A PUBLIC consultation has been launched to gather views on Carmarthenshire County Council’s draft Welsh in Education Strategic Plan (WESP).

The plan, which is required by law for all local authorities in Wales, will shape the future of bilingual education in Carmarthenshire for the next 10 years from 2022-2032.

The draft document sets out the council’s vision, followed by actions, based around outcomes and targets set by Welsh Government.

It contributes towards Welsh Government’s Cymraeg 2050 Strategy, which aims to have one million Welsh speakers by 2050; and also reflects the languages area of learning in the new Welsh curriculum and considers the requirements of the Well Being of Future Generations Act.

An extensive eight-week consultation and engagement exercise has been launched to gather the views of all stakeholders from teachers, governing bodies and parents to further education settings, childcare providers and young people.

Cabinet Member for Education and Children’s Services Cllr Glynog Davis said: “The council is committed to creating a bilingual and multilingual Carmarthenshire and this draft plan sets out how we aim to achieve this.

“We are committed to increasing the opportunities for all our children and young people to be able to communicate in both Welsh and English so that we can create strong and sustainable bilingual communities.

“There are lots of advantages to being bilingual; there is evidence of better results, bilingual people tend to be more creative and flexible, they find it easier to focus on a variety of tasks and to learn additional languages.

“Bilingual people also earn an average of 11% more, there are health benefits too, for example, research shows that being bilingual can also delay the onset of dementia and other symptoms of Alzheimer’s, and not forgetting the social side it brings too.

“We are looking to build on the good work that has already been carried out in our schools, and I would encourage residents to please have their say on what Welsh in education in Carmarthenshire should look like for the next 10 years.”

The public consultation closes on November 29. Paper copies are available from the council’s customer service Hwbs if required.

Following the public consultation, the responses will be analysed, and a report will go to cabinet and full council for consideration. The final draft will be submitted to Welsh Government by January 31, 2022.

To take part in the consultation please visit the council website carmarthenshire.gov.wales/education