Education minister to outline plans for 23 new Welsh-medium primary schools
Plans to create 23 new Welsh-medium primary schools will be set out by the Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles, today.
There are also plans to increase the capacity of 25 existing Welsh-medium primary schools.
The plans are part of local authorities’ Welsh Education Strategic Plans (WESPs), which set out how they intend to grow Welsh-medium education in their areas over the next 10 years.
“I’m pleased to see the ambition in many of the plans we’ve received, in particular how some local authorities have set themselves targets which exceed our expectations,” Jeremy Miles said.
“With these plans in place, I have every confidence in achieving our targets for 2026 and 2031, with the ultimate goal of a million Welsh speakers by 2050.
“My message is clear – I want Welsh-medium education to be an option for everyone and I want everyone to have the opportunity to be bilingual citizens of Wales.”
Each local authority will need to agree its final plan for Welsh-medium education and publish them by 1 September 2022, in accordance with the Welsh in Education Strategic Plans (Wales) Regulations 2019.
The Welsh Government has set targets for 26% of Year 1 learners to be receiving education in Welsh by 2026, rising to 30% by 2031.
Since 2018, the Welsh Government has invested £76m in infrastructure projects to create 4,000 additional Welsh-medium childcare, school or ‘late immersion’ places.
All councils have to submit a Welsh education strategic plan to say how they will achieve the Welsh Government’s target.
Ministers have said that they want an education and training system that responds to the growing demand for Welsh language education.
Their aim is to increase the number of people of all ages who can speak Welsh with their families, at work and in their communities, as well as one million Welsh speakers by 2050.
As the councils approve their own education plans, it will then be up to Jeremy Miles to ratify or modify them, or reject them and prepare another one.
The plans set out by local authorities include ten more schools moving to Welsh language education in Carmarthenshire as part of their updated strategy.
Cllr Glynog Davies, cabinet member for education and Welsh language, said this would happen over the next 10 years, with four in the first five years. The council said it will be working with the un-named schools and the wider community before starting any formal process.
Three Welsh medium all-age schools could also be created in Powys as part of atheir Welsh in Education Strategic Plan.
Meanwhile, Pembrokeshire’s cabinet has also been recommended to approve an “ambitious” ten-year plan to provide Welsh-medium education to more children in Pembrokeshire than ever before.
It follows 12 months of consultation with members of the public, schools, statutory bodies and scrutiny committees.
Additional reporting by the Local Democracy Service.
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