Consultation planned on draft Welsh in Education Strategic Plan

A consultation will launch later this month on Bridgend County Borough Council’s draft Welsh in Education Strategic Plan.

The plan outlines the local authority’s Welsh-medium education vision for the next ten years and is required by Welsh Government. It covers targets for increasing the provision of Welsh-medium education in the county borough, improving the standards of that education and improving the teaching of Welsh in English-medium schools.

Over the next ten years, the council hopes to almost double the existing number of Welsh medium places for reception age learners to 300 and look at collaborating with other local authorities around a language immersion unit with the aim of increasing the percentage of Welsh taught in English-medium schools.

Within the county borough, there are plans for four new childcare hubs in Blackmill, Bettws, Bridgend and Porthcawl as part of a £2.6m investment into Welsh-medium education.

The local authority is also in the early stages of developing plans that could see an all-new Welsh-medium seedling school established in the Porthcawl area and there are plans to expand the capacity at the Welsh-medium primary schools Ysgol Y Ferch O’r Sgêr and Ysgol Bro Ogwr.

Of the estimated 147,049 living in the county borough, a September 2020 National Survey for Wales identified 17.5 per cent could speak Welsh – an increase of 3.1 per cent from the same survey in 2005.

By 2050, the council’s aim is for 21 per cent of residents aged three and over to be able to speak Welsh, in line with Welsh Government’s target of one million Welsh speakers by 2050.

Cabinet Member for Education and Regeneration, Cllr Charles Smith said: “This is a strategic plan which not only covers Welsh medium education but also the Welsh language in English medium schools and how we increase participation across the board.

“I hope there will be a wide involvement from stakeholders in this consultation and I look forward to seeing the outcomes.”

Cabinet members approved plans for the consultation at a meeting on 14 September 2021.

The consultation will launch on 27 September and run for 12 weeks. The outcome of the consultation will then be reported back to Cabinet before being submitted to Welsh Government for approval by 31 January 2022. The ten-year plan will then start on 1 September 2022.