Welsh in Education Strategic Plan
More reception class children/ five year olds receive their education through the medium of Welsh
Where are we now:
- In many areas, children attend a local Cylch Meithrin prior to commencing school and this provides a valuable early immersion in the Welsh language.
- Most children commence school in the nursery before commencing in the Reception Class in the term following their 4th birthday. As at the pupil census of January 2020, there were 282 pupils taught through the medium of Welsh in this year group and this is consistent with the year group numbers in Year 1.
- It is reasonable to state that once children commence their education journey through the medium of Welsh in the nursery, they tend to stay with this language medium until the end of key stage 2.
- The Council has successfully obtained Welsh Government grant funding from Band A of Welsh Government’s Sustainable Communities for Learning Programme (SCLP), the Welsh in Education Capital Grant and the Childcare Capital Grant to expand Welsh medium provision in Pembrokeshire.
- Both Ysgol Hafan y Mor and Ysgol Caer Elen have been built/established because of the SCLP.
- Similarly, a new Welsh medium primary school is to be built in Pembroke following a successful bid to the Welsh in Education Capital Grant and Childcare Capital Grant and will hopefully admit children from September 2024. This will significantly add to the capacity of the Welsh medium sector.
Provision for Latecomers
- Currently, there are three language centres to support the language needs of latecomers on the Preseli, Bro Gwaun and Caer Elen Campuses. The three centres employ full time staff to support pupils. Pupils requiring additional language support are identified by cluster schools and parents / guardians are informed of the advantages of attending the language centre
- The usual pattern is for pupils in key stage 2 to attend the catchment area centre for two days a week initially which then reduces to once a week as they become more competent in the language. The language centre staff at YBG and YBP visit schools on a bespoke basis to provide extra support to latecomers in their school environment and discuss progress with their class teachers.
- At the end of their time at the centre pupils will have acquired a level of understanding and fluency that allows them to fully access the curriculum through the medium of Welsh. The amount of time pupils attends a language centre varies and is dependent on factors such as age and aptitude to learning an additional language.
What we will do:
- Our target for measuring the expected increase in the number of children in Reception (4 years of age) will mirror the target for Year 1 pupils outlined in Section 4. On the basis that most pupils commence school in the Reception Class, i.e. following their 4th birthday, not Year 1, then this is a reasonable justification. Our target is therefore to increase the number by between 82 to 127 pupils during the lifetime of the WESP.
- As per our plans to meet the overarching 10 year target, our strategies to increase the number of Reception children being taught through the medium of Welsh will include the following:
- To convert schools currently categorised as Dual Stream to become fully Welsh medium over time, or by seeking to significantly strengthen the Welsh medium offer. Based on previous experience, we recognise that stand-alone Welsh medium settings are more conducive to increasing the number of Welsh medium pupils and are beneficial in the context of an immersive Welsh education. However, we also recognise that this requires significant planning, but subject to approval, is feasible within the context of a ten year plan;
- To establish new Welsh medium schools in areas where there is currently no provision, e.g. the Milford Haven area;
- To extend the catchment areas of existing Welsh medium schools where they are adjacent to areas where there is currently no provision.
Mudiad Meithrin will support all Cylchoedd Meithrin within Pembrokeshire to inform parents/carers of the benefits of Welsh medium education and bilingualism. Information will continue to be provided via leaflets, websites and social media including the digital platform set out in Outcome 1.
Individual Cylchoedd Meithrin will continue to work closely with their local Welsh medium schools and the County Council to ensure a high percentage of children transfer to Welsh Medium schools.
The Council will continue to seek to maximise opportunities for grant funding from the Welsh Ministers to increase Welsh medium provision in our schools. If further tranches of funding follow, we will put together a compelling business case for further investment.
Provision for Latecomers
Subject to funding, we will continue to invest in the three centres for latecomers to the Welsh language in Pembrokeshire. The centres are pivotal in providing intensive support for primary pupils in order that they become fluent in Welsh and to enable them to integrate fully within their primary school community. Furthermore, this intensive support will subsequently enable them to receive a full Welsh medium secondary education.
Specific information to parents on the purpose and benefits of language centres will be included in the Welsh digital platform referred to in Outcome 1, and on the websites of the relevant schools. Pupils and parents who have benefitted from the Language Centre in the past will be asked to outline the benefits of attending the Language Centre.
As the demand for Welsh medium education increases across Pembrokeshire, the LA is committed to providing opportunities for pupils to attend language centres and access linguistic support. Consideration would also be given for bespoke provision and support for pupils regardless of the language categorisation of the school they attend