Our ten-year vision to increase and improve planning for the provision of Welsh education in our region
Neath Port Talbot Local Authority Borough Council recognizes that language and culture are essential parts of an individual’s identity and is committed to promoting and ensuring meaningful access to language learning. Welsh for pupils of all phases and sectors.
Our vision to improve planning and thereby increase the provision of Welsh education at Neath Port Talbot will facilitate the national vision for the Welsh language, to secure 1 million Welsh speakers by 2050. We share the vision from the Welsh government:
… to ensure favorable conditions across the country that support language acquisition and the use of Welsh skills. We want to see an increase in the transmission of the language in the family, an early introduction of Welsh to every child, an education system that offers Welsh skills to all
Cymraeg 2050 – One Million Welsh Speakers (Welsh Government, 2017)
At Neath Port Talbot, we will empower all learners, families and caregivers to develop their Welsh skills and use the language confidently in everyday life. Welsh education is an integral and essential part of the learning offer at Neath Port Talbot. We believe that all children should benefit from the opportunity to learn, enjoy and shape their lives through Welsh. The authority underpins this principle by committing to allow all learners to benefit from its universal access to this offer.
Our Welsh in Education Strategic Plan (WESP) 2022-2032 will be the cornerstone of this vision and will detail how we plan to support and further develop the teaching of Welsh in schools and communities at large and how we plan our future growth. The plan details how we will ensure further development over the next 10 years, from January 2022 to January 2032. It aligns with:
- Well-Being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015
- “A Wales of vibrant culture and a thriving Welsh language”
- Prosperity for All: The National Strategy and Agenda for Government, Moving Wales Forward 2016-2021
- The Welsh Government’s National Welsh Language Strategy “Cymraeg 2050: One million Welsh speakers by 2050”
- Education in Wales: our national mission, action plan 2017-21-
A desire for learners to become increasingly bilingual and commitments to encourage teachers with some ability to speak Welsh to further develop their skills
- Welsh in education, action plan 2017-21
Sets the direction for the development of Welsh education
- Neath Port Talbot Welsh Language Promotion Strategy
Our compulsory education system has a key role to play in increasing the number of Welsh speakers and, as the Welsh Government’s Cymraeg 2050 strategy points out, “providers of post-compulsory education and training have a role to play in increasing the number of Welsh speakers. key to playing in maintaining learners’ Welsh skills to meet the growing need for a bilingual workforce ”. In order to achieve our goals, we need to significantly increase the number of pupils who have the opportunity to develop Welsh skills in all contexts and thus use it in their daily lives.
The Welsh government has set a target for Neath Port Talbot to increase the number of learners accessing Welsh education between 17% and 27% over a 10-year period. This target is based on increasing the number of first graders taught in Welsh from 16.8% (252 students) in 2020/21 (PLASC 2021) to 31% (460 students) by 2032. Our plan ambitious is to exceed the upper end of the target set by the Welsh government.
Current trends and projected forecasts.
The overall 10-year target is set following a geographic and demographic assessment. The analysis tells us:
- The number of children in the age zero cohort gradually increased in the early 2000s, but this process has now stabilized and returned to lower levels previously seen at the start of the period.
- The three-year average number of individuals in this cohort in 2017-2019 is 1,436, which represents a decrease of 5.9% from the level observed a decade earlier, while the three-year average for 2007-2009 was 1,526 (90 more individuals per year).
- The five-year age cohort has shown significant growth over the past decade, with the three-year average being 15.2% higher for this age group in 2017-2019 than in 2007-2009 ( from 1390 to 1601). This contrasts with the older cohorts, as the number of 15-year-olds in the county borough has seen a steady decline over the past 15 years, with the number of this age group now 17.7% lower. than a decade earlier.
County level population graph
The above data shows a decrease in the zero-age population, however, an analysis of factors that will impact the future of Welsh education has shown an expected leveling off of the school-age population and a potential for a substantial increase in the number of Welsh learners within the next 10 years. Factors taken into consideration during the assessment included population changes, population density, population composition, existing Welsh skills, current Welsh learners and the potential additional demand for education in Welsh. Welsh.
The assessment data shows that some areas within the local authority show significant population growth in the under 19 category, one showing a population increase of 76.6% from a three-year average from 475 in 2002-04 to 839 in 2017-19. The three-year average for this area of 839 makes it the largest in terms of absolute population for this age group.
Analysis of the data shows that the strategic plan will require a proactive and reactive approach to include:
- create new Welsh language schools in areas where demand for Welsh language education is identified
- create demand for Welsh education in new geographies
Achieve the vision
In order to deliver the WESP, our main objectives are:
- present a proposal to create 3 more Welsh-language primary schools as part of the 10-year plan
- increase transfer rates between pre-school and Welsh language education by 80% over the life of the plan: we will implement an action plan in collaboration with providers such as Mudiad Meithrin
- ensure increased transition rates from Welsh-language primary schools to Welsh-language secondary schools with the aim of ensuring a transition rate of 100% per year
- establish subsequent entry point language support for pupils wishing to enter Welsh middle education through an immersion program for latecomers for primary and secondary learners, as indicated in outcome 2
- ensure that the teaching of the Welsh language in all Welsh and English speaking settings provides students with the skills and ability to become confident and sustained speakers of Welsh
- ensure that post 16 education through Welsh is strengthened and thus meets the needs and aspirations of all students
- maintain the availability of transport in accordance with the travel policy approved by the council to promote access to the Welsh language offer
- ensure that children and young people with ALN are provided with equal language opportunities in terms of education and support in Welsh in line with the obligations imposed by the Additional Learning Needs Act 2018 and the court of education (Wales)
- ensure that access, at local or regional level, to vocational training to support the development of effective Welsh teaching and learning that meets the identified needs of those working in both the English sectors and Welsh
- recognize Welsh as an essential part of role specifications when recruiting all school staff; we will clearly define our expectations in terms of skill level requirement (from level 0 to 3) and provide internal training to support staff development
- to ensure that the WESP Forum has clear objectives to enable it to deliver results effectively
These main objectives are discussed in detail in the following pages, along with a brief summary of the current situation and our proposals for the duration of the WESP.