CONSULTATION REPORT

Carmarthenshire’s Welsh in Education Strategic Plan 2017-2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Acknowledgements

 

We value all the constructive comments received in response to our draft Welsh in Education Strategic Plan. We have endeavoured to ensure that this is a short and succinct strategic document highlighting our main priorities. However, to enable us to implement this Plan effectively we acknowledge that we will need to develop a detailed Action Plan and incorporate it into our business planning process. Many of the supportive comments and suggestions will be considered and incorporated into the operational plan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Appendix A

List of Respondents to the Consultation Document

 

 

Rhif ymateb / Response Number

Your position / Category of Respondent (e.g. parent, governor)

1

Parent

2

Parent

3

Governor & Parent

4

Parent

5

Heb Ymateb / No Response

6

Governor

7

Governor - Ysgol Dyffryn Aman

8

Aelod o'r gymuned a chyfarwyddwr Canolfan Cymraeg y Lle, Llanelli /Member of community and director of ‘Y Lle’, Llanelli

9

Resident

10

Resident.

11

Parent

12

Local Campaigner

13

Heb Ymateb / No Response

14

Community Member

15

Councillor

16

Parent

17

Heb Ymateb / No Response

18

Rhiant / Parent

19

Governor

20

Carmarthenshire resident

21

Board of Governors

22

Board of Governors

23

LA Governor

24

Interest Group (Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg / Welsh Language Society)

25

Interest Group (Rhieni Dros Addysg Gymraeg / Parents for Welsh Medium Education)

26

Interest Group (CAER– Cymdeithas Addysg Ewrop y Rhanbarthau) 

27

Governor (received after close of consultation period)

 

APPENDIX B: Statistical Summary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                        

 

 

 

Appendix C

 

Observations/Themes and LA response

 

 


 

Observation/Theme

Local Authority Response

In opposition

1

The lack of parental choice is unacceptable

There is a duty on All Welsh County Councils to develop and publish a Welsh in Education Strategic Plan (WESP) in order to comply with The School Standards and Organisation Act (2013) which became law on  4thMarch 2013. WESPs detail how local authorities aim to achieve the Welsh Government’s outcome and targets outlined in the Welsh Medium Education Strategy (WMES).

We do not agree with the response in respect to choice. We believe that we are compliant with the law and that the respondent has applied too broad an interpretation of “parental choice”, as the law does not give parents, the absolute right to have their children educated through whatever linguistic medium they choose.

The Local Authority also has a responsibility to provide all pupils with the best education possible and believes that ensuring our learners become as proficient as possible in at least two languages is best for all our pupils’ future prospects. The aim of Carmarthenshire’s Welsh in Education Strategic Plan 2017-2020 is to ensure that every pupil can speak, read and write fluently in Welsh and English by the end of statutory school leaving age; In order to achieve this requires initiation during early years education, development during Key Stage 2 and further enhancement at secondary school. Athrawon Bro support is available to latecomers.

2

Borders on discrimination / is racist / increases segregation

There is a requirement on Local Authorities to produce a Welsh in Education Strategic Plan, as directed by the democratically elected Welsh Government. In formulating the plan, detailed WG guidance has been followed, ensuring that criteria set down for each section of the plan are closely followed. The consultation document has already been shared with WG officials and has received a very favourable response. Furthermore, an Equalities Impact Assessment is being conducted, which considers whether the policy is in any way discriminatory to groups with protected characteristics.

The County Council is also of the view that encouraging our young people to attain fluency in at least two languages can only serve to be beneficial: socially; linguistically; conceptually; cognitively; culturally; in terms of health and well-being and in terms of future employability prospects. In accordance with national expectations, the scheme sets out to move each school along the language continuum and this will be applied across the Local Authority. Indeed, it may be viewed as more discriminatory to exclude schools from this development plan as we feel that young people not included in its implementation could lose out.

Any perceived risks to segregation can be mitigated by applying the policy to all schools, so that all pupils can eventually benefit from becoming fluently bilingual.

3

Forces young people to learn Welsh

Welsh is a statutory subject to age 16 in Welsh schools i.e. it is illegal not to teach Welsh. This is set to continue with the onset of the new curriculum for Wales. Welsh Government are embarking on a plan to reach a million Welsh speakers by 2050. Amongst 6 factors, education is cited as the prime means of realising this goal, given that 4/5 people learn to speak Welsh at school.

The Local Authority will expect its schools and teachers to make learning Welsh and learning through the medium of Welsh as motivational, interesting, fun and relevant as possible.

4

Welsh is irrelevant / confined to one country only/is a bar to higher education

Following the well-documented success of Welsh medium schools in creating fluent and confident bilingual citizens, there is concrete evidence that bilingualism promotes the ability to acquire additional languages, which is a potential benefit which can be applied worldwide. They key to success will be a good level of fluency and confidence in both languages, borne from setting high standards, rather than accepting sub-optimal teaching and mediocre fluency in one or both languages.

Being able to speak Welsh and being taught through the medium of Welsh has not proven to be a bar to higher education; there are countless examples of fluently bilingual young people from Carmarthenshire and other parts of Wales thriving at University, including at more sought after institutions such as The Sutton Trust Group.

5

Transport – wrong to subside travel from out of catchment to Welsh schools but not to English schools

The County Council has a School Transport Policy which complies with all relevant legislation. The policy can be accessed as follows: http://www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales/media/1602051/SchoolTransportPolicy.pdf . There is no provision for, or reference to, subsidising out of catchment travel to attend a school of any given language category.

 

6

Lack of consultation

All consultation requirements have been complied with. There was an 8 week consultation period, which opened on 11.10.16 and closed on 19.12.16.

7

Impact on English Medium schools in respect to funding, intake etc.

The WESP requires all schools to move along the language continuum and develop Welsh medium provision. We have some English medium secondary schools who have responded to this challenge and are providing some subjects through the medium of Welsh at Key Stage 3. This has attracted learners and protected their roll and funding. English medium schools in the consultation have provided supportive commentary, reaffirming their wish to develop Welsh medium provision.

8

Spend money instead on quality of education

Significant investment is already focussed on School Improvement services via our consortium and Challenge Adviser team. Attaining fluency in both languages requires particular regard for setting high standards in teaching and learning.

9

Naïve to think ALN pupils will be catered for / lack of capacity in Welsh medium ALN expertise

ALN provision is a major objective within the scheme and aims to ensure that all areas of ALN support services are available equitably in both languages. There is more to do, as set out in the plan.

10

Policy needs to be fairer to non-Welsh speaking parents

Comments are noted. A support package for parents will be developed with practical advice and guidance for parents in non-Welsh speaking families. Being a non-Welsh speaking parent is not a barrier to Welsh medium education for children and advice on issues such as homework, Welsh for the Family etc. will be made available.

In support

1

Benefits of learning at least two languages and learners leaving school with fluency and confidence in Welsh – need more stress on marketing the advantages, especially for the workplace

Respondents’ support is noted and we welcome the observations. There are many advantages to being bilingual as confirmed by national and international research. Bilingualism has positive effects on children’s’ linguistic and educational development as well as having social advantages. Some new studies also suggest that bilingualism may offer some protection against the decline of cognitive abilities in old age, both in normal and pathological ageing.

The link with the workplace is noted and will be pursued as part of implementing recommendations emanating from the County Council’s 11-19 curriculum review

 

2

The plan is properly geared towards realising the vision / will increase Welsh medium education and meet the growing demand

Respondents’ supportive comments are noted and we welcome the observations.

 

3

Policy is welcomed / Support the plan but the goals are not ambitious enough / targets need strengthening

We note comments made by respondents. We will revise our targets after the first year of the plan, in order to ensure that they are suitably ambitious, commensurate with evolving provision and achievable.

 

 

 

4

Schools stating that they wish to enhance provision

The comments are welcomed and we will work in partnership with the schools in question to develop the aims of the policy.

5

The MEP programme should reflect the growing demand for Welsh medium education

Carmarthenshire County Council’s Modernising Education Provision programme is addressing this issue and increasing the number of Welsh medium education places across the county.

6

Would like to see a plan for every primary and secondary school to move along the Welsh language continuum.

The LA agrees with this comment and this aim is referenced in the draft consultation document

 

ACTION- LA to draft a primary and secondary language continuum plan for discussion with all head teachers and school Governing Bodies.

7

Staff capacity to realise the scheme in terms of competence and confidence needs to be developed

 

Welsh as a 1st or 2nd language is a statutory element of the National Curriculum. All schools are required to provide a certain level of Welsh therefore Governing Bodies have a duty to employ staff who have the skills/ are able to deliver the Welsh requirements of the curriculum. The new national curriculum for Wales as outlined in the Successful Futures review (2015) recommends that Welsh remain compulsory to age 16. Furthermore, there are 9 other recommendations, designed to develop Welsh and teaching through the medium of Welsh in the curriculum. The new curriculum for Wales will be available in 2018 and statutory from 2021 onwards. This presents a challenge in respect of ensuring that we have more than sufficient workforce capacity to realise this agenda. It is thus proposed nationally that significant investment is made in professional development and staff training so that school staff can deliver the new curriculum and also teach, support and promote Welsh and Welsh medium education within that curriculum. We will work with Welsh Government, our consortium and other partners such as Welsh for Adults to build this capacity.

8

Non-Welsh speaking parents should not feel left out in being able to send their children to Welsh medium education

The plan aims to be inclusive and support will be available as described previously. There are already a great number of children in Welsh medium education from non-Welsh speaking families; indeed, it is the norm across large areas of south Wales. We aspire that all families can embrace the potential benefits accruing from the aims of this plan.

9

Simplify the process of changing category of dual stream schools to Welsh medium schools

This matter is being discussed with Welsh Government.

10

Greater help required for English medium and dual stream schools to develop Welsh provision by upskilling staff

This will be addressed in a support package for schools, school staff, parents and governors.

English medium schools have been proactive in responding to this consultation, with the majority declaring a wish to develop their Welsh medium provision.

11

Expand Welsh medium places in urban areas, particularly Llanelli

Comment noted and is referenced in the MEP plan.

General comments

1

Bilingual education needs to be encouraged rather than Welsh medium education

The aim of Welsh medium education is to attain competent fluency in two or more languages. Developing Welsh medium education is a vehicle to attain at least functional and, preferably, adept bilingualism. Not developing Welsh medium education will fail to realise the stated aim of ensuring that all learners in Carmarthenshire leave statutory and post statutory education fluently and confidently bilingual. That is why every school has a role to play in moving along the language continuum.