language, spoken only 30 miles, as the crow flies, away from where I grew up, and I understand very, very little of it. What a great shame.

We have done a lot of work now with children and adults who communicate regularly with each other in a language other than English. I have always thought, though, that one of the most fascinating, expressive and mysterious, languages I have ever encountered, a language I have close to NO understanding of, is spoken, not in some far away distant land, but just over the narrow stretch of water from where I live.

Ysgol Pen y Garth is a Welsh Primary School with pupils coming from Penarth, Cogan, Llandough , Dinas Powys and Sully. Lessons, and all activities, are carried out, primarily, in Welsh. They believe strongly in giving the best education possible to pupils by ensuring that they gain strong literacy and numerical skills. Additionally, that their children are pupils of the twenty first century and that Information Technology is a key element and absolutely essential to the education they provide.

The schools prides itself on providing exciting lessons, a wide range of extra curricular activities and a wealth of experiences that will live in the memory for a long time. By Year 6, their aim is that children will be “independent learners who possess a certain zest and enthusiasm that, in turn, will make them lifelong learners”.

SIXTY years on and Welsh medium education is thriving in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Since the establishment of the first Welsh schools in Barry – Ysgol Gymraeg Gwirfoddol in 1951 and Ysgol Gymraeg St Francis in 1955 – the Vale now boasts five Welsh medium primary schools: Ysgol Iolo Morganwg in Cowbridge (192 pupils), Ysgol Gymraeg Pen-y-Garth in Penarth (325) and Barry’s Ysgol Gymraeg Sant Baruc (261), Ysgol Gymraeg Sant Curig (435) and Ysgol Gymraeg Gwaun y Nant (210) provide children with opportunities to live and learn in the Welsh language.

Formal aspects of the national curriculum are interspersed with experiences of Welsh culture and heritage.

Secondary Welsh medium education is provided at Ysgol Gyfun Bro Morgannwg (859 pupils), which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.

Such has been the success of Welsh medium education in the Vale that demand for places has risen dramatically.

With only 14 per cent of Vale residents able to speak Welsh, according to the 2001 Census, it is not surprising that the majority of pupils receiving Welsh medium education are from non-Welsh speaking homes. What may be surprising in this context is the fact that the Vale’s schools perform so well when compared to their peer group on a national level.

Bilingualism now, thankfully, is seen as something to be embraced – and is a huge asset, definitely.

If you fancy a try at some learning activities in Welsh, try visiting the Welsh language site for Ngfl HERE (with the same activities in English HERE) or Cynnal and even the delightful BBC Tacteg site.

The BBC also have a collection of tools and links for learning Welsh HERE
There is even an iPhone app to learn basic Welsh. Grab the first lesson free HERE

Diolch yn fawr to everyone today for some very enjoyable wandering in the world of words. Thank you to  Mrs Iona Edwards – Head teacher at Ysgol Pen y Garth for hosting our day.

Category: 1) Events and Training days, 2) Useful n Interesting

Comments (6)

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  1. A Former Margaret says:

    Thank you Tim and Sarah, from someone who looked at computers, (before today) as if they were going to blow up – because that is what I thought they might do. (Posh voice) Metaphorically. You have showed us so many possibilities and most of them are simple enough even for me to be excited by. I can not wait to try things out and see the delight on my children’s faces, and the value it will add to my teaching. Thank you too for the laughter. What a way to spend a “training day”! 🙂

  2. Tim says:

    Thank you “Margaret” and well done for filing a comment on a blog too. It’s not all going to go pop and will provide you with a lot of fun too. Let us know how you get on and what works best for you and your children. Tim and Sarah

  3. owain says:

    Thank you for yesterday, a lot of very useful tips and websites! Been trying out some already.

  4. Dylan Evans says:

    Thanks Tim for a truly inspiring two days. Both staff and children have witnessed the power of ICT to motivate writing. You have a wonderful gift of storytelling and a fantastic rapport with children. Their eyes were as you so beautifully described “as wide as dinnerplates” as you embarked on a mystical journey, leading the children to explore, write and become creative thinkers and learners. All the very best. Diolch yn fawr a dymuniadau gorau wrth i barhau ar eich taith i ysbrydoli eraill. Dylan

    (The last sentence translates to ” Many thanks and best wishes on your journey as you continue to inspire others.” cheers for everything. Dylan)

  5. Dylan Evans says:

    p.s we have re-tweeted you on @ysgoliolo! We are now following!

  6. Tim says:

    Thank you Dylan
    Two fantastic days of fast paced challenges, that everyone threw themselves at, in great style.
    You, and your cluster colleagues, have a right to be very proud of your achievements, and of your pupils.
    Diolch yn fawr

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