Technology increasing subject choice for pupils in rural Wales

The Welsh Government has extended an innovative programme which uses IT to connect schools in rural areas, making the programme available in schools in Powys and Carmarthenshire.

The ‘E-sgol’ programme uses video technology to connect classrooms so pupils from one school can join classes at other schools remotely, enabling students to access a greater range of subjects at GCSE and A level.  

The project allows teachers to provide pupils with live feedback, while pupils can participate in the lesson as if the teacher were in the same room.  The system can also create links with universities to provide enrichment sessions for AS and A Level. 

E-sgol was launched in Ceredigion in 2018. Lessons are available in Welsh and English and allow more subject choice for pupils who may be limited due to the rurality of their school. Some of the subjects being taught via E-sgol now include Further Mathematics, Criminology, Politics and Mandarin.

The Education Minister, Kirsty Williams, will visit Llanfyllin High School today to meet students and teachers and view a live demonstration of lessons using the technology. 

Kirsty Williams said:

“I feel passionately that all school pupils in Wales should have the same study opportunities, be that at a city centre school or one in the countryside.

“E-sgol uses technology in an innovative way that makes a real difference to students in rural areas by increasing the subjects available to them and broadening their career options after school.

“Taking action to support rural schools has been one of my top priorities over this Government’s term. Along with our investment through our 21st Century School programme and the presumption against rural closures, E-sgol is another example of how we’re ensuring equity for pupils, regardless of where they live.”

Dr Lewis Pryce, a Mathematics teacher at Llanfyllin High School, said:

“Any apprehension I had about e-sgol quickly evaporated when the teaching started. The process of teaching multiple schools has been seamless and the pupils have enjoyed the lessons and been a pleasure to teach. By now, I see no difference between my video lessons and my traditional lessons.

“It is also great to be able to teach Further Mathematics at A Level, something which, without this project, would be unlikely to happen.”

Technoleg yn cynyddu’r dewis pynciau i ddisgyblion yng nghefn gwlad Cymru

Mae Llywodraeth Cymru wedi ehangu rhaglen arloesol sy’n defnyddio TG i gysylltu ysgolion mewn ardaloedd gwledig, gan gynnig y ddarpariaeth ym Mhowys a Sir Gaerfyrddin.  

Mae rhaglen ‘E-sgol’ yn defnyddio technoleg fideo i gysylltu dosbarthiadau, fel bod disgyblion un ysgol yn gallu ymuno â dosbarthiadau mewn ysgolion eraill, gan roi mynediad i fyfyrwyr i ystod ehangach o bynciau ar lefel TGAU a Safon Uwch.  

Mae’r prosiect yn caniatáu i athrawon roi adborth byw i ddisgyblion, a gall disgyblion gymryd rhan yn y wers fel pe bai’r athro yn yr un ystafell. Gall y system hefyd gysylltu â phrifysgolion i ddarparu sesiynau cyfoethogi at ddibenion UG a Safon Uwch. 

Lansiwyd E-sgol yng Ngheredigion yn 2018. Mae’r gwersi ar gael yn Gymraeg ac yn Saesneg, ac maent yn caniatáu mwy o ddewis pynciau i ddisgyblion y gallai’r ffaith eu bod mewn ysgol mor wledig gyfyngu arnynt. Erbyn hyn, mae’r pynciau sy’n cael eu haddysgu drwy E-sgol yn cynnwys Mathemateg Bellach, Troseddeg, Gwleidyddiaeth a Mandarin.

Heddiw, bydd y Gweinidog Addysg, Kirsty Williams, yn ymweld ag Ysgol Uwchradd Llanfyllin i gwrdd â myfyrwyr ac athrawon a gweld y dechnoleg ar waith.  

Dywedodd Kirsty Williams:

“Dw i’n teimlo’n gryf y dylai pob disgybl ysgol yng Nghymru gael yr un cyfleoedd astudio, p’un a ydyn nhw yng nghanol dinas neu yn y wlad.

“Mae E-sgol yn defnyddio technoleg mewn ffordd arloesol sy’n gwneud gwahaniaeth gwirioneddol i fyfyrwyr mewn ardaloedd gwledig drwy gynyddu’r pynciau sydd ar gael iddyn nhw ac ehangu eu hopsiynau o ran gyrfa ar ôl gadael yr ysgol.

“Mae cymryd camau i gefnogi ysgolion gwledig wedi bod yn un o ‘mhrif flaenoriaethau yn ystod tymor y Llywodraeth hon. Yn ogystal â’n buddsoddiad drwy ein rhaglen Ysgolion y 21ain Ganrif a’r rhagdybiaeth yn erbyn cau ysgolion gwledig, mae E-sgol yn enghraifft arall o sut rydyn ni’n sicrhau tegwch i ddisgyblion, lle bynnag y maen nhw’n byw.”

Dywedodd Dr Lewis Pryce, athro mathemateg yn Ysgol Uwchradd Llanfyllin:

“Unwaith y gwnaethon ni ddechrau ar yr addysgu, mi ddiflannodd unrhyw bryderon a oedd gen i am E-sgol. Mae’r broses o addysgu sawl ysgol wedi bod yn llyfn iawn, ac mae’r disgyblion wedi mwynhau’r gwersi. Maen nhw wedi bod yn bleser eu haddysgu. Erbyn hyn, dw i ddim yn gweld unrhyw wahaniaeth rhwng fy ngwersi fideo a’m gwersi traddodiadol.

“Mae’n wych hefyd gallu addysgu Mathemateg Bellach ar lefel Safon Uwch. Heb y prosiect hwn, mi fyddai hynny wedi bod yn annhebygol.”

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