This petition was submitted by Chris Evans, having collected 652 signatures online.
I call upon the National Assembly for Wales to urge the Welsh Government to prevent Qualifications Wales (QW) from continuing to discriminate against Welsh-medium learners, and ensure linguistic equality in terms of school curriculum.
In 2015, the WJEC decided to drop GCSE Psychology because candidate numbers were relatively small (37 centres - 5 of which were Welsh medium with 144 Welsh medium applicants each year). Because of this, an invitation was extended by Qualifications Wales to the English Awarding Bodies; AQA, OCR, Pearson-Edexell, to offer this subject, and others e.g. Economics, in Wales.
Unfortunately, and astoundingly, there was no pressure to offer these subjects in Welsh. Qualifications Wales' response to this is to say that the English Boards would refuse to offer subjects in Wales altogether if they were forced to offer a Welsh language option, and that they seek to ensure 'the widest choice of subjects to learners in Wales' (QW Newsletter, December 2016).
'The widest choice of subjects to learners in Wales' .... unless you are following a Welsh medium education! In September, there will be no year 10 Psychology GCSE course running in my school for the first time since 2009, while the English-medium school a few miles away, start a new GCSE Psychology course in English through AQA. The only reason that I can't offer this subject is because we teach through Welsh. There are four other Welsh centres in the same position.
Psychologists need to be able discuss their subject in Welsh. By depriving Welsh medium pupils of the opportunity to study Psychology GCSE through Welsh, we will lose 144 students per year who would have had the potential of contributing to Psychology - as a teacher, lecturer, therapist, researcher etc. in Welsh with confidence because the relevant terminology familiar to them.
144 candidates sat the unit 2 Psychology WJEC GCSE paper in Welsh to finish the course in 2015, with 5 centres teaching it, so there is the potential for significant numbers, not just a handful. I have arranged that three experienced Psychology examiners are available to work for any English Board, so that translation of candidate's scripts (solutions) would not be needed, just the translation of the paper itself.
The only English Board that even considered the application to provide a Welsh paper (from myself, not QW), was Pearson, but in the end they refused, saying it 'would require Welsh speakers at every level of the production of the papers'. This is nonsense because that doesn't even happen in the WJEC, where the Chief Examiner and the Subject Officer don't speak Welsh!
I don't blame the English Boards, because why should they go to the trouble when they don't have to? Qualifications Wales is to blame for their limp policy, which does not protect the rights of Welsh-medium learners. Surely it would have been possible to create an element of competition between the English Boards by giving priority to those open to the idea of offering a Welsh option, but they did not attempt to do this at all.
This is totally unacceptable in the modern Wales. If English Awarding Bodies are allowed to offer subjects in Wales, it must be made clear that they need to offer a Welsh paper when there is a reasonable request to do so.
This petition is currently under consideration by the Petitions Committee. It was first considered by the Petitions Committee on 07/11/2017.
Assembly Constituency and Region
Business type: Petition
Reason considered: Assembly Business;
Status: For consideration
First published: 31/10/2017
Decision due: Meeting Date by Petitions Committee