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Council welcomes Welsh language education progress

27 Nov 2023 3 minute read
Picture by Working Word (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Councillors in Neath Port Talbot have been updated on the authority’s Welsh in Education Strategic Plan (WESP) 2022 – 2032.

The plan sets out the Council’s vision to support and further develop Welsh language education in schools and wider communities.

The Welsh in Education Strategic Plan was developed through close working with partners including Neath Port Talbot schools, Menter Iaith, RhAG, Mudiad Meithrin, Neath Port Talbot College, Academi Hywel Dda Swansea University, the Urdd and with Welsh Government.

National vision

Welcoming progress, Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Early Years, Councillor Nia Jenkins, said: “The WESP will be the cornerstone for the council’s vision for increasing and improving the planning of the provision of Welsh medium education across Neath Port Talbot.”

She added: “It will enable all learners to develop their Welsh language skills and to use the language confidently in everyday life. It both complements and assists in facilitating the Welsh Government’s national vision for the Welsh language – to have a million Welsh speakers by 2050.”

Key achievements in Neath Port Talbot over the last year include an increase in the numbers of three to five years olds receiving their education through the medium of Welsh, and more children continuing to improve their Welsh language skills when transferring from one stage of their statutory education to another. 

The council was encouraged to hear that more learners are studying for assessed qualifications in Welsh (as a subject) and subjects through the medium of Welsh, and there are reportedly more opportunities for learners to use Welsh in different contexts in school, as well as an increase in Welsh-medium education provision for learners with additional learning needs.

Critical to identity

New Welsh-medium childcare facilities have opened or expanded at Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Tregeles, Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Tyle’r Ynn, Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Pontardawe and Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Cwmllynfell, and a further two settings will open imminently in Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Trebannws and Neath Central.

Work on a new-build Welsh-medium/bilingual childcare facility in Blaendulais and Cwmafan is under way and will be completed in 2024, along with the opening of a new childcare provision in Neath Central, significantly increasing the current childcare places within these areas. As a result of the expansion and refurbishment of the childcare settings, an additional 94 places will have been created.

Ysgol Gymraeg Tregeles – a new Welsh medium 3-11 primary school, opened in January 2023 in the Neath Abbey area. Currently the school is open to Nursery and Reception pupils. A new school, Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Rhosafan is scheduled to be built in the next three years.

Commenting on the achievements seen across Neath Port Talbot to date, Councillor Jenkins said: “This council recognises that language and culture are critical parts of an individual’s identity and is committed to promoting and celebrating Welsh language learning across all phases and sectors.”

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Gwyn Hopkins
Gwyn Hopkins
7 months ago

The third paragraph of your report mentions “Academi Hywel Dda, Swansea University”. Although the late Professor Hywel Teifi Edwards (who was a close friend of mine) would probably be amused at being referred to as “Hywel Dda”, surely this should read “Academi Hywel Teifi”. Neath – Port Talbot County Council expanding Welsh-medium primary education is, indeed, good news but it is essential that this is followed up by a corresponding increase in Welsh-medium secondary education.

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