BANGOR University’s Welsh language provision has been rated “Excellent” by Estyn, the Inspector of Welsh Education and Training.
Welsh for adults, ‘Learn Welsh North West’ (DCGO), is one of 11 providers of Welsh for adults in Wales and employs over 70 people.
The university delivers the service on behalf of the National Center for Welsh Language Learning, and this Estyn Award confirms the university’s status as the highest quality provider in all of Wales.
With over 2,000 learners in Conwy, Gwynedd and Anglesey each year, this provision makes a hugely significant contribution to the aims of the Welsh Language Strategy 2050: Welsh Government’s A Million Speakers initiative.
Since the first lockdown two years ago and the switch to online learning, hundreds of new learners have learned Welsh on DCGO courses.
In addition to learners from Wales, a significant number of learners from around the world are now studying DCGO courses with great success.
Estyn noted that DCGO has “a very clear and strong vision to deliver a high quality service” and is “focused on ensuring rich learning experiences to support learner progress.”
In reference to learner success, they praised the fact that DCGO learners use Welsh in the community and “show a determination to be part of the Welsh communities in the area”.
Estyn praised DCGO’s efforts to protect the well-being of its learners and “prioritize creating a sense of inclusive learning community” and that the learners themselves “have strongly stated that learning from a distance [during Covid] had been very beneficial to their mental health and well-being during this time.”
Additionally, regarding the care and support provided to learners, Estyn noted that “the way in which all members of this tight-knit and caring community are fully committed to supporting all learners” is a “special characteristic”.
DCGO is the only provider of the 11 in Wales to receive an ‘Excellent’ rating for the quality of teaching provided by its staff.
Estyn noted that tutors “provide enriching experiences in virtual classrooms and communities that help learners develop confidence in speaking Welsh”.
In response to this, DCGO Director Dr Ifor Gruffydd said: “The two aspects that stand out in this report for me are the praise given to the ability and dedication of learners throughout, and the quality of our teaching staff who provide the highest quality service.
“Estyn has seen the result of both, a close and supportive learning community where learners are successful in learning the Welsh language.”
With Covid restrictions further eased by the Welsh Government, Dr Gruffydd is now looking forward to offering in-person classes again, as well as continuing online delivery.
“We now look forward to being able to offer choice to our current and new learners, and this Estyn report reassures them that what we have to offer is of the highest quality,” he added.