A NEW plan is being drafted which will shape the future of Welsh medium education in Carmarthenshire for the next 10 years to the benefit of our children and young people.
The county council is committed to creating a bilingual and multilingual Carmarthenshire and is working on its new Welsh in Education Strategic Plan (WESP).
The aim is for every child in Carmarthenshire to have the opportunity to be fluent in Welsh and English when they leave school, which brings huge benefits, from educational attainment to employability and health.
Welsh Government has a long-term goal of having one million Welsh speakers by 2050 and all local authorities in Wales must contribute to this vision by creating their own action plans for Welsh medium education provision for both now and in the future.
All public bodies must work towards achieving the seven goals in the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, one of which is for a Wales of vibrant culture and thriving Welsh language.
And one of the aims in the new Curriculum for Wales is to ensure that our children and young people are ambitious, capable learners ‘who can communicate effectively in different forms and settings, using both Welsh and English’.
The draft plan will be presented to the council’s Education and Children’s Scrutiny Committee on Thursday, July 8 for discussion, with an extensive eight-week consultation and engagement exercise to be launched in the autumn to gather the views of all stakeholders.
Executive Board Member for Education and Children’s Services Cllr Glynog Davies said: “We have the highest number of Welsh speakers here in Carmarthenshire and we are committed to increasing the opportunities for our children and young people to be taught through the medium of Welsh so that we can create strong and sustainable bilingual communities.
“Being bilingual brings many advantages, for example, 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. Research shows that being bilingual can also delay the onset of dementia and other symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
“Our draft plan sets out our key aims which includes working with schools to move them along the language continuum, and to continue to develop staff with a comprehensive and flexible training programme.
“One of the main targets set by Welsh Government is for more nursery children (aged three) and reception children (aged five) to receive their education through the medium of Welsh and the plan looks at how we can achieve this. The delivery of ‘immersion’ education in the early years can ensure that all pupils are already bilingual by the age of seven, with the introduction a third language by the end of the Foundation Phase.
“A public consultation will be held in the autumn for teachers, parents, young people and residents to have their say on the draft plan.”
Following the public consultation, the WESP will go to the council’s Executive Board and then to full council for a final decision, before being submitted to Welsh Government for approval.