Call for more support for parents to learn Welsh so that they can help their children in school
Elgan Hearn, local democracy reporter
Support for parents to learn Welsh so they can help their children who attend a Welsh medium school has been called for by a senior councillor.
At the mid-way point of an eight-week consultation on the Welsh in Education Strategic Plan (WESP) councillors on Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s Education and Skills scrutiny committee were given the chance of feeding into the process.
The council’s director of education, Lynn Phillips explained that the first draft of the 10-year plan needs to be submitted to the Welsh Government by the end of January 2022 and that it would “become operational” in September 2022.
Mr Phillips said: “The expectation is to increase the amount of learners that are taught through the medium of Welsh.
“‘We have proposed a vision which is to build upon the strong progress made in recent years with Welsh medium education, by creating a sustainable
education system which enhances provision, uptake and use of the Welsh language across schools.”
He added that one of the aims was to raise the profile of Welsh medium education along with “the benefits of being bilingual.”
Mr Phillips also pointed to the plans of creating a 210 place “seedling” Welsh medium primary school in the Tredegar area.
This would double the number of Welsh medium schools in Blaenau Gwent, Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Helyg in Nantyglo is currently the only one.
Funding for an “immersion unit” which would help latecomers to a Welsh medium school by providing intensive education in the language and culture is also being considered.
Mr Phillips added that Blaenau Gwent would be working with neighbouring authorities on a Welsh medium secondary education “solution.”
Committee chairman, Cllr Haydn Trollope who has an eight-year-old grandson who is a fluent Welsh speaker and attends a Welsh medium school spoke about supporting parents
Cllr Trollope said: “When we have the Welsh school in Tredegar we need to make sure we support the parents, many of them will not speak Welsh and we’ll need to help them.”
Mr Phillips answered that parents being able to communicate in Welsh at home is “fundamental.”
“We will need to make sure parents have the right skills, so that children can maximise their use of the language,” said Mr Phillips.
Councillors voted to accept the draft WESP.
The WESP consultation comes to an end at 12pm on Monday, January 3, and the Executive committee will discuss the document at a meeting on Wednesday January 19.
To have your say visit here.
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Everyone should have the opportunity to learn Welsh