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Cymraeg in the Pesda Community

Cymraeg in the Pesda community!

The children of Ysgol Abercaseg and Pen-y-Bryn, Bethesda, have received special praise for their work regarding the Welsh language during the current school year.

The pupils have developed their Welsh speaking skills by practicing those core elements which lead to having a firm grasp of their language, such as learning sentence patterns, extending their vocabulary, developing their syntax and their ability to mutate confidently and natural.

"As a school, we have carried out activities in every class and across the age range, seeing a significant development in terms of the pupils' confidence to work together, discuss and perform in Welsh," said Headteacher, Gethin Thomas.

"This was clearly stated by GwE school improvement service officers and the school's governors in a report following visits at the end of the first term.

"These skills were then taken out of the classrooms as part of the second term's theme, which was ‘Cymraeg a’r Gymuned (Welsh and Community) which was launched on St David's Day, with a host of activities together with local partners."

There were gardening sessions, which gave the pupils the opportunity to learn and use the rich variety of terms about nature that the Welsh language has, and there were several guided tours around the area led by local residents who introduced aspects of the history and geography of the area to the pupils.

As part of the activities, there was also a great example of bridging the generations, as pupils from both schools visited Plas Ogwen's residential home and spent hours chatting with the residents.

Gethin Thomas added: "There was an opportunity for parents to visit the schools on open mornings in order to see their children's work and play board games in their company. Our aim was to underline the importance of the Welsh language as a language of education, a community language and as a valuable resource that is nurtured and encouraged in the home.

"This shows that acquiring and maintaining a language is something that can be implemented on many levels but which basically belongs to the same rich tapestry. That is, developing literacy and oral skills is a key foundation.

"But in order to gain the fullness of the experience of being a confident bilingual citizen in the Wales of the future - Wales 2050 and its million Welsh speakers, for example - elements such as knowledge of local history, awareness of the nature and geography of the area and constant engagement between people, from various backgrounds and generations.

"We have already received a warning that the health of the Welsh language as a community language is not something that can be taken for granted.

"When the 2021 Census statistics were published last year, we saw that the percentage of Welsh speakers had declined during the past decade, and that despite all the efforts to develop it, promote it and place it within legal contexts, is a matter of obvious disappointment and concern.

"Added to the concern was the fact that the greatest fall in numbers occurred among children and young people, threatening to set that pattern as a vein that will snake through the landscape of the Welsh language for generations.

"This is to underline, therefore, the need for all the essential work that takes place in our primary schools and the real ability of that work to change and enrich lives.

"Thank you to the staff for their tireless work and dedication to ensure that the Welsh language is a living language in Dyffryn Ogwen for decades to come"

"It is the responsibility of all of us to reach the goal, in order to give our children every opportunity to live and work in the Wales of the future, as confident citizens in thriving communities."