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Attitudes to the compulsory Welsh GCSE watch

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    For my Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification, I'm looking at the general attitudes towards the compulsory teaching of Welsh in secondary education.

    http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/JPVJY7L If you could complete my survey (It's very short) I would be hugely grateful

    If anyone has any comments or opinions on the subject it would be hugely useful to me.
    Personally I feel that enforcing a language on people who don't want to learn it, or don't have an aptitude for languages is a waste of money, and time that could be spent helping the child achieve more important grades in English and maths.
    I also feel that printing the council documents in both languages is a huge waste of money and resources, it should be an opt in service, as less than 20% of people in Wales speak welsh fluently.

    But that's my opinion, if yours differs, that's cool, and it would be useful to get others perspectives on the issue for my investigation

    Thanks
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    (Original post by Cake Faced Kid.)
    For my Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification, I'm looking at the general attitudes towards the compulsory teaching of Welsh in secondary education.

    http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/JPVJY7L If you could complete my survey (It's very short) I would be hugely grateful

    If anyone has any comments or opinions on the subject it would be hugely useful to me.
    Personally I feel that enforcing a language on people who don't want to learn it, or don't have an aptitude for languages is a waste of money, and time that could be spent helping the child achieve more important grades in English and maths.
    I also feel that printing the council documents in both languages is a huge waste of money and resources, it should be an opt in service, as less than 20% of people in Wales speak welsh fluently.

    But that's my opinion, if yours differs, that's cool, and it would be useful to get others perspectives on the issue for my investigation

    Thanks
    Personally I never saw the point in teaching Arts in my school, would much prefer to learn languages myself!

    And since I live in a Welsh speaking area I think it would be disrespectful to print official documents and the like in English only.
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    (Original post by chrissiechapman)
    Personally I never saw the point in teaching Arts in my school, would much prefer to learn languages myself!

    And since I live in a Welsh speaking area I think it would be disrespectful to print official documents and the like in English only.
    Arts aren't a compulsory GCSE though. I do see where your coming from with the council documents seeing as you live in a Welsh speaking area, living in Cardiff though, it seems like it would be more respectful to print the documents in English, Welsh, Somali, Urdu, Arabic and Bengali. Cheers for your response though, it helps a lot.
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    bump (sorry, I just really need survey responses)
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    I have completed your survey but with little to contribute since I am English and live in England

    However, I think that there is great value in preserving culture and language so I can see the value in promoting learning of the Welsh Language in schools

    I guess the real issue is wether you consider Welsh to be a "foreign language" or not ... if not then it is no different to English being compulsory in English schools ... if so then I think it should be offered as an option against other language choices
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    (Original post by Cake Faced Kid.)
    Arts aren't a compulsory GCSE though. I do see where your coming from with the council documents seeing as you live in a Welsh speaking area, living in Cardiff though, it seems like it would be more respectful to print the documents in English, Welsh, Somali, Urdu, Arabic and Bengali. Cheers for your response though, it helps a lot.
    But Welsh is a language from Wales, the other languages you've mentioned are not and are from people who've chosen to move to Wales.
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    (Original post by Cake Faced Kid.)
    For my Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification, I'm looking at the general attitudes towards the compulsory teaching of Welsh in secondary education.

    http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/JPVJY7L If you could complete my survey (It's very short) I would be hugely grateful

    If anyone has any comments or opinions on the subject it would be hugely useful to me.
    Personally I feel that enforcing a language on people who don't want to learn it, or don't have an aptitude for languages is a waste of money, and time that could be spent helping the child achieve more important grades in English and maths.
    I also feel that printing the council documents in both languages is a huge waste of money and resources, it should be an opt in service, as less than 20% of people in Wales speak welsh fluently.

    But that's my opinion, if yours differs, that's cool, and it would be useful to get others perspectives on the issue for my investigation

    Thanks
    I think personally all kids should start learning it when they start primary school in the same way kids from other countries (and indeed some Welsh kids) learn English from the moment they start primary school. Welsh is your national language after all, not the language of a country further away that you might only visit once in a while.
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    (Original post by jelly1000)
    But Welsh is a language from Wales, the other languages you've mentioned are not and are from people who've chosen to move to Wales.
    But when there are more people in an area that speak those languages than Welsh, surely you begin to question how worthwhile it really is to sink so much money into the language?

    (Original post by jelly1000)
    I think personally all kids should start learning it when they start primary school in the same way kids from other countries (and indeed some Welsh kids) learn English from the moment they start primary school. Welsh is your national language after all, not the language of a country further away that you might only visit once in a while.
    It may be the national language, and I'm not disputing that it's all very nice when people can speak it, but what's the point in being forced to learn a language? (Forced being the operative word, I have no problem with the subject being taught to pupils who are interested and willing to learn.)

    If you don't mind me asking, were you taught Welsh in school? I ask this because the teaching is shambolic, or at least it was in the three schools I attended. From years 7 to 10, you turned up to your Welsh lesson, taught by the least competent in the Welsh department because, of course, no-one wanted to be there, and what's the point in wasting good teachers on kids who don't want to learn? They attempted to teach us how to describe a trip to the leisure centre when the majority could barely remember how to say where we lived, or how old we were in Welsh.

    Of course, by now (year 12) pretty much all of my knowledge of Welsh has gone. Four years wasted. Had I been able to choose another GCSE option, I could have achieved a worthwhile A. But no, I scraped a C in a subject I despised. What about the pupils who desperately needed extra help in the more essential GCSEs? What use is the welsh language going to be to them when they can barely get the minimum qualifications required for most jobs/college courses etc? What use will describing the leisure centre in Welsh be then?

    tl;dr. If the Welsh assembly government insist on making Welsh compulsory, at least bring the teaching standards up to scratch. If not, stop forcing the subject onto uninterested students.

    /rant over.
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    In my school we had one welsh lesson a week and for some reason full course higher was compulsory. We spent every lesson watching the first hour of Forrest Gump. Needless to say, most people failed. It really wasn't inspiring.


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    (Original post by Cake Faced Kid.)
    But when there are more people in an area that speak those languages than Welsh, surely you begin to question how worthwhile it really is to sink so much money into the language?



    It may be the national language, and I'm not disputing that it's all very nice when people can speak it, but what's the point in being forced to learn a language? (Forced being the operative word, I have no problem with the subject being taught to pupils who are interested and willing to learn.)

    If you don't mind me asking, were you taught Welsh in school? I ask this because the teaching is shambolic, or at least it was in the three schools I attended. From years 7 to 10, you turned up to your Welsh lesson, taught by the least competent in the Welsh department because, of course, no-one wanted to be there, and what's the point in wasting good teachers on kids who don't want to learn? They attempted to teach us how to describe a trip to the leisure centre when the majority could barely remember how to say where we lived, or how old we were in Welsh.

    Of course, by now (year 12) pretty much all of my knowledge of Welsh has gone. Four years wasted. Had I been able to choose another GCSE option, I could have achieved a worthwhile A. But no, I scraped a C in a subject I despised. What about the pupils who desperately needed extra help in the more essential GCSEs? What use is the welsh language going to be to them when they can barely get the minimum qualifications required for most jobs/college courses etc? What use will describing the leisure centre in Welsh be then?

    tl;dr. If the Welsh assembly government insist on making Welsh compulsory, at least bring the teaching standards up to scratch. If not, stop forcing the subject onto uninterested students.

    /rant over.
    I'm actually English and went to an English school but I have family in Wales and where they live the elderly frequently only speak Welsh and the kids are all brought up bilingual and go to Welsh speaking schools. I wasn't aware of how bad the teaching was where you live. If I'd gone to school in Wales I'd have wanted to go to a Welsh speaking school from a young age so I could become bilingual- I've very envious of the little kids I see who are.

    The bit I've bolded is a bit like saying well in an area populated by immigrants they shouldn't learn the native language.
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    (Original post by Cake Faced Kid.)
    But when there are more people in an area that speak those languages than Welsh, surely you begin to question how worthwhile it really is to sink so much money into the language?
    Surely this is the point

    Wales has a language ... if it is not being used by people who have moved there then the Welsh authorities are right to say that they want it taught in schools

    A friend of mine works in a Primary reception class where none of her students speak English at home ... should she not teach them English




    The poor teaching is a different issue and needs to be addressed
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    I agree with the teaching of Welsh in schools, I am very envious of those who went to a Welsh primary on the basis that it would be relatively easy to gain that second fluent language that way.

    In my secondary school, we had the choice to do welsh as a short course or full course. The teaching was excellent however so I guess it depends on the school.

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    I wholly support the idea that everyone schooled in Wales should become acquainted with the Welsh language through the education system. The many practical benefits that learning Welsh has aside, if we are to ensure the survival of the Welsh language for future generations, Welsh must have total parity with English in all walks of life within Wales. If one language is perceived to have a higher status than another; if a service is offered in one language but denied in another, one language used to advertise and another not, one language taught in schools and another not, then the outcome becomes inevitable - the weaker language will die. Leave Welsh out of the compulsory section of the national curriculum and you seal its fate.

    We haven't yet got total parity, though the situation has improved almost beyond recognition over the course of the past sixty years. A Welsh speaker from the fifties would be amazed at what we have now; a Welsh language radio station, TV station, Welsh on road signs, ATMs, shop signs, official correspondence. Not to mention the ubiquitous nature of Welsh medium education, official status for the language, and a national parliament which hosts fully bilingual debates. We've still got a ways to go, though - the private sector is yet to notice that things have changed in Wales, and reducing the status of Welsh in education would be a massive step backwards.

    (Original post by Cake Faced Kid.)
    If you don't mind me asking, were you taught Welsh in school? I ask this because the teaching is shambolic, or at least it was in the three schools I attended. From years 7 to 10, you turned up to your Welsh lesson, taught by the least competent in the Welsh department because, of course, no-one wanted to be there, and what's the point in wasting good teachers on kids who don't want to learn? They attempted to teach us how to describe a trip to the leisure centre when the majority could barely remember how to say where we lived, or how old we were in Welsh.

    tl;dr. If the Welsh assembly government insist on making Welsh compulsory, at least bring the teaching standards up to scratch. If not, stop forcing the subject onto uninterested students.
    (Original post by awayinmyhead)
    In my school we had one welsh lesson a week and for some reason full course higher was compulsory. We spent every lesson watching the first hour of Forrest Gump. Needless to say, most people failed. It really wasn't inspiring.
    An indictment of the quality of Welsh teaching in English medium schools, but not something which undermines the principle that everyone should be taught basic Welsh. I don't disbelieve either of you, though; I've heard real horror stories of the quality of Welsh lessons in English schools. I do wonder sometimes whether we shouldn't temporarily restrict the teaching of Welsh in English schools until we have a deep enough talent pool to teach it everywhere at a high enough quality.

    I do think, though, that the teaching of Welsh (and foreign languages, for that matter) should begin early on in primary school, when the brain is at its most receptive for the learning of new languages.
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    If it was taught properly I'd really enjoy it!

    But I'm not and it's just forced on us...
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    Waste of time and money, there are barely any welsh speakers who don't speak another language.
    Also, welsh medium schools are a terrible idea. I had a friend who attended a welsh school then changed to an english one and needed help with homework due to not knowing the English words for many science/maths words. Great for employment prospects no doubt, even in wales no real business is conducted in welsh.
    Even if you think it doesn't hurt, teaching in French would give the same bilingual benefits, and more then 400,000 people speak that.

    Reviving Hebrew only worked because more then a few people in Israel actually cared.

    (Original post by Kaiser MacCleg)
    A Welsh speaker from the fifties would be amazed at what we have now; a Welsh language radio station, TV station, Welsh on road signs, ATMs, shop signs, official correspondence.
    Welsh road signs are such a joke. The driving test isn't conducted in welsh, if you don't know the sign saying slow means araf you shouldn't be driving.
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    Learning a second language has been shown to reduce to risk of dementia, so perhaps teaching Welsh in primary through to high school isn't a bad idea. I had to do GCSEs in a minimum of 2 foreign languages (children with dyslexia/disabilities could choose to only do one MFL).

    Although I am not Welsh, I have been brought up bilingual, and hence have had a better understanding and appreciation of that culture. Being able to speak two languages has encouraged me to speak, and to continue to speak, a third language as it's easier to learn if you already speak more than one language. I think this enriches my life as I'm able to appreciate things like movies/arts in that language, even when the majority of the people I speak in a foreign language speak English too.
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    (Original post by Haze)
    Waste of time and money, there aren't any welsh speakers who don't speak another language.
    FTFY.

    At least, no one over the age of 5. Not that that makes learning Welsh a waste of time and money.

    Also, welsh medium schools are a terrible idea. I had a friend who attended a welsh school then changed to an english one and needed help with homework due to not knowing the English words for many science/maths words.
    The entirety of my education, prior to university, was conducted through the medium of Welsh. As I chose to pursue a degree in the sciences at university, I too had to go through the process of learning the English equivalents to a number of technical terms. It was a small task, however, and in no way impacted my ability to learn and understand the concepts required. If that is the biggest disadvantage of a Welsh medium education, then it is a very small price to pay to be fully bilingual.

    Of course, anecdotal evidence means precisely nothing in any case. If you have any actual statistics that bolster your case that Welsh medium schools are a terrible idea, please present them.

    - Great for employment prospects no doubt, even in wales no real business is conducted in welsh.
    Well, yes, it is, regardless of what you consider to be "real business".

    Even if you think it doesn't hurt, teaching in French would give the same bilingual benefits, and more then 400,000 people speak that.
    Well yes, it would, and the two are not mutually exclusive. I would support the compulsory teaching of both Welsh and a foreign language from primary school onward.

    More than 400,000 people speak Welsh, too.

    Reviving Hebrew only worked because more then a few people in Israel actually cared.
    Revival implies that the language has died; Welsh has not. If you think that what Welsh suffers from is a dearth of good will towards the language, prepare to be disappointed.

    Welsh road signs are such a joke. The driving test isn't conducted in welsh, if you don't know the sign saying slow means araf you shouldn't be driving.
    The benefits of Welsh road signs lie not so much in communication as in ensuring parity for Welsh and English.
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    (Original post by Kaiser MacCleg)
    FTFY.

    At least, no one over the age of 5. Not that that makes learning Welsh a waste of time and money.


    The entirety of my education, prior to university, was conducted through the medium of Welsh. As I chose to pursue a degree in the sciences at university, I too had to go through the process of learning the English equivalents to a number of technical terms. It was a small task, however, and in no way impacted my ability to learn and understand the concepts required. If that is the biggest disadvantage of a Welsh medium education, then it is a very small price to pay to be fully bilingual.

    Of course, anecdotal evidence means precisely nothing in any case. If you have any actual statistics that bolster your case that Welsh medium schools are a terrible idea, please present them.
    Asserting there are any benefits to a specifically welsh/english education without evidence means precisely nothing as well. Being fully bilingual is great, and worth overcoming that problem. But raising my son in fluent klingon is still a bad idea when there are languages people speak to chose from. I'm not saying we should ban Welsh medium schools, just the government should encourage more MFL ones.

    Well, yes, it is, regardless of what you consider to be "real business".
    Business that couldn't be conducted in English just as easily.

    Well yes, it would, and the two are not mutually exclusive. I would support the compulsory teaching of both Welsh and a foreign language from primary school onward.

    More than 400,000 people speak Welsh, too.

    Revival implies that the language has died; Welsh has not. If you think that what Welsh suffers from is a dearth of good will towards the language, prepare to be disappointed.
    Well, wikipedia and all, but it says 320,000 consider themselves fluent. If the welsh language has so many supporters, why is it necessary for the government to force every child to learn it? All these native speakers can keep it alive in their own communites. I'm not opposed to learning welsh or teaching it to your children, I just think selecting compulsory subjects should be done with more care.

    Lets look at some numbers from the link you posted:
    Is there a need to strengthen further the status of the Welsh language?
    Yes: 59%
    Should parents and pupils in Wales have the choice to opt out of studying Welsh as a subject in school?
    Yes: 54%
    NO: 43%
    For what the source calls overwhelming support, 59% in favour of even strengthening it further is pretty pathetic, and the number in favour of compulsory welsh is even worse at 43%
    83% want to strengthen the culture and admittedly 78% want bilingual government documents. I agree with most of the survey results, people should teach their kids all the languages they know and Welsh should be available as an opt in GCSE.

    PS. if anyone could find a copy of that survey I would be grateful, the link is broken and I want to see how it was conducted, bearing in mind it was performed by
    Beaufort [...] to our knowledge, the only Omnibus Survey of Welsh speakers.
    at the request of BBC radio cymru.

    EDIT:
    (Original post by BBC story)
    Half a century on, Radio Cymru has surveyed 510 Welsh speakers, and 510 non-Welsh speakers.
    What a joke. Let's deliberately survey a biassed population, who by the way only came out 55% in favour of compulsory welsh. Taxpayer money was spent on this farce.
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    (Original post by Haze)
    Asserting there are any benefits to a specifically welsh/english education without evidence means precisely nothing as well.
    Nothing I said applies exclusively to Welsh medium education, and to say that I said otherwise is nothing more than a strawman. There is certainly a major benefit to an education in the UK that is not through the medium of English, however; you guarantee yourself fluency in more than one language.

    Being fully bilingual is great, and worth overcoming that problem. But raising my son in fluent klingon is still a bad idea when there are languages people speak to chose from.
    I disagree. If you wish to teach your son Klingon, then that's great: a new language will open up new synaptic connections in his brain no matter what it may be. It would be a bad idea to teach him only Klingon, but it's not as if students in Welsh medium schools learn only Welsh.

    I'm not saying we should ban Welsh medium schools, just the government should encourage more MFL ones
    That's not a bad idea, and one which I would probably support, if enough staff could be found to provide a rounded education in whichever MFL we're talking about. This isn't an "either or" issue, as you seem to be framing it.

    Well, wikipedia and all, but it says 320,000 consider themselves fluent.
    You said "people who speak", not "people who are fluent". I'll add "moving the goalposts" to the list of logical fallacies utilised by your good self in this thread, shall I?

    If the welsh language has so many supporters, why is it necessary for the government to force every child to learn it? All these native speakers can keep it alive in their own communites. I'm not opposed to learning welsh or teaching it to your children, I just think selecting compulsory subjects should be done with more care.
    Because the survival of minority languages, no matter what they are or where they may be, is highly dependent on ensuring total parity with the majority language within public life. This includes ensuring that the opportunity to use the minority language is available to individuals when liaising with the public sector, with charities and private organisations, when travelling, carrying out transactions, and, most importantly; in the course of their education. Anything less than total parity ensures the continued erosion of the minority language in terms of social status and use within the community. If English is compulsory within education, then Welsh must be too if it is to have any chance of escaping extinction.

    Lets look at some numbers from the link you posted:

    For what the source calls overwhelming support, 59% in favour of even strengthening it further is pretty pathetic, and the number in favour of compulsory welsh is even worse at 43%
    59% is pretty pathetic? I cannot agree with you there. 59% is a very clear majority, especially considering that the options given included a "don't know" and the proportion not in favour of further measures stood at a mere 35%.

    I'm glad you managed to cherry pick the one answer which puts you on the same side as the majority. After all, lists are all the more entertaining for being long.

    If 59% being in favour of further strengthening the status of Welsh, 78% being in favour of official documents being printed in Welsh, 43% being in favour of Welsh being a compulsory subject at school and 83% in favour of parents passing the language on does not satisfy you that the people of Wales do, in fact, care about Welsh, then I don't know what would.

    PS. if anyone could find a copy of that survey I would be grateful, the link is broken and I want to see how it was conducted, bearing in mind it was performed by
    at the request of BBC radio cymru.

    EDIT:
    (Original post by BBC story)
    Half a century on, Radio Cymru has surveyed 510 Welsh speakers, and 510 non-Welsh speakers.
    What a joke. Let's deliberately survey a biassed population, who by the way only came out 55% in favour of compulsory welsh. Taxpayer money was spent on this farce.
    It's a shame that the links have died, yeah. I did have the survey on my computer at one point, but unfortunately I can't find it now. The disparate reporting regarding the sample population in WalesOnline and the BBC is interesting - the article I linked to states that 83% of the respondents didn't speak Welsh. I wonder who's right?

    I really think you should consider your position further before arguing along the same lines as creationists and climate change deniers by claiming that the source of the funding determine the outcome of research.

    Oh, and it's not taxpayer money, btw. It's licence fee payer money.
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    (Original post by Kaiser MacCleg)
    Nothing I said applies exclusively to Welsh medium education, and to say that I said otherwise is nothing more than a strawman. There is certainly a major benefit to an education in the UK that is not through the medium of English, however; you guarantee yourself fluency in more than one language.


    I disagree. If you wish to teach your son Klingon, then that's great: a new language will open up new synaptic connections in his brain no matter what it may be. It would be a bad idea to teach him only Klingon, but it's not as if students in Welsh medium schools learn only Welsh.

    That's not a bad idea, and one which I would probably support, if enough staff could be found to provide a rounded education in whichever MFL we're talking about. This isn't an "either or" issue, as you seem to be framing it.
    I think we are talking past each other here. Learning a language has many benefits, but schools have only so much time and money. I was being hyperbolic when I said teaching welsh is a waste of time, but teaching any other modern language is better. We are talking about the spending of public money.

    You said "people who speak", not "people who are fluent". I'll add "moving the goalposts" to the list of logical fallacies utilised by your good self in this thread, shall I?

    Because the survival of minority languages, no matter what they are or where they may be, is highly dependent on ensuring total parity with the majority language within public life. This includes ensuring that the opportunity to use the minority language is available to individuals when liaising with the public sector, with charities and private organisations, when travelling, carrying out transactions, and, most importantly; in the course of their education. Anything less than total parity ensures the continued erosion of the minority language in terms of social status and use within the community. If English is compulsory within education, then Welsh must be too if it is to have any chance of escaping extinction.
    You are arguing on the one hand Welsh is thriving, with a highly dedicated population, who use it for business, AND that it is in desperate need of propping up. You also don't provide any reason that a language that no one needs to communicate shouldn't erode and face extinction.
    59% is pretty pathetic? I cannot agree with you there. 59% is a very clear majority, especially considering that the options given included a "don't know" and the proportion not in favour of further measures stood at a mere 35%.

    I'm glad you managed to cherry pick the one answer which puts you on the same side as the majority. After all, lists are all the more entertaining for being long.

    If 59% being in favour of further strengthening the status of Welsh, 78% being in favour of official documents being printed in Welsh, 43% being in favour of Welsh being a compulsory subject at school and 83% in favour of parents passing the language on does not satisfy you that the people of Wales do, in fact, care about Welsh, then I don't know what would.
    The people of wales(a non-representative sample) are in favour of 'strengthening welsh' but when asked how, a clear overwhelming majority don't want to do it through forced education. And you accuse me of cherry picking, but don't produce any of the figures that I supposedly skipped. You didn't for the same reason I didn't, they have little bearing on support for compulsory Welsh education. Framing it as 43% in favour instead of 54% against is also a shameless distortion
    It's a shame that the links have died, yeah. I did have the survey on my computer at one point, but unfortunately I can't find it now. The disparate reporting regarding the sample population in WalesOnline and the BBC is interesting - the article I linked to states that 83% of the respondents didn't speak Welsh. I wonder who's right?
    Interesting, there are a few other differences between the two as well. I emailed Beaufort, so hopefully they have a copy.
    I really think you should consider your position further before arguing along the same lines as creationists and climate change deniers by claiming that the source of the funding determine the outcome of research.
    I didn't dismiss the results of the survey based on it's funding by a special interest group, or it's being conducted by a company with a vested interest in promoting the idea of Welsh speaking. Those are just red flags, just like a piece of research being conducted by the Discovery Institute. The reason to commission a third party is to avoid bias, not enhance it.

    Intellectually honest people check the methodology instead of parroting or dismissing evidence based on whether it agrees with them.
    Oh, and it's not taxpayer money, btw. It's licence fee payer money.
    Do you consider council tax a tax? Why is the licence fee different? (Bearing in mind it is classified as a tax by the Office of National Statistics.) You need neither houses nor TVs.
    If you want to sound smart, fact check yourself.
 
 
 
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