The first release of the Schools Census figures from January this year was published yesterday, and is available from this page.
The figures for Welsh-medium schools and pupils are in Table 2, and these can be compared with the overall figures in Table 5 to give the following percentages for primary schools:
2009 ... Total 258,314 ... WM 59,898 = 23.19%
2010 ... Total 257,445 ... WM 60,318 = 23.43%
2011 ... Total 259,189 ... WM 61,073 = 23.56%
2012 ... Total 262,144 ... WM 62,446 = 23.82%
2013 ... Total 264,186 ... WM 63,192 = 23.92%
The WM figure includes WM, Dual Stream and Transitional (50-70% in Welsh) Schools.
It's progress, but it's painfully slow progress. However this shouldn't come as a surprise, because it mirrors the same minuscule increases in Welsh first language assessments which were reported in the two annual reports on progress towards the targets set in the Welsh-medium Education Strategy that I talked about here and here.
I will repeat what I said before: that with this rate of progress there is absolutely no chance of us reaching the 25% target for Welsh first language assessments at the end of Key Stage 1 by 2015. The current Welsh Government has said that it wants to be judged on "delivery, delivery, delivery" ... but it isn't delivering. And for all Leighton Andrews' bluster and tough talk about Welsh, he is the one that failed to deliver on these targets. There's all the difference in the world between talking and doing.
These are the corresponding figures for secondary and middle schools:
Secondary (& Middle) Schools
2009 ... Total 205,421 ... WM 41,916 = 20.40%
2010 ... Total 203,907 ... WM 43,432 = 21.30%
2011 ... Total 201,230 ... WM 41,746 = 20.75%
2012 ... Total 198,015 ... WM 41,262 = 20.84%
2013 ... Total 194,895 ... WM 39,326 = 20.18%
The WM figure includes WM and Bilingual Schools.
Although it is very disappointing to see that the percentage is now at its lowest for five years, it's actually hard to tell exactly what is happening from these figures alone. This is because "bilingual" has a wide range of meanings, as defined in this document. A Category 2A school teaches at least 80% of subjects only in Welsh. Category 2B and 2C schools teach at least 80% and 50-79% of subjects in Welsh, but also teach those subjects in English. That means it is possible for students to be taught entirely in English in a Category 2B or 2C school, and for some of them (currently about a fifth of the total in WM and bilingual schools) to study Welsh to second rather than to first language standard.
Therefore the only reliable figure for Welsh to first language standard in secondary schools is the percentage assessed in Welsh first language, and that figure is not available in this first release. However the signs do not look good. In 2012, the percentage of Key Stage 3 assessments in Welsh first language was 16.3% out of the 20.8% in the table above. So with a 0.7% fall this year, it's very hard to see the figure of 16.3% going up. The target is 19% by 2015.
It pains me to say it, but the current Welsh Government is rushing headlong towards an ignominious failure to meet its own targets for WM education. Now that Carwyn has taken on direct responsibility for Welsh, he needs to wake up to what's happening and do something about it. Urgently.