No applications for Biology and Chemistry teacher training in the Welsh language

There were no applications to become a Biology or Chemistry teacher in the Welsh language last year, prompting calls to get more Welsh-speaking teachers into education.

Across all universities, only 60 candidates have enrolled for Initial Teacher Training (ITT) in Welsh, with STEM subjects being hit particularly hard, according to The National Education Union (NEU).

Despite Welsh Government targets aiming to recruit 2,200 Welsh speaking teachers by 2021, latest statistics reveal this goal has been missed for eight consecutive years.

Mary van den Heuvel, a Senior Policy Advisor at the NEU said secondary schools “are really struggling” to find Welsh speaking teachers.

She said: “The Welsh Government keeps missing the target for training teachers”.

“They’ve enrolled only sixty trainees to deliver through the medium of Welsh and they have enrolled no one for Chemistry and Biology… so it is quite a difficult situation.

“Currently you might have somebody teaching Maths which isn’t the subject they are trained to teach”.

It’s not just schools which are facing a shortage of Welsh teachers, supply agencies across Cardiff are also struggling.  

Ajaz Mozher is one of the directors at Staffroom Education- a supply agency based across South Wales- and says there simply aren’t enough Welsh speakers in education.

“We just don’t have enough Welsh speakers”.

Ajaz Mozher, Director at Staffroom Education

“We’ve got one Welsh speaker on our books and we’ve got 400+ people registered with us”.

“If that’s the trend we’ve got, then that’s going to be the trend across the board”.

By 2050 the Welsh Government aim to have 4,200 teachers at Welsh secondary schools, almost double the current amount.

This is part of a Government initiative to have 1 million Welsh speakers by 2050.

Education and Welsh Language Minister, Jeremy Miles, said: “Increasing the number of teachers who can teach through the medium of Welsh is key to reaching our goal of a million Welsh speakers by 2050”

It comes after applications for the “Cynllun Pontio” scheme opened yesterday, which encourages those who currently teach in England, but can speak Welsh, to return to Wales to teach.

The Education Minister has been approached for a comment regarding the Government’s failure to meet teacher training targets but hasn’t replied yet.