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The goal for a Wales of vibrant culture and thriving Welsh language

A society that promotes and protects culture, heritage and the Welsh language, and which encourages people to participate in the arts, sports and recreation.

Sport participation

The latest school sport survey ran during 2022 with results due to be published in the autumn. The previous survey from 2018 showed that 48% of pupils in school years 3 to 11 participated in sports three times a week. This was unchanged from 2015, following a large increase from 2013.

There was very little difference in overall participation rates between primary and secondary schools, with 47% of primary pupils (aged 7 to 11) and 48% of secondary pupils (aged 11 to 16) participating three times a week in sports.

Boys were more likely to regularly participate in sport than girls (50% versus 46%), but the gap had narrowed compared to the previous survey in 2015. Participation rates for pupils from the least deprived schools tended to be higher than for pupils from the most deprived schools. Rates were also higher for pupils from a mixed or multiple ethnic group and for pupils who were fluent in Welsh.

Research by Sport Wales during the pandemic found that by August 2021 adults reported that their children were doing more sport or physical activity outside of school hours than they typically would have before the pandemic.

Bar chart showing the percentage of children participating in sport three or more times a week in 2013, 2015 and 2018. In 2015 and 2018 the figure was 48 per cent.

Participation in the arts

Data from the Arts Council of Wales shows that the share of children and young people attending arts events has increased over the last decade, although there was a slight decrease in the most recent year that data is available. It rose from 76.3% in 2010 to 86.7% in 2019. Data is not yet available for the period covering the pandemic.

Arts participation in children has been broadly unchanged over recent years. Around 86% to 87% of children and young people have taken part in the arts in each of the last four years up to 2019.

There are differences in attendance and participation according to gender and socio-economic background. Girls and children from higher social-economic backgrounds were more likely to attend and participate in the arts, although the gap between boys and girls narrowed in 2019.

Line chart covering 2010 to 2019 showing the percentage of 7 to 18 year olds attending arts events once a year or more. The chart shows an increase between 2010 and 2019 from 76 per cent to 87 per cent, although there have been small falls in some years along the way.

Welsh language use

Children and young people are the group most likely to report they are able to speak Welsh according to both the census and surveys, with both sources suggesting that around 40% of 3 to 15 year olds are able to do so. Younger people beyond the age of compulsory education are less likely to report that they speak Welsh.

The Welsh Language Use Survey provides analysis of the use of Welsh language amongst children and adults. It showed that children are most likely to use Welsh daily, likely due to regular use in schools. The percentage of 3 to 15 year olds who spoke Welsh daily was considerably higher than any other age group, with almost a quarter of them speaking Welsh daily. The percentage of 3 to 15 year olds who spoke Welsh daily is similar to the percentage of pupils who receive their education in Welsh-medium or bilingual primary, middle and secondary schools, although we do not know if they are necessarily the same children.

Children aged 3 to 15 are much more likely to have started learning to speak the language at school than those aged 65 or older (69% compared to 15%). This is probably due to the significant change in the Welsh-medium education sector over the last fifty years, with a general increase in the number of pupils learning through the medium of Welsh and in the number of Welsh-medium schools that have been opened across Wales.

The youngest age group are less likely to have at least one parent who is fluent in Welsh. 36% of children aged 3 to 15 reported this, compared to 69% for people aged 65 or older.

Data sources and further reading