Two learners born thousand of miles apart end up working at same Welsh school

A Welsh language course brought the pair together.

Two women born thousands of miles apart have ended up working at the same Welsh language school after taking part in the same Welsh class.

Edina Potts-Klement from Hungary and Lin Dodd from China now call Caerphilly their home and have both recently been appointed to posts at the same local school - Ysgol Gymraeg Caerffili.

Edina and Lin moved to Caerphilly after meeting their partners, who are from Wales, abroad.  Lin met her husband, Martin, in Ireland and Edina met her husband, Neil, in Hungary. 

Both women wanted to send their children to a Welsh language primary school so they made the decision to learn Welsh after moving to Wales.

Edina said: "All four of our children were born in Wales, and I wanted them to receive their education through the medium of Welsh. 

"I love languages and speak Hungarian, German and English, so signing up to a Learn Welsh class to support the children was an easy decision."

Edina and Lin follow an Advanced level course with Learn Welsh Gwent and believe their posts at the school have strengthened their Welsh language skills.

Lin said: "My confidence as a Welsh speaker has grown even more since I started working at the school.  I am also able to continue using Welsh at home with my daughter, who is in Welsh medium education. 

"I was pleasantly surprised when Mr. Griffiths, the Head teacher, offered me the job and also extremely pleased as it had always been my goal to work at the school."

Both women wanted to send their children to a Welsh language primary school so they made the decision to learn Welsh after moving to Wales.

Lin decided to take her oath in Welsh during her citizenship ceremony in Ystrad Mynach in 2021, and her Learn Welsh tutor, Helen Hollyman, was present for the event.

"I was lucky to be there at the ceremony and I was very proud of Lin,” said Helen.

“Teaching Lin over the past five years has been a pleasure, and it’s wonderful to see how far she’s come. 

"Edina has also come a long way since I first met her two years ago. She’s conscientious, enthusiastic and has a clear flair for languages. I’m thrilled that they’re working in a Welsh language setting, and I’m sure they’re a great asset to Ysgol Gymraeg Caerffili."

Mr Lynn Griffiths, Head teacher at Ysgol Gymraeg Caerffili, added: "Edina’s first language is Hungarian and Lin’s first language is Mandarin, therefore having staff members who are plurilingual working at our school enables us to promote the importance of learning new languages. 

"Both Edina and Lin are great linguistic role models for everyone in our school community, and Lin’s Mandarin Club, which she runs through Welsh, has been very well received by pupils and parents alike. 

"We are all immensely proud of their achievements and see them as highly regarded members of our school family."

From September, those 18-25 year olds and all education practitioners will be able to enrol in free courses with the National Centre for Learning Welsh. At the same time, a new online learning resource will be made available to people aged 16-18.

It is part of the Welsh Government's efforts to increase the number of Welsh speakers and strengthen the teaching of the language in the new curriculum.

Last year, the language learning app 'Duolingo' announced that Welsh was the fastest growing language in the UK in 2020 - beating the amount of users taking up Hindi, Japanese, French and Turkish.