Are Welsh-medium schools in south-east Wales ‘middle class’?
7 August 2017
Are pupils who attend Welsh-medium schools in south-east Wales mostly from middle-class backgrounds and does it matter?
Siôn Llewelyn Jones, from Cardiff University’s School of Social Sciences, will examine these questions in a presentation at Cardiff University’s tent at the National Eisteddfod on Anglesey on Thursday 10 August at 16:00.
He said: “There is an assumption that as a result of school choice, the majority of students who go to Welsh-medium schools in south-east Wales are largely from privileged, middle-class backgrounds.
“I will examine whether this assumption reflects evidence on the social composition of Welsh-medium and English-medium schools.
“I will also explain how school choice contributes to the differences in the social composition of Welsh-medium and English-medium schools in south-east Wales.”
Cultural, educational and economic considerations
Mr Jones said parents were influenced by many factors when deciding whether to choose Welsh or English-medium schools including cultural, educational and economic considerations, and how they relate to the Welsh language.
While it is a complex matter to establish whether Welsh-medium schools are “middle class”, Mr Jones said the data did enable some conclusions to be drawn.
“Welsh-medium schools in south-east Wales on average have lower proportions of students from the poorest households because they have on average lower percentages of students on free school meals compared to English-medium schools in south-east Wales,” he said.
He said Welsh Government and local authorities needed to develop policies to ensure that children from all social backgrounds were able to access Welsh-medium education.
Cardiff University’s theme for the 2017 National Eisteddfod is Cardiff Connected – how Cardiff University and its students, staff and alumni are connected to Wales and beyond.