More pupils will be taught through the medium of Welsh and youngsters and their families will be encouraged to speak the language more widely outside of the school gates under Swansea Council plans that have been endorsed by the Welsh Government.
There will also be improved pre-school provision and more opportunities to study post-16 for both academic and vocational courses as well as a renewed commitment to nurture language skills among council staff.
The plans are contained in the council’s Welsh In Education Strategic Plan which has been signed off by the Welsh Government.
Subject to Welsh Government approval for the council’s 21st Century Schools Programme there will be multi-million pound investment in Welsh-medium schools potentially creating up to 850 new places.
Work is also taking place in partnership with local colleges to ensure older students who wish to take A-level and vocational courses through the medium of Welsh can do so.
A key feature of the plan is not just increasing the opportunities for children to study through the medium of Welsh, but to get them using the language in all aspects of their lives.
A Welsh language charter called Tafod Tawe has been drawn up with input by teachers and pupils at all Welsh medium schools in Swansea with a similar charter called Cymraeg Campus being developed with English-medium schools. Both will have many activities planned around them to promote Welshness.
The plan also sets how the council will build on good work being in done English medium schools to teach Welsh.
Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Education Improvement, Learning and Skills, Cllr Jennifer Raynor, said:
“The Welsh Government has set a target of growing the number of Welsh speakers to one million by the year 2050 and Swansea is ready to play its part in helping to reach this ambitious target.
“The number of pupils being taught through the medium of Welsh in our schools has been increasing for a number of years and our strategic plan sets out how we will build on this success.
“I’m pleased that this has been endorsed by ministers and we will now work to deliver this vision.”
This year in Swansea there are 432 seven-year-olds at Welsh medium primary schools – which equates to 14.7% of that year group. This is compared to 332 five years ago and 247 a decade ago.
Eleven of the 79 primary schools in Swansea are Welsh medium and two of the 14 secondary schools.
The council has plans for a brand new build for YGG Tan-y-lan in the Clase area and also a new build for YGG Tirdeunaw.
Improved facilities are also needed at YGG Pontybrenin and the council is looking at solutions for both the next few years and the longer term as part of a consistent and continuing county wide strategy.
Investment is also planned at the two secondary schools – YG Gwyr and YG Bryntawe.
Cllr. Raynor added:
“As part of our 21st Century Schools Programme we have plans to invest £150m in Welsh medium and English medium schools in Swansea.
“This builds on the considerable investment made in recent years in schools such as Morriston, Pentrehafod, Lon Las and Burlais and will benefit thousands more Welsh and English language pupils in the years to come.”