New education rules ‘endanger’ one million Welsh speakers target

Photo by pan xiaozhen on Unsplash

Gweler isod ar gyfer y fersiwn Gymraeg

A language group has warned that there would be real risk of missing the million Welsh speakers goal if the Welsh Government follows a panel’s suggestion not to set targets for expanding Welsh language teaching in English-medium schools.

A panel under the leadership of former Assembly Member Aled Roberts has been conducting a review of Welsh-medium education nationally, and are expected to publish their recommendations this month. As part of the work, the Welsh Government intends to publish new education regulations for councils on planning for the expansion of Welsh-medium education by changing the structure of local plans, known as ‘Welsh in Education Strategic Plans’ or WESPs.

In a meeting in December, a delegation from Cymdeithas yr Iaith presented their views to the Government’s panel. The campaign group’s own research shows that the majority of 7 year olds will need to be in Welsh-medium education by 2030 to reach the million speakers target by 2050.

Targets

It’s understood the panel will recommend setting targets for local authorities every ten years for the expansion of Welsh-medium education. However, it appears they will not include targets to increase teaching in Welsh in schools that are currently English-medium – something campaigners say is vital to reach the million speakers target.

In a letter to the panel following the evidence session, Osian Rhys, Chair of Cymdeithas yr Iaith, says: “The Government’s strategy sets a target to ensure that half the children attending English-medium schools will leave school speaking Welsh fluently by 2050. We are concerned that the panel had nothing to say about ensuring that this target is met: a target that is absolutely central to the Government’s plan to reach a million speakers …

“It was noted there would be a request for councils to ‘note’ how they are going to improve Welsh teaching in English-medium schools. As we said, we are concerned that that is far too similar to the current system … which has been a complete failure. Continuing with the same policy would mean a key recommendation from Professor Sioned Davies’ 2013 report will still not have been implemented …”

The letter adds:

“At the same time as failing to take meaningful steps to normalise Welsh in schools that are not Welsh-medium at the moment, it appears that the panel is going to accept the Government’s national targets in terms of the expansion of Welsh-medium schools. Those targets are based on an assumption of growth from another direction, namely the English-medium sector. Without the certainty that growth is going to come from current English-medium schools, the growth in Welsh-medium schools would have to be much much higher.

Negligent

“The panel must make a choice: either to outline meaningful and specific targets for normalising Welsh in English-medium and bilingual schools in Wales; or ask councils to go beyond the national targets in the Government’s ‘Welsh in Education’ plan to make up the difference, or uncertainty, about the ability to deliver on the target for the English-medium sector. We feel that avoiding a decision on this would be negligent and would endanger the cross-party consensus which supports the million speakers target.

“Let us be clear: unless the panel ensures that there are either (1) clear targets for authorities to normalise Welsh-medium education in the English-medium sector specifically, or (2) far higher targets for the number of children going to Welsh-medium schools, it is inevitable that the million Welsh speakers target by 2050 will be missed.

“Again, we argue that it’s a matter of social justice that every child should leave school fluent in Welsh… We believe that the panel’s comments underline the importance of our call for a Welsh Language Education Act. We firmly believe that this should be the Government’s legislative priority for the language. After all, Welsh language education is absolutely central to the aim of reaching a million speakers.”

Response

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “We are currently reforming the curriculum which includes the teaching of the Welsh language in all schools.

“The board was established to implement the recommendations of the rapid review into the Welsh in Education Strategic Plans in accordance with the Cymraeg 2050 work plan for 2017-21.  The focus has been on reviewing the regulations underpinning the planning and provision of Welsh in education. Cymdeithas yr Iaith, along with other various organisations, were asked to provide their views to the Board back in December.

“The board are still considering their final conclusions. Once the final conclusion have been received, we will provide an update to all parties and next steps.”


Mae mudiad iaith wedi rhybuddio y byddai perygl gwirioneddol o fethu targed y miliwn o siaradwyr petai Llywodraeth Cymru yn dilyn awgrym panel i beidio â gosod targedau i ehangu addysg cyfrwng Cymraeg mewn ysgolion Saesneg.

Mae panel o dan arweiniad y cyn Aelod Cynulliad Aled Roberts wedi bod yn cynnal adolygiad o sefyllfa addysg Gymraeg yn genedlaethol, ac mae disgwyl iddynt gyhoeddi eu hargymhellion y mis yma. Fel rhan o’r gwaith, mae’n fwriad gan Lywodraeth Cymru gyhoeddi rheoliadau addysg newydd a fydd yn pennu sut y dylai awdurdodau lleol gynllunio i ehangu addysg cyfrwng Cymraeg drwy newid strwythur y cynlluniau addysg Gymraeg lleol – Cynlluniau Strategol y Gymraeg mewn Addysg.

Mewn cyfarfod ym mis Rhagfyr, cyflwynodd dirprwyaeth o Gymdeithas yr Iaith eu safbwynt gerbron panel y Llywodraeth. Dengys dadansoddiad ystadegol y mudiad y bydd angen i’r mwyafrif o blant 7 mlwydd fod mewn addysg cyfrwng Cymraeg erbyn 2030 er mwyn cyrraedd y targed o filiwn o siaradwyr.

Targedau

Mae’n debygol y bydd y panel yn argymell gosod targedau o’r canol i lawr ar awdurdodau lleol bob deng mlynedd ar gyfer cynyddu addysg Gymraeg. Fodd bynnag, mae’n ymddangos na fydd hynny’n cynnwys targedau i gynyddu addysg cyfrwng Cymraeg mewn ysgolion sy’n dysgu drwy gyfrwng y Saesneg ar hyn o bryd – rhywbeth sy’n hanfodol er mwyn cyrraedd y miliwn, yn ôl ymgyrchwyr iaith.

Mewn llythyr at y panel wedi’r sesiwn dystiolaeth, dywed Osian Rhys, Cadeirydd Cymdeithas yr Iaith: “Mae strategaeth iaith y Llywodraeth yn gosod targed i sicrhau bod hanner y plant sy’n mynychu ysgolion Saesneg yn siarad Cymraeg yn rhugl erbyn 2050. Rydym yn pryderu nad oedd dim byd gan aelodau’r panel i’w ddweud am yr hyn fyddai’n arwain at gyrraedd y targed hwnnw: un sy’n gwbl ganolog i gynllun y Llywodraeth i gyrraedd miliwn o siaradwyr…

“Nodwyd y byddai gofyniad i gynghorau ‘nodi’ sut maen nhw’n mynd i wella dysgu drwy’r Gymraeg mewn ysgolion Saesneg. Fel y nodwyd gennym, pryderwn fod hynny’n llawer rhy debyg i’r drefn [bresennol] … polisi sydd wedi arwain at fethiant llwyr. Byddai parhau â’r un polisi yn golygu y bydd argymhelliad yr Athro Sioned Davies yn adroddiad 2013 yn dal i fod heb ei weithredu…”

Ychwanega’r llythyr:

“Ar yr un pryd ag ymatal rhag cymryd camau ystyrlon i gymreigio ysgolion nad ydynt yn ysgolion penodedig Cymraeg ar hyn o bryd, ymddengys fod y panel yn mynd i dderbyn targedau cenedlaethol y Llywodraeth o ran ehangu addysg cyfrwng Cymraeg penodedig. Mae’r targedau hyn yn seiliedig ar dwf o gyfeiriad arall, sef y sector Saesneg. Heb sicrwydd bod twf yn mynd i ddod yn y sector Saesneg, byddai angen i’r twf yn y sector cyfrwng Cymraeg penodedig fod yn llawer iawn uwch …

Yn esgeulus

“Mae’n rhaid i’r panel wneud dewis: naill ai amlinellu targedau ystyrlon a phenodol ar gyfer cymreigio ysgolion Saesneg a dwyieithog yng Nghymru; neu ofyn i awdurdodau lleol fynd uwchlaw’r targedau cenedlaethol a amlinellir yng nghynllun ‘Y Gymraeg mewn Addysg’ y Llywodraeth er mwyn gwneud iawn am y diffyg, neu’r ansicrwydd, am allu cyflawni’r targed ar gyfer y sector Saesneg. Teimlwn y byddai penderfyniad i geisio osgoi cyfrifoldeb yn esgeulus ac yn peryglu’r consensws trawsbleidiol o blaid cyrraedd y filiwn o siaradwyr.

“Gadewch i ni fod yn glir: oni bai bod y panel yn sicrhau naill ai (1) bod targedau eglur i awdurdodau ar gyfer cymreigio’r sector cyfrwng Saesneg yn benodol, neu (2) fod targedau llawer uwch ar gyfer nifer y plant fydd yn mynd i’r sector cyfrwng Cymraeg, mae’n anochel y bydd y targed o greu miliwn o siaradwyr Cymraeg erbyn 2050 yn cael ei fethu.

“Eto, dadleuwn ei bod yn fater o gyfiawnder cymdeithasol bod pob un plentyn yn gadael yr ysgol yn rhugl eu Cymraeg… Credwn fod sylwadau’r panel yn hyn o beth yn tanlinellu pwysigrwydd ein galwad am Ddeddf Addysg Gymraeg. Rydym yn gryf o’r farn mai dyna ddylai blaenoriaeth deddfu’r Llywodraeth fod o ran yr iaith. Wedi’r cwbl, mae deddfwriaeth addysg Gymraeg yn gwbl greiddiol i’r nod o gyrraedd miliwn o siaradwyr.”

Articles via Email

Get instant updates to your inbox

We do not moderate comments before they appear. The views expressed in the comments are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of Nation. Cymru. Please read our community standards and participation guidelines before contributing.

Comments are closed.