Centre for Education Studies Celebrates 25 Years

19 October 2007

CAA is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The Centre for Educational Studies at Aberystwyth University was established in 1982 following a call from teachers in Welsh medium secondary schools for a centre of Welsh language teaching resource to be established.

The idea received the support of the late Professor Roger Webster, Head of the University's Department of Education, and Mr Illtyd Lloyd, Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools, and Glyn Saunders Jones was appointed as director for what was to be, initially, a year-long project. Such was its success that Glyn continued in the post of director for 20 years before being succeeded by Helen Emanuel Davies in 2002 and by Lynwen Rees Jones in 2006.

Today the Centre for Educational Studies is one of Wales' leading publishers of educational resources, and produces materials of a very high standard in Welsh and English and many mediums, from books, CDs, interactive CD-ROMs, to multimedia packs and online activities. Since it was established it has produced around 1800 publications.

Lynwen Rees Jones, Director of the Centre for Educations Studies said:In the beginning the main purpose of the Centre was to develop Welsh medium education in secondary schools, which was done by collecting materials from each of the bilingual schools in order to create a central resource bank. Today the Centre produces teaching materials for every age group, from foundation phase to post-16 and for all levels of ability and for nearly every subject offered in schools.

With over 50 schools offering subjects through the medium of Welsh and over 30 of these being designated Welsh medium or bilingual schools, there is an increasing demand for Welsh language resources. In 1982 6,390 pupils sat O Level / CSE examinations set by the Welsh Joint Education Committee through the medium of Welsh with 440 sitting A Level examinations. By 2006 the numbers had increased significantly: short GCSE courses - 3,205; full and vocational GCSE – 19,479; AS level – 2,709; A Level – 2,484. It is clear that Welsh medium education has firmly established itself and that there is a need for quality learning resources to support this increase.

To mark this important milestone the Centre launched its latest series, Yr Hen Ffordd Gymreig (The Old Welsh Way), at Nanteos Mansion near Aberystwyth on Thursday 11th October. Yr Hen Ffordd Gymreig is a series of six leisure reading books for children aged 9 to 13 which tells the story of the Welsh over the centuries on the themes of Homes, Crime and Punishment, and Sailors and the Sea.

The author, Dr Catrin Stevens, spoke to pupils from Ysgol Gyfun Penweddig during the launch – asking them questions and holding a quiz on the contents of the books and on Welsh history, and telling ghost stories about Nanteos Mansion. The guests also had the chance to have a look around ths mansion following light refreshments. Delegates from Aberystwyth University, the WJEC, and the National Assembly for Wales were present, and BBC Radio Cymru were recording live from the event for the 'Post Cynta' and 'Post Prynhawn' programmes.

Rhiannon Jones, a teacher in the Welsh department at Ysgol Gyfun Penweddig said: A lot of children think they have to read through countless books in the history world, but these books have been set out attractive and colourful. The children can open the book on any page and read it, and this is often appealing. Penweddig pupils have been coming back to me asking 'Can I have the next one? I want to see it.' I like that – it says it all.

A formal dinner was also held in The Upper Dining Room, Penbryn, Aberystwyth on Friday, 12th October to celebrate CAA's 25th anniversary. A plesant evening was had by all.

Some of the highlights of the Centre for Educational Studies:

  • 1981 Call for a centre of educational resource from teachers at bilingual schools.
  • 1982 Centre for Educational Studies established by Aberystwyth University.
  • 1984 First book published under the name Centre for Educational Studies: 'Gwres, Ynysu a Golau' (Heat, Insulation and Light) from the series Cyfres y Cartref (The Homes Series).
  • 1999 Two major dictionaries published, German-Welsh Welsh-German, and French-Welsh, Welsh-French. Three pocket dictionaries have also been published, Le Petit Dico and Geiriadur Almaeneg (German Dictionary) 1996 and the Geiriadur Sbaeneg (Spanish Dictionary) in 2007.
  • 2002 Work begins on Taith Iaith, a series for Welsh learners of all levels aged 11 to 16 years that includes course books, activity books, CDs, supplementary reading books, on-line activities and a DVD. This is the Centre's most successful project with sales of over 40,000 titles.
  • 2003 Cyfres Clic, a series of reading books and work sheets for pupils in Key Stages 2 and 3 is awarded first prize in the Basic Skills Agency Book Awards.
  • 2004 Centre awarded 'Tir na n-Og Prize' for 'Best English Book of the Year' – The Battle of Mametz Wood by Robin Evans, from the series Cymru a'r Byd / Wales and the World, which is aimed at pupils studying History in Key Stage 3.
  • 2005 Chwyldro! Chwyldro? (Revolution! Revolution?) by Robin Evans. One of four books to be short-listed in the category 'Book of the Year other than Fiction'.
  • 2006 Sgíl, by Meinir Ebbsworth, a book and file which promotes and reinforces basic skills in Welsh at Key Stage 3 awarded second prize in the Basic Skills Books Awards.
  • 2007 celebrating 25th anniversary and the fact that around 1800 publications have been produced during this time.

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