Radnor Primary School – Improving Standards of Welsh Second Language in a Primary School

Area(s) of focus: Improve pupil outcomes in Welsh

School(s) or partnership name: Radnor Primary School, Cardiff

Name of lead person: Peter Roderick

Lead person e-mail address: peterroderick@radnorprm.cardiff.sch.uk

Lead person telephone number: 02920 387506

Local Authority: Cardiff

Phase: Primary

Context and background to case study:

Estyn inspected the school in December 2014 and identified Welsh as an area for improvement.

Specific areas of concern were:

  • standards in Welsh second language and pupils’ bilingual skills were underdeveloped;
  • planning for the development of Welsh skills across the curriculum was at an early stage of development;
  • most pupils did not make enough progress in using Welsh in their work in other subjects and in less formal situations at school;
  • a majority of pupils’ reading and writing skills in Welsh were at an early stage of development;
  • planning for reading and writing was not effective;
  • The school did not have clear policies and procedures in place to promote Welsh outside lessons.


In addition, our Welsh in Education Officer assessment of standards of oracy in March 2015 was Good/Unsatisfactory/Adequate for Years 2/4/6, confirming the Estyn judgement that skills were underdeveloped.

Nature of strategy or activity:

Prior to Estyn’s visit, we had already made two big changes to Welsh at Radnor - the introduction of the CSC Welsh scheme of work and the implementation of the Helpwr Heddiw strategy. Both have been refined and we have introduced a number of other strategies to address all aspects of the recommendation.

Helpwr Heddiw – daily 10 minute oracy sessions held in all classes throughout the school. They are pupil-led and they practice and refine language patterns in the CSC Welsh Continuum document. Observations of HH sessions have been carried out by the deputy headteacher, who fed back to pupils. Follow-up observations were carried out to measure the impact of the initial feedback. After some informal pupil initiated peer observations of HH sessions took place, it was decided to make these more formal and these will take place across the school for the first time in March 2016.

Scheme of Work – followed by all classes. Approximately two of the suggested writing activities are highlighted per unit as required tasks to ensure that writing across the school is progressive and covers a wide range of genre.

Criw Cymraeg – one pupil from each class, meets every 1-2 weeks. Role includes Learning Walks to monitor the Welsh dimension, keeping records of Helpwr Heddiw sessions and implementing the Tocyn Iaith system.

Tocyn Iaith – awarded by Criw Cymraeg to pupils who are heard using Welsh independently around the school. Can be exchanged for prizes.

Certificates – awarded and presented at weekly awards assembly. Recipients chosen by the Helpwr Heddiw.

Welsh Reading

From Y2 onwards, independent Welsh reading is a part of the daily Group Guided Reading carousel. Twice a term these sessions are teacher-led and allow for assessment of reading skills.

Darllen Difyr, the Consortium-led Welsh reading initiative, is to be introduced across the school from Summer 2016.

Welsh across the Curriculum

Following INSET from the Welsh in Education Officer, there is an expectation that pupils will use simple Welsh words and phrases in their speaking and writing across the curriculum.

Impact on leadership and/or teaching and learning:

Oracy assessments have been carried out at regular intervals by the WEO. As the Helpwr Heddiw scheme has become more embedded, the results of the assessments have improved:

Date Y2 Y4 Y6
March '15 Good Unsatisfactory/ Adequate Adequate
July '15 Good/Excellent Good Good
Nov '15 Excellent Excellent Excellent

Staff and class surveys show a widely held perception that there have been significant improvements in the amount of Welsh being spoken in and out of class and improvements in the amount of Welsh reading going on in class.

Audits of writing in Years 2, 4 and 6 have shown that writing skills are progressive and at least age-appropriate and that a wide range of genres are being covered.

The next steps will be to monitor reading and to ensure that practice in provision and teaching of reading skills is consistent across the school.

Where has the effective practice been recognised?

The school has been recognised as having effective practice in teaching Welsh by the Welsh in Education department of CSC. Firstly by Cathryn Davies (see Listening to Learners reports July 2015 and Helpwr Heddiw Report June 2015) and by Deb Durham, WEO (see Listening to Learners reports November 2015 and Progress Report of the same date).