Government plans increase in children being educated through Welsh medium
The Welsh Government is planning to increase the number of children being educated through the Welsh medium.
This move is part of its newly-published five-year programme for Cymraeg 2050, its national strategy to reach 1 million Welsh speakers by 2050.
The Work Programme, the second since the launch of Cymraeg 2050 in 2017, sets out the policies Welsh Government says it will implement over the next five years towards reaching the 2050 targets.
One of the milestones is for 30% of children in Year 1 to be in Welsh-medium education by 2031.
To help achieve that, the new Programme sets a target to increase the percentage of children in Year 1 taught in Welsh to 26% by 2026, from 23% last year.
This would be driven by opening a minimum of 60 extra Welsh-medium nursery groups by 2026, in addition to the 40 that have already been opened over the last four years.
In addition to reaching a million speakers, there is also a goal to double the daily use of Welsh by 2050.
Among the actions set out in the Work Programme are to:
- Introduce a Welsh-medium Education Bill.
- Introduce a 10-year plan to increase the number of Welsh and Welsh-medium teachers
- Improve pupils’ attainment of Welsh in English-medium schools.
- Develop a programme for supporting the use of Welsh by children and young people, with a focus on transition between education, the community, the family and the workplace.
- Give Transport for Wales new powers to ensure rail, bus and active travel meet Welsh language standards.
- Create a Welsh Language Communities Housing Plan and use economic levers to strengthen Welsh speaking communities.
- A renewed focus on the benefits of workers using Welsh in the workplace.
- The Welsh Government has also published its response to a recent report on the impact of COVID-19 on Welsh language community groups. The Welsh Government has committed to increasing its focus on community development and empowerment in language planning, while working with community-based partners to increase the use of Welsh.
The Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles, said: “Our vision for our language is outward-looking and inclusive and I want everyone in Wales to feel like the language belongs to us all.
“Cymraeg 2050 is a long-term strategy which sets out a road map and vision for creating bilingual citizens who have both the ability and opportunity to use Welsh in their everyday lives.
“By publishing this document early in this Government’s term, we’re maintaining the momentum that’s grown since 2017 and we’re giving our partners a clear indication of our intentions for the next five years.
“We must plan carefully and decisively to increase the number of children and adults learning Welsh. We must create more opportunities for people to use the Welsh they have and we must ensure the right conditions exist for people to use the language together, whether in geographical or virtual communities, workplaces or social spaces.
“I look forward to working with our partners, across Wales, to give as many people as possible the opportunity to enjoy learning and using Welsh.”
The results of the 2021 Census, the official data used to measure the number of Welsh speakers, are expected to be published by March 2023.
Together with data from the Welsh Language Use Survey, the Census will provide an early measure of the Welsh Government’s progress towards a million speakers. The Work Programme will be reviewed and developed in light of the results, alongside other data.