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Newport’s new Welsh strategy seeks to make it ‘a language for all’

21 Feb 2022 2 minutes Read
Newport City Hall. Picture by Roland Turner (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Rhiannon James, local democracy reporter

Newport City Council has set out a five-year plan to raise the profile of the Welsh language and make it a “language for all”

The strategy was backed by senior councillors at a cabinet meeting on Friday, 18 February.

All local authorities in Wales are required to promote the language as part of the Welsh Government’s aim to reach one million Welsh speakers by 2050.

In a public consultation which took place between September and November 2021, 55% of respondents said they had no interest in learning the language.

According to the Annual Population Survey, 22.6% of people in Newport speak Welsh – this is lower than the Wales-wide average of 29.5%.

Proud

At the Cabinet meeting, Cllr David Mayer, Cabinet Member for Community and Resources, said: “I do know the national anthem and I am proud to be Welsh, but I do wish I could learn the language better. I did try during the lockdown but I didn’t get very far.”

Cllr Jason Hughes, the council’s Welsh language champion, spoke at the meeting in both Welsh and English. He said that the council’s strategy was education-focused.

By September 2032, the council aims for 11.1% of pupils in Year 1 (aged five to six) to be educated through the medium of Welsh. Currently, that figure is 5.1%.

Welsh language school places are currently under-subscribed in Newport, but the council has appointed an officer to encourage uptake.

Another part of the council’s strategy is to increase visibility of the language in informal settings outside of school and work. An example of this is the council’s partnership with Dragons Rugby region, where bilingual match day programmes will be introduced.

The Welsh Language Strategy 2022-2027 will now be presented at a full council meeting on 1 March.


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Richard
Richard
4 months ago

Newyddion da Casnewydd 👋🏽 I was dispatched in the late 1980s to see the then Leader of Newport ( whose views on the Welsh Language where not far ‘ ok for consenting adults and in private ) on behalf of the Welsh Language Board. At the railway station I met the late Roy Hughes the former MP and recently sent to the Lords. He recommended I needed a good wind to get any progress on their lack of interest…….…( he put it stronger than that ) As the WLB’s only elected member I of course knew the Newport and WLGA… Read more »

Last edited 4 months ago by Richard
Dail y Goeden
Dail y Goeden
4 months ago

From the article: “In a public consultation which took place between September and November 2021, 55% of respondents said they had no interest in learning the language.” So, yes, Newport will be an interesting test-bed for language changes. (Remember Mr Jeremy Miles last week, and his statement about Senedd policy needing to match “the linguistic reality of each person” (or words to that effect)? This is where push will come to shove.. And also in the first- and second-, and even third-generation households of English immigrants in north-east Wales. “Friends, [not] Romans, countrymen – and voters – ….” The challenge… Read more »

Richard
Richard
4 months ago
Reply to  Dail y Goeden

I think you would find a different view in ‘ north east Wales ( where ever that is ). In coastal areas where much of the population is not native to the area -,there is overwhelming support for Welsh. Even in areas right up against the Cheshire border – again no probs my friend . I chaired the governors or several schools and was Vice Chair of the County Education Dev Sub Committee – again never an issue. Indeed the only places we did see some resistance from new arrivals / were in areas of Clwyd where Welsh was in… Read more »

Dail y Goeden
Dail y Goeden
4 months ago
Reply to  Richard

Perhaps I was too cautious in my previous comment. I was trying to be a devil’s advocate, and wanting us to probe and test the hope (which I share) that large numbers of people living in Wales, but who don’t (“yet”) speak Welsh will want to invest in learning it. One aspect of the “tough love” which we need on the way to our Million is to ask ourselves what is needed for any particular non-Welsh-speaker, to make them decide to start – and to persevere – learning Welsh. It may be that for many people in Gwent there is… Read more »

Richard
Richard
4 months ago
Reply to  Dail y Goeden

A full reply indeed and your thoughts 💭 appreciated.

The eastern Deeside area is more ‘ welsh ‘ than it has ever been….one of the very few areas where Welsh has never been spoken.

Like the esstern Maelor Saesneg around Whitchurch it sits happy in Wales.

Welsh prospers in schools and many of the incommers are from others parts of northern Wales.

As one who shops ar Briughton Park and Asada Queensferry / you just hear the pride in Wales Football in this John Speed patch and many travel down to Csrdiff and Swansea to train for national sporting teams.

Dr John Ball
Dr John Ball
4 months ago

My family is originally from Newport and I’m delighted at this news. I am however concerned at the wording of the public consultation, the result of which could be used by opponents of the language .The question it strikes me was loaded and negative. The question asked whether respondents would be interested in learning the language and NOT whether they supported (say) measures to encourage its use. It may well be that many of the respondents were simply not interested in learning any language or indeed in learning anything at all, but asked if they supported the language I’m sure… Read more »

Richard
Richard
4 months ago
Reply to  Dr John Ball

Always a detail guy John 👋🏽

That’s why you have been so effective over so many years my friend……

Erisian
Erisian
4 months ago

Excellent news.
Can anybody explain the apparent contradiction between 22.6% of Welsh speakers in Newport, but only 5.1% of 5-6 year olds in undersubscribed Welsh medium education.
Are the Welsh speakers and their children in different parts of Newport or is it that Welsh speakers are older, and that parents of younger children are not choosing Welsh medium schools?

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