Saturday, December 29, 2007

Brit Nat Double Standards

Are the British nationalists taking the piss? The Telegraph runs a lead story that English is a minority language in 1,300 schools in England (wonder how many schools in Wales?). Nothing wrong in that - I believe that people who move to England have a responsibility to learn English - it was their choice to move there after all.

However, you could have run this story in Wales today, ten years ago, 50 years ago, 100 years ago but with the concern that Welsh was a minority language in Welsh schools. That is, the gradual diminishing strength of the Welsh language moving through Flintshire, Gwent and Glamorgan westwards over the last hundred years or so. And the process is still happening today. Of course to point this out would be 'nationalistic', 'divisive', 'xenophobic, 'anti-English', 'narrow-minded', 'harmful to children's jobs prospects' ... or probably all six.

Heavens, Welsh is a minority language of the families of most children who attend Welsh medium schools too. No one writes about that. The miracle that happens every day is that these schools, despite their many difficulties, manage to ensure that those kids leave school speaking Welsh and English fluently. No one gets medals, there's no leading articles in London (nor Welsh) newspapers. The English teachers must be a bunch of ninnies if they're complaining!

And if more money is to go to accommodate and immerse kids from non-English speaking backgrounds into English schools, what about the same for Wales with the Welsh language? Why has there been no articles in the Welsh press about the difficulty in accommodating linguistically the English kids who move into Gwynedd or Ceredigion - are the press and politicians too scared? But why?

Immersing English kids in Welsh schools is linguistically much more difficult that immersing Pakistani kids in English schools. It's difficult enough when those kids come from homes where the parents have made a conscious effort to take their children to a Welsh-medium school - it's even more difficult when parents have decided to move to Wales and just happen to be in a Welsh-speaking area. No leading articles in the 'say your British' press about this nor either by Gordon Brit Nat Brown.

If immersing non-English speaking kids is difficult in England then isn't the same true for Welsh in Wales (especially considering the weaker position of Welsh in society and media)? So, where are UCAC and the other teaching unions asking for more money for Welsh schools in this important task? Where's Plaid Cymru AMs on this matter? Welsh teachers need all the support they can get to ensure that Welsh is a medium of instruction in our schools and they deserve the full backing of all political parties (yes, including Labour) on the matter.

What's right for English is right for Welsh too.


Rhys Wynne said...

While working in Caerphilly I've been glad to see the increase in welsh medium provision and take-up, in fact even with now 10 Welsh medium primary schools and one secondary, demand is still outstripping supply. Reading this article about the north east was quite depressing.

Unknown said...

having studied in a bilingual school as a non-welsh speaker me and other pupils in the same situation actually noticed a favour towards welsh pupils and significantly higher funding for welsh speaking pupils, how is this a good thing. it is surely racist to give one group higher funding and in some areas of funding bordering on apartheid. stop pretending to be hard done by wales. welsh people benefit from british money far more than anyone english does.

Final Conflict said...

Stop immigration to England AND Wales. It will help the Welsh (and French, and Spanish...) becauise less English will feel they have to run away from immigrant crime in England.

I have spoken to many English 'settlers' in Wales, Scotland, France and Spain in my travel for work and most give the reason for the move: immigration and its crime as the top answer.

I know it's not 'pc' but if overnight most Welsh towns became non-European then the Welsh would be as upset as the English have been.

Point to the migration of the English if you like, but two wrongs do not make a right.