I’m moving with my family to north Wales next year (2023) and we’d like our son to go to a bilingual or welsh speaking school. He’s 10 and a little bit nervous he won’t be able to understand the teachers at school in Wales, so we’ve been doing some Duolingo lessons together, on and off, for a few weeks. I’ve just found SSiW and it really reminds me of the brilliant way Michel Thomas taught languages so I’m keen to do 6 minutes a day. Do you think we (but mainly my son) could get to a stage where he’ll be able to have simple conversations at school in about 12 months time?
Diolch yn fawr
I’ll tag @aran here for you so that he sees this, as he’s probably the best one to answer.
You don’t say where in the North you’re moving to, but I’m also going to tag @beca-brown as she’s the councillor responsible for education with Gwynedd County Council and she might be able to tell you what other provisions are available.
That’s brilliant, thanks Siaronjames.
We’re not sure where exactly we’ll end up but definitely in Gwynedd. I’m hoping we’ll be able to go to Porthmadog, Beddgelert or thereabouts but it depends on house prices and schools really.
If your lad does 6 minutes a day, he’ll definitely have a lot of productive Welsh in 12 months from now - but it’s also worth you reaching out now, as soon as possible, to talk to the council about the schools provision - he may well be able to go through one of the immersion centres to prepare children for Welsh medium education, and they are absolutely excellent (a global gold standard, I’d say).
The only bilingual secondary school in Gwynedd is Ysgol Friars in Bangor (which doesn’t produce confident bilingual students - bilingualism is an ineffective approach where there is a dominant global language in the game!) - so you’re almost certainly looking at Welsh medium, and the immersion will be absolutely key. He can get a long way ahead of the game with 6 minutes a day of SSiW, though (although I’d be inclined to try and nudge it up to 10 minutes a day if you can keep it playful!).
A bilingual school isn’t essential for us, we just don’t want him finding it difficult to communicate and end up struggling elsewhere. I didn’t know there was such a thing as an immersion centre, that sounds ideal, so I’ll definitely look into that.
He’s enjoying learning Welsh so far. we were doing about 10 minutes of duolingo each evening but duolingo seems to be a bit abstract and not as practical as ssiw. I’m just trying to do a little bit of everyday stuff in Welsh before we move, so he gets more used to it.
Yeah, it’s tricky for me to comment on Duo without seeming (and being!) pretty biased, but I do think that 10 minutes a day with SSiW will get him a lot further with his productive capacity…
There’s a good overview of council stuff here:
And an intro to the language centres here:
I can’t begin to comment on Welsh medium education, but as a user of both SSiW and Duolingo I can say they are very complementary. SSiW is entirely audio based, which is great for my ‘Welsh Walks’, but I often wonder how words are spelled etc, so using Duolingo and having to type the Welsh over and over is very reinforcing.