English-speaking parents are no longer finding their inability to speak Welsh a barrier to send their children to a Welsh medium school, a new survey suggests.
Carried out by the Welsh Language Board, the survey found that 65% of parents who send their children to a Welsh medium school are not Welsh speakers themselves and do not view their inability to speak the language as a hindrance in their children’s education.
The survey also found that over half of the parents questioned did not have Welsh speakers within their extended family, suggesting there is no longer a language barrier in educating a child outside of their first language. 97% pinpointed the desire for their children to be able to speak the language as the main incentive for them choosing a Welsh medium education for their children.
The survey questioned parents with children in primary aged Welsh language education and was conducted in conjunction with the Welsh Language Board’s ‘Introducing Welsh’ campaign.
Meri Huws chair of the Welsh Language Board, said: “These findings demonstrate that parents should not be put off from sending their children to Welsh medium schools, even if they do not speak Welsh themselves. The benefits of learning Welsh from a young age are highly advantageous for both their education and in their future careers.
“It is fantastic to see the continuing trend of parents no longer perceiving their own inability to speak the language as an obstacle in their children’s education.”
In Caerphilly County Borough there is a growing demand for Welsh-medium schools. It is estimated by the council that by 2020, demand for secondary school places will be outstripped by 1,000.
To combat this, the Caerphilly Council announced in April that the former site of St Ilan Comprehensive school in Caerphilly town, which closed in 2007, will be turned into a Welsh-medium school for pupils aged between 11 to 14.
Meanwhile, a new report has revealed that Welsh-speaking among council staff only amounted to 2.19% of its workforce.
The local authority’s annual report to the Welsh Language Board revealed that 215 staff can speak Welsh out of a total of 9,805.