Posted: Mon 27th Mar 2023

Ambitious plans for all pupils in Wales to become confident Welsh speakers by 2050

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Monday, Mar 27th, 2023

New proposals which aim to enable all pupils in Wales to become confident Welsh speakers by 2050 have been published. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The Welsh Government, as part of the Co-operation Agreement with Plaid Cymru, has released a White Paper setting out proposals for a new Welsh Language Education Bill. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The Bill will take steps to enable all pupils in Wales to become confident Welsh speakers through the statutory education system. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

It also sets out new proposals to achieve its ambitious goals for increasing the number of Welsh speakers, protecting the Welsh language, and increasing Welsh language provision in education. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The main proposals include: ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

  • Reflecting the target of a million Welsh speakers in law;
  • Creating a single Welsh language skills continuum to describe skill levels so that learners, teachers, parents and employers have a common understanding of the journey towards learning Welsh;
  • Establishing a statutory system of categorising maintained schools according to language-medium;
  • Over time, enhance Welsh language provision in maintained schools that are not already designated Welsh-medium schools;
  • A requirement for the Welsh Ministers to create a statutory National Plan for the acquisition and learning of Welsh, and review it in each Senedd term;
  • Reform how local authorities plan Welsh language provision in schools in order to meet targets set by the Welsh Ministers;
  • Requirements on local authorities to proactively promote Welsh-medium education, including late immersion provision; and
  • Providing specialist support for schools with Welsh language learning.

The paper also includes a commitment for the Welsh Government, through the Co-operation Agreement with Plaid Cymru, to conduct a study with specialist input to consider a steeper trajectory for the growth of Welsh medium education for 2050 and beyond. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The proposals will mean an increase in the number of Welsh-medium schools and also an increase in the Welsh language provision in schools that aren’t already designated Welsh-medium schools. Along with this, school language categories will be on a statutory basis for the first time, giving a clear, accurate image of Welsh language provision in all maintained schools in Wales. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The National Plan created by the Welsh Ministers will give clear targets to each local authority for improving their Welsh language provision, including national targets for Welsh-medium teacher recruitment. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The Welsh Government is asking for views on this through a consultation which is open until 16 June 2023. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The Government has committed to introduce a Bill in this Senedd Term. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles said: “We are committed to a future where everyone has the ability and the opportunity to use Welsh in their everyday lives. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“That’s why we are consulting on proposals to put our aims into law and to improve Welsh language skills in all schools. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Cymraeg belongs to us all so it’s important that everyone has their say. Please answer the consultation and make your views heard. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Plaid Cymru’s Designated Member, Cefin Campbell, said: “Our long-held vision is that the education system is absolutely key in giving each child the gift of fluency in the Welsh language. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“Bilingualism and multilingualism are the norm across Europe; the proposals in the White Paper take us further towards ensuring that our education system delivers Welsh to all pupils in a way that creates confident speakers. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“I am pleased that we have been able to work together on those areas we have been able to find common ground on proposals that will bring about a significant shift in approach and to produce new principles for education in Wales.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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