First Secondary School in North Wales to Gain Award!

Ysgol Aberconwy has been awarded the Siarter Iaith Uwchradd Bronze Award making us the first Secondary school in North Wales to achieve this accolade!

The award was presented to Headteacher, Ian Gerrard, and Coordinators Luned Parry and Elen Williams by Sharon Jones from GwE on Friday 15th September, in a small ceremony held at the school, in recognition of the work that the school, our staff and our students have done to promote Welsh heritage and language.

During the ceremony, the Siarter Iaith Coordinator and Welshness and Bilingualism coordinator explained how the school has made changes to promote and embody the Welsh language and culture into the fabric of every day school life, through the implementation of the Welsh Language Charter and other policies that encourage the use of Welsh in school. Luned Davies Parry, Deputy Head of the Welsh Department and Welsh Language Charter Coordinator, said, “I would like to thank everyone who has worked hard to achieve this award, especially the members of ‘Y Cyngor Iaith’ (the Language Council) who have taken a leading role in promoting the Welsh language and in monitoring departments. We started our journey on the basis of St. David’s famous words ‘Gwnewch y pethau bychain’ (Do the small things) and it grew from there. We have worked hard to establish a visual Welsh ethos around the school, noticeboards and signage are bilingual and all key areas of the school now have Welsh names. We have organised clubs and activities which develop the use and enjoyment of Welsh, the highlight being our school Eisteddfod celebrating Welshness, literature, communication and the Performing Arts. The Welsh Government aims to have a million Welsh speakers by 2050 and we are delighted to be doing our part to try to achieve this.”

The Siarter Iaith Welsh Language Charter was created to increase the use of Welsh in and beyond the classroom. It encourages participation from every member of the school community – students, parents, school governors and the wider community. Schools determine their current language use before developing an action plan to work towards a bronze, silver or gold award.

Upon receiving the award, Headteacher, Ian Gerrard said, “It is an honour to receive the Siarter Iaith award, which is testament to the work of so many students and staff at the school and which reflects the first part of our journey to being a school of Wales and not merely a school in Wales.  It’s a joy to see the language being used increasingly in the school, both in the corridors as well as in the classroom, and to experience just how much the new curriculum is shaping children’s understanding of our culture and heritage.  This is a huge ‘Da Iawn’ to everyone involved and a real motivator to  develop things further as we aim for the silver and gold awards!”