Teaching Literatures in Secondary Schools in Wales: Diversity in Welsh, English and International Languages

Sarah Olive, Mary Davies, Gwawr Maelor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article shares findings on what literatures are taught in secondary schools in Wales, and why, from a survey of forty-seven teachers across Wales in 2022. Our participants taught literatures in Welsh, English, drama, French and Spanish. This represents a cross-disciplinary and plurilingual approach to literatures in schools in Wales that distinguishes this research from previous studies. The research is closely concerned with the gender and ethnic diversity of authors in terms of meeting Welsh Government objectives for education and society. The results show that women continue to be under-represented as authors of poems, plays, and – to a slightly lesser extent – novels. They are somewhat better represented in Welsh-language literary studies than English-language ones. Only a handful of Authors of Colour were taught: they are located exclusively among the English- and French-language texts. No Authors of Colour of Welsh-language texts were taught. Our discussion contextualises an overall lack of diversity in teaching literatures in Wales – which jeopardises Welsh Government ambitions for Anti-racist Wales 2030 and the teaching of BAME histories and experiences – through comparisons with international research. It concludes by outlining recommendations for government, publishing, schools and teachers in terms of training, resources, and curriculum design, as well as areas for future research.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWales Journal of Education
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 12 Dec 2023


  • literature, diversity, secondary school, gender, ethnic, Welsh, English, drama, Wales


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