Council investing £6.4m in the future of the Welsh language
Rhiannon James, local democracy reporter
Caerphilly County Borough Council is investing £6.4m into Welsh language education in a bid to increase the number of Welsh speakers in the borough.
This is part of the council’s Welsh in Education Strategic Plan. The funding is going towards improving and expanding Welsh medium schools in the area.
Breakdown of what the £6.4m is being spent on:
- £1.8m Ysgol Y Castell completed in January 2021.
- £496k Ysgol Ifor Bach due to be completed by October 2022.
- £1.63m Ysgol Bro Allta due to be completed by December 2022.
- £740k Ysgol Penalltau due to be completed by December 2022.
- £1.62m Ysgol Gymraeg Cwm Derwen due to be completed by February 2023.
- A report presented to the council’s Policy and Resources Scrutiny Committee on Tuesday, November 9, said that council officers were looking into additional funding opportunities for Welsh education.
Plaid Cymru councillor John Roberts said: “The council is supportive of Welsh language schools, but they have a duty to be supportive.
“There is no point giving buckets of money to the Welsh language if they do not give people the opportunity to use the language. Councillors must lead by example by embracing the Welsh language.”
But Cllr Roberts, who represents Aber Valley, said he is “hopeful” for the future of the Welsh language. He said Menter Iaith – a community group promoting the language – plays a significant role in encouraging the use of Welsh in the community.
In June 2021, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that 25.4% of people in Caerphilly County Borough could speak Welsh. The average for Wales as a whole was reported as 29.2%.
The Welsh Government is aiming to reach one million Welsh speakers by the year 2050, through its Cymraeg 2050 strategy, which launched in 2017.
One of the aims of the strategy is for 30% of pupils in Year 1 (ages 5-6) to be able speak Welsh.
The success of Cymraeg 2050 is based on statistics produced by the Census not the ONS, but the ONS statistics are a good indicator of the strategy’s success.
A report presented to the council’s Education Scrutiny Committee meeting on Tuesday, November 2, said: “There is a high demand across all roles in the workforce for Welsh speakers, so it is critical to increase the number of young people leaving school who speak Welsh as well as increasing the opportunities for adult learners.”
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