Council approves 10-year Welsh language education plan
Richard Youle, local democracy reporter
Sports clubs and the media have a role to play in ensuring young people keeping using Welsh once they are out of the classroom, cabinet members in Carmarthenshire have said.
They approved a 10-year plan to further increase Welsh language education in the county, including immersing young children so they can be bilingual by the age of seven, which will be submitted to the Welsh Government.
But some councillors were concerned about what happened outside of schools.
Cllr David Jenkins said the plan didn’t refer to Welsh language access via the media.
“My feeling is, they (young people) are taught in Welsh in schools but as soon as they leave the school, a lot of it reverts to English,” he said.
Cllr Linda Evans said sports coaches “have a really big role to play” in speaking Welsh to the young people they train so that the language became “part of their social life”.
Cllr Peter Hughes-Griffiths said this was very much the emphasis of a language forum in Carmarthenshire, and that all the societies supported by the council did what Cllr Evans was calling for.
Director of education Gareth Morgans said a lot of Welsh language social projects were being developed and that the BBC had created several resources of its own.
A new Welsh language initiative between S4C and the council, called Croeso Cyw, has just been launched, which is aimed at foundation stage children and also their parents.
All councils have to submit 10-year Welsh language education plans to enable the Welsh Government to monitor how its objectives in this area are being met. It wants one million Welsh speakers in the country by 2050.
Carmarthenshire’s plan sets out seven outcomes for pupils of all ages. The outcomes include more young people studying for assessed qualifications in Welsh as a subject, and subjects through the medium of Welsh – and more teachers able to help them with this.
The Welsh Language Commissioner and Estyn said they welcomed the attention on language training for teachers.
A public consultation on the 10-year plan last autumn prompted 862 responses.
One of the consultation questions asked if respondents supported the proposal for pupils to be bilingual by the age of seven, or if not by the age of 11.
A total of 46% were supportive, 41% weren’t, and nine per cent were unsure.
There was 51% support for more opportunities for pupils to speak Welsh outside in the classroom and in the community.
Cllr Glynog Davies, cabinet member of education and children’s services, said improvements had been made to the plan following consultation.
Referring to the one million Welsh speakers ambition at Government level, he said: “It’s important in my opinion that everybody works together to reach that excellent aim.”
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