3) Delivering the new GCSE Welsh Second Language

There is a lack of teaching and learning resources

There is a lack of teaching and learning resources to support the introduction of the new qualification.

Panel’s response

  • Details of the teaching and learning support can be found on QW’s website (i.e. WJEC CPD events, WJEC’s national conference in June, resources [including digital resources] teachers’ guides etc).
  • Further details about the resources that are, and will be, available to support the teaching and learning of the qualification can be found on our website.

Administering the oral assessments will put pressure on schools

Administering the oral assessments will put pressure on schools, especially as they will have to provide cover for staff.

Panel’s response

  • Controlled assessment has been removed from the new qualification. The practical assessment of speaking and listening will be conducted by teaching staff and scheduled by WJEC as part of the examination timetable.
  • Schools will be required to plan appropriately to ensure appropriate arrangements are made to accommodate the assessment of speaking and listening.  This is the same expectation as for other GCSE subjects that include assessment of practical skills.
  • Schools will also need to consider the training needs of their teaching staff and speak to their Regional Education Consortium leads to find out what training and support they can access.
  • WJEC will publish a guide to oral assessment to support teachers in administrating the oral assessment.  This will include examples of the types of audio visual material that will be included in assessments as well as video clips of learners being assessed.

Insufficient time is allocated within many schools’ timetables

Insufficient time is allocated within many schools’ timetables to teach Welsh Second Language qualifications.  There is no guarantee that senior staff will allow the appropriate time to teach the new, more challenging qualification.

Panel’s response

  • The new specification makes clear that it has been designed to be delivered over two years with 120 guided learning hours (GLH).  This is the same expectation as applies to all other full course GCSEs. But, as with all qualifications, it remains at the discretion of individual schools how much teaching time they decide to allocate to courses leading to any one qualification.
  • Qualifications Wales, Welsh Government and WJEC are working to raise awareness of the changes to GCES Welsh Second Language and to highlight the need for schools to allow sufficient teaching time for learners to be able to prepare effectively for their assessments.

There is an insufficient number of teachers to teach the new qualification

There is an insufficient number of teachers in the system to teach the new qualification.  There aren’t enough appropriately qualified, confident teachers willing to teach the subject.

Panel response

  • The Welsh Government aims to increase capacity over the next 5 years, linking with universities to recruit Welsh speakers. 
  • Improvements are being made to the sabbatical scheme to provide more opportunities for teachers to learn Welsh. Representatives from the sabbatical scheme attended WJEC’s ‘Preparing to teach’ events in March, and they will be at the national conference for Welsh second language teachers on 30 June 2017.
  • More information about the sabbatical schemes arranged by the universities of Bangor, Cardiff and Trinity Saint David can be found on the following websites:

The Welsh Language Sabbatical Scheme, Bangor University

The Welsh Language Sabbatical Scheme, Cardiff University

The Welsh Language Sabbatical Scheme, University of Wales Trinity Saint David

  • There will also be a review of Initial Teacher Training with the aim of supporting learning and progression through the language continuum.  There will be the expectation for all trainee teachers to be capable of delivering the language to a certain level, which will also be included in teachers’ professional standards.
  • However, change will not happen overnight, and will rely on progression in the system from GCSE to A level, then onto university.