Blaenau Gwent Welsh in Education Strategic Plan (2017/2020)
Section 84 of the Schools Standards and Organisation (Wales) Act 2013, requires each Council to prepare a Welsh in Education Strategic Plan (WESP). Welsh Government issued revised guidance in 2016 in respect of the development of new 3-year Welsh in Education Strategic Plans (WESPs) for the period 2017- 2020.
The purpose of the WESP is to set out the Council’s strategic approach and direction in the development and delivery of Welsh-medium provision and Welsh education. The plan was approved by the Executive Committee and signed by the Lead Director with the statutory responsibility for Education within the Council. The plan also needs to be underpinned and informed by Welsh Government’s current Welsh-medium Education Strategy (April 2010) and policy statement for 2015-16.
The revised guidance has been established within the context of the Welsh Government’s wider strategy for the Welsh language. The Welsh Government vision is to see one million Welsh speakers by 2050. To achieve that, WG believe that several things need to happen:
- more children in Welsh-medium education;
- better planning in relation to how people learn the language;
- more easier-to-access opportunities for people to use the language;
- a stronger infrastructure and a revolution to improve digital provision in Welsh; and,
- a change in the way we speak about the language.
According to the most recent census (2011), there were 562,000 Welsh speakers in Wales. On that basis, the aim of the national strategy will be to almost double the number of Welsh speakers by the middle of the century. Consequently, the Welsh Government’s prioritises 6 key areas for action:
- Language planning and policy
The Blaenau Gwent Welsh in Education Strategic Plan 2017-20 is directly aligned to both the Welsh Government’s and the Council’s Welsh Language strategic frameworks. The strategic priorities highlighted in the draft WESP document for the next three years can be summarised as follows:
- Raise the profile and levels of participation for Welsh-medium education across the County Borough by 2020, to contribute to the vision for one million speakers by 2050.
- Increase the early year’s provision offer to stimulate parental demand to enable growth across the County Borough.
- Increase transition rates from Welsh-medium nursery provision to Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Helyg by 50% in 2020.
- Work regionally with South East Wales Local Authorities to secure places for Blaenau Gwent learners in Welsh-medium secondary provision between 2017-2020 and beyond.
- Improving Welsh medium learner outcomes by 2020 so that learners raise aspirations and improve their life chances.
Alongside a review of the WESP, the Blaenau Gwent Welsh Education Forum (WEF) structure, membership and associated documentation were reviewed and strengthened in the autumn-term of 2016. The terms of reference has been streamlined and is now more reflective of the groups focus and remit. As a result of the review, there are now Lead Officers with the relevant skills, knowledge and expertise assigned to reporting on each of the outcomes. The reporting process is then monitored by the Education Transformation team, then reviewed and discussed by the forum.
The South East Wales Regional Welsh in Education Forum, structure, membership, purpose and focus have also been reviewed and are now much more effective in terms of recognising and supporting both regional and local developments and along with the forum’s application in Wales-wide context.
The revised Blaenau Gwent WESP was Approved in March 2018.
Education Transformation Team
Education and Transformation,
Floor 8, Anvil Court,
Tel Number: 01495 355470
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