The Welsh Government has announced plans today aimed at increasing the number of Welsh-medium and Welsh language teachers by encouraging more learners to study Welsh at A-Level.
The Welsh Government has identified Welsh as a priority subject, as the demand for Welsh-medium school education is increasing and Welsh as a subject will be more prominent within the new school curriculum. The aim is to increase the number of Welsh A-level students to more than a thousand by 2021, in order to increase the number who go on to study Welsh at university and train to become teachers.
There are also targets to increase the number of Welsh-medium primary teachers by 200, secondary school teachers by 400 and Welsh Language teachers in secondary schools by 100, compared to 2016. An increase in the number of learners taking Welsh at A-level is likely to increase the number who go on to become Welsh teachers or teach through the medium of Welsh.
Specific actions will target secondary school pupils, parents/carers and teachers by promoting career opportunities for Welsh language A-level students, creating positive experiences for students and improving support for both students and teachers. £145,000 of Welsh Government funding will be available in 2019-20 to support the aims.
The Welsh Government in conjunction with schools, universities and organisations including the Urdd and Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol will all have a key role to play.
The activities will complement the Iaith Athrawon Yfory incentive scheme for trainee teachers who wish to teach Welsh or through the medium of Welsh. The scheme will once again be available for trainee teachers in September, to tie in with the aim in Cymraeg 2050 to increase the number of teachers. Initial Teacher Education (ITE) students training to teach in Welsh this year can be eligible for a total incentive of up to £25,000.
Kirsty Williams, the Education Minister, said:
“Ensuring all learners can use Welsh when they leave school is a key long-term commitment for the Welsh Government. A sufficient supply of Welsh-medium and Welsh language teachers is instrumental if we are to achieve this.
“We want to promote the benefits of studying Welsh at A-Level and increase the support for both learners and teachers, helping us towards our aim of increasing the number of teachers in order to reach our long-term goal of a million Welsh speakers by 2050.”
Dr Ioan Matthew, Chief Executive of Coleg Cenedlaethol Cymru, said:
"We’ve worked with Welsh departments at our universities for a number of years and recently placed a greater focus on promoting the subject in schools to improve progression from GCSEs to A-levels. This is in addition to the efforts of individual universities to promote their Welsh-medium provision.
“We are very pleased to have the opportunity to work with a wide range of partners on this scheme to promote the benefits of studying Welsh and to ensure learners enjoy a positive experience of studying – both academically and socially. There is also a need to provide support for teachers in the Welsh language and to ensure the sustainability of the subject in our schools.
“Those who study Welsh have so much to offer in the world of work, including the teaching profession. Through the scheme, all partners commit to raising awareness of the unique enjoyment, experience and opportunities the Welsh language brings."
Some clips are available below of students who have benefitted from studying Welsh at A-Level: