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In July 2017, we published the Welsh Government's Welsh Language Strategy, Cymraeg 2050: a million Welsh speakers. We are now working to implement the ‘second of the strategy’s work programmes‘, with the current Senedd term in mind (2021 to 2026). The Work Programme will be the basis of all our annual action plans until the next Senedd.
Section 78 of the Government of Wales Act 2006 places a duty on Welsh Ministers to publish an annual action plan explaining how they will implement the proposals outlined in their language strategy during each financial year. This is the action plan for 2022 to 2023.
In publishing this Plan for 2022 to 2023, we must acknowledge that the world has changed significantly since the launch of ‘Cymraeg 2050’: the United Kingdom has left the European Union and COVID-19 is still with us. This all presents various challenges in terms of our language, and also a number of opportunities that we will want to take advantage of in future. Our five-year Work Programme takes this context into consideration.
Since the publication of the 2021 to 2026 Work Programme, the Welsh Government has published its Programme for Government and Co-operation Agreement. This Action Plan refers to many of the aims of these plans.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is expected to publish the results of the 2021 Census in relation to the Welsh language between spring 2022 and spring 2023. Once published, we will be analysing the results in detail and will update the statistical trajectory published as part of the ‘Cymraeg 2050 strategy’. We will also be reviewing our priorities as required. But our aim will remain the same – to work together to reach a million Welsh speakers and to double the daily use of our language.
‘Cymraeg 2050’ contains two main targets:
- the number of Welsh speakers to reach 1 million by 2050
- the percentage of the population that speak Welsh daily, and can speak more than just a few words of Welsh, to increase from 10% (in 2013 to 2015) to 20% by 2050
These targets provide a clear narrative for us all in Wales, in Government, in the public sector and as citizens: the Welsh language belongs to us all – the responsibility for its future likewise falls on us all. In addition, all we do under this Plan embraces both the letter and spirit of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 specifically: ‘A Wales of vibrant culture and thriving Welsh language’.
In order to realise this vision, ‘Cymraeg 2050’ is based on three strategic themes:
- increasing the number of Welsh speakers
- increasing the use of Welsh
- creating favourable conditions – infrastructure and context
We’ll continue to focus on these principles as we work across the Government’s policy areas, paying particular attention to:
- taking advantage of every opportunity to mainstream ‘Cymraeg 2050’ in all Government portfolios
- the importance of ensuring that Welsh remains the main language spoken in communities in the west and north-west, where there is a high density of Welsh-speakers
- developing the Welsh-speaking workforce, especially in education
- maintain and create more Welsh-medium spaces
- creating bilingual citizens by offering opportunities for everyone of all ages to learn Welsh and use it regularly
Areas of work
Theme 1: increasing the number of Welsh speakers
We’ll develop a five-year strategy (2022 to 2027) to provide an overview of an individual’s learning journey. It will consider the provision available within the various stages of lifelong learning (from the early years, statutory education and post-compulsory education, to the workplace and the community), and will identify priorities in order to increase the number of children, young people and adults who have access to provision and succeed in becoming bilingual citizens.
The early years
We’ll continue to work with Mudiad Meithrin to expand Welsh-medium nursery provision across Wales in order to provide a route into Welsh-medium education for as many children as possible. To support this, we’ll continue to develop the early years’ workforce.
The Cymraeg for Kids programme will continue to support parents to use Welsh with their children, and to choose Welsh-medium childcare and education.
We’ll continue to implement our National Policy on Welsh language transmission and use in families. The aim is to help those who are able to speak Welsh to do so with their children, and to help those who lack confidence or who have not spoken Welsh for a long time to understand that they too can speak Welsh with their children.
Welsh Language Education Bill
The ‘Cymraeg 2050 Work Programme (2021 to 2026)’ commits us to introducing a Welsh Language Education Bill during the course of the sixth Senedd. Work to develop the Bill will continue during 2022 to 2023.
Welsh in Education Strategic Plans
The Welsh in Education Strategic Plans (WESPs) continue to be a basis for planning Welsh-medium education across Wales. We’ll approve the new 10-year plans during this period, and will work with local authorities to refine and then implement their WESPs for the next decade. The aim is for all new 10-year WESPs to be operational from September 2022.
We and the local authorities will use our Guidance on school categories according to Welsh-medium provision as part of this work. This will help to offer more clarity on the expected linguistic progress and outcomes for pupils according to the teaching medium of schools. In turn, it will support parents to make informed decisions about their children’s education. It will also encourage and support schools to increase their Welsh-language provision.
Welsh-medium capital funding will continue to support the efforts of local authorities in implementing their WESPs. A £30m funding round will be available during 2022 to 2023 to increase Welsh-medium statutory education provision across Wales.
Late immersion is an essential part of this picture and there are developments underway this year. We have invested £2.2m across all local authorities in Wales in order to facilitate the development or growth of Welsh-medium late immersion provision, and we intend to further support this work over the course of this Senedd term. With the support of regional education consortia where relevant, there are already instances of local authorities developing resources and training to enable staff to provide Welsh-medium late immersion teaching as well as developing projects to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on learners in Welsh-medium education. This will ensure that all newcomers to the language are given access to Welsh-medium education when needed and wherever they are along their learning journey.
The new curriculum
The Curriculum for Wales will be the basis for learning in all primary schools from September 2022 and in some secondary schools for learners in year 7.
In the Curriculum for Wales, progression in learning in all areas is presented as a continuum. For Welsh and for other languages, descriptions of learning express the progression of children aged 3 to 16 from starting with little or no language towards proficiency.
On 14 February 2022, a consultation was published on a non-statutory Framework for Welsh. The draft framework sets out experiences, knowledge and skills needed by learners in English-medium education in order to make progress in Welsh. Following the consultation, the Welsh Framework will be refined before publication in September 2022. The framework, along with supporting materials, resources and professional learning, will support schools to improve Welsh learning and teaching.
The Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol will continue to develop higher education provision in line with their revised Academic Plan, and will work with Welsh universities to ensure that more Welsh-speaking students are able to follow some of their course in Welsh. The Coleg will also undertake two projects to support the Welsh Government’s Welsh-language and bilingual teacher training agenda.
The Coleg will build on strategic projects already completed to develop provision and capacity in further education colleges, extending opportunities for learners to study through the medium of Welsh and bilingually. In order to achieve this, the Coleg will work with strategic partners and the post-16 sector, establishing a sound infrastructure.
In 2022 to 2023, we’ll allocate an additional £1.5m to the Coleg to expand the infrastructure of colleges and extend tailored support for the apprenticeships sector in partnership with the main providers in the field. The aim is to expand to further areas across further education colleges that will support establishments following COVID-19 to contribute to work to strengthen the sports and leisure sector and the early years care sector as well as expanding to the agricultural sector.
In the apprenticeships sector, the Coleg will support new strategic projects to develop capacity and expand provision in health and care, and childcare, as well as develop infrastructure to support the development of the Welsh language across organisations. In developing this structure, the intention is to enable more learners to speak Welsh and be confidently bilingual as they progress along their career paths.
The National Centre for Learning Welsh (the Centre) will continue to ensure that it builds on the growing interest in learning Welsh, providing a wide range of on-line and face-to-face courses where possible. The Centre will also develop Learn Welsh opportunities free of charge, specifically for 16 to 25 year olds. The Centre will also develop a new portal for workers in the education sector so that they can access free Welsh lessons at all levels.
The Centre will continue to run the Cymraeg Gwaith / Work Welsh project, with the provision varying from on-line self-study taster courses to intensive residential courses. As well as increasing the number of Welsh-speakers and the use of the language, Cymraeg Gwaith also allows bodies to provide better Welsh services to its users. It will also contribute to our agenda of increasing opportunities for people to use Welsh in the workplace.
The Centre will continue to maintain and develop its formal partnership with ‘Say Something in Welsh’ and ‘Duolingo’ to increase the provision and support available to those wanting to learn Welsh.
The Centre will lead a new pilot project to encourage young Welsh-speakers to return from universities to help teach Welsh in schools. The Centre will work with partners in the education sector to offer a training course for students at the end of the academic year. In future, the project will also include placements at secondary schools. It will hopefully attract young people into teaching and the Learn Welsh sector, as well as help increase the use of Welsh in schools.
We’ll continue with our programme to ensure that Welsh and bilingual educational resources are available to support all areas of learning and experience in the new curriculum for 3 to 16 year olds, as well as qualifications for 14 to 19 year olds. We will establish infrastructure which will ensure that resources are provided in Welsh and English simultaneously in future.
We’ll publish a 10-year plan that will align with the 10-year period of the Welsh in Education Strategic Plans currently being prepared by local authorities. The plan is currently being developed in conjunction with a number of key stakeholders. It will address the following aims:
- increase the number of Welsh and Welsh-medium teachers
- increase the number of practitioners supporting learners through the medium of Welsh
- support the workforce to develop their Welsh language skills to ensure Welsh is used across the curriculum
- promote courses to improve language skills and boost confidence
- develop Welsh-medium leadership capacity and provide each leader with the skills to strategically plan Welsh language development within a culture of schools as learning organisations
Theme 2: increasing the use of Welsh
We’ll continue to work to increase the use of our language – to create opportunities for people to use Welsh every day: at home, in the workplace or in our communities – geographically or virtually.
Use of Welsh in the community
We’ll continue to implement our response to the recommendations found in ‘The effects of COVID-19 on Welsh language community groups – survey findings.‘ In doing so, we’ll focus on community and economic development and the Welsh language, and address the new challenges and opportunities arising from COVID-19 in relation to maintaining and increasing the use of Welsh, specifically in the social and co-operative enterprises sector.
We’ll continue to review the Grants Scheme to Promote and Facilitate the Use of the Welsh Language to ensure our grants scheme aligns with the objectives of ‘Cymraeg 2050’.
We’ll continue to offer grant support to various bodies in order to help achieve the objectives of ‘Cymraeg 2050’. We look forward to seeing some of our large-scale events returning in the form of live field events, with on-line elements too. These will include the National Eisteddfod in Tregaron, as well as the Urdd Eisteddfod in Denbighshire, which will be free of charge and will celebrate the Urdd’s centenary. We’ll expect our grant recipients to prioritise opportunities for people to use Welsh face-to-face, and will help organisations across our communities to restart their activities.
Welsh Language Transmission and Use in Families
The aim of our Transmission Policy is to encourage and support families to use more Welsh and to pass the language from one generation to the next.
The 2013 to 2015 Welsh Language Use Survey clearly shows that using Welsh at home as a child strongly influences the extent to which Welsh is used later in life.
In 2022 to 2023, we’ll commission interventions to maintain and increase language transmission within families as part of the programme implementing this policy. These interventions will be based on behavioural change science.
Welsh Government programmes reach thousands of families of all kinds across many sectors. We’ll work alongside other departments across Government to take advantage of the opportunities these programmes provide to support the transmission work.
Welsh Language Communities Commission
Following the publication of ‘Second Homes: Developing new policies in Wales’ (March 2021), we stated our intention to establish a commission to consider the future of Welsh as a community language. The commission will lead on the socio-linguistic analysis of the language situation in our communities, developing a model to help policy developers with matters relating to the viability of the language. A key part of the work will be to consider the challenges Welsh language communities face and to foster a better understanding of the linguistic, socio-economic and social restructuring challenges faced as a result of COVID-19 and Brexit.
To inform this, the commission will analyse the results of the 2021 Census to obtain a better understanding of the linguistic change seen over the past decade. It will then consider what interventions are needed today, and will ensure future policy interventions are based on firm evidence.
A central element of the commission’s work will be to develop models that help define areas of interest and linguistic sensitivity. This will offer an analysis of the support and interventions needed in these areas to safeguard the language, and how the interventions will be used together to ensure policy aims are achieved.
Leading in a Bilingual Nation
We’ll continue with and develop our work on our Leading in a Bilingual Nation programme in conjunction with Academi Wales. This programme provides leaders of organisations with the opportunity to discuss how the spirit of ‘Cymraeg 2050’ can be embodied within their organisations.
Use of Welsh within the Welsh Government
We’ll build on the progress of the last two years in implementing the strategy in relation to the use of Welsh within the Government, ‘Cymraeg. It belongs to us all‘, in order to continue to realise the objectives of the strategy for 2020 to 2025. The aim of the work is to facilitate more use of Welsh in the workplace, and to encourage the organisation to operate increasingly through the medium of Welsh. This is part of a wider commitment by Welsh Government to lead by example, supporting more sponsored bodies, local authorities and the Welsh civil service to operate through the medium of Welsh.
We are funding Bangor University to implement the ARFer project – which is based on using linguistic ‘pledges’ in workplaces to increase the use of Welsh and foster the confidence of Welsh-speakers who, for whatever reason, do not speak Welsh together.
We’ll continue to work with Bangor University as they further adapt the programme in response to the fact that workplaces have been transformed following COVID-19. The programme will be offered in a number of public bodies in north Wales and, indeed, the Welsh Government will also take part in the project.
Welsh Language Standards
We’ll work with the Welsh Language Commissioner to try to mitigate barriers in specifying Welsh Language Standards. In 2022 to 2023 we’ll introduce regulations in the Senedd to make standards that are specifically applicable to health regulators and water companies, and begin the work of preparing standards for public transport and public bodies which are currently not within the standards system.
Theme 3: creating favourable conditions – infrastructure and context
We’ll continue to work in a variety of areas to build infrastructure that will create favourable conditions for the Welsh language to thrive so that everyone is given the opportunity to learn our language and use it.
We’ll continue to collaborate with local authorities and other stakeholders on a series of actions arising from our Round Table on the Language and Economy. Following the publication of the draft Welsh Language Communities Housing Plan, we’ll also expand the Round Table’s remit to include housing. The Round Table will also look at the potential contribution of community and co-operative groups to the future of the Welsh language and a large number of other elements.
We’ll review the evaluation report of the Arfor programme to consider opportunities to measure and expand interventions in relation to entrepreneurship, business growth, community resilience and the Welsh language.
Affordability of housing in Welsh language communities
We’ll analyse the responses to the recent consultation on the draft ‘Welsh Language Communities Housing Plan’. We’ll work across the Government to publish a final plan that will respond to the challenges facing communities in terms of lack of affordable housing for local people and the impact of second homes on our communities – especially in areas with a high density of Welsh-speakers.
We’ll contribute to the pilot scheme in the Dwyfor area by working on a number of interventions to support people to access the property market, to rent, and to bring long-term vacant homes back to local use.
We’ll look at the planning system, the property system and the tax system as required to ensure affordable homes are available for people in their communities, with the aim of supporting the Welsh language to thrive in those communities. This work will be linked to the recommendations of ‘The effects of COVID-19 on Welsh language community groups – survey findings’ report.
We’ll build on our progress to date with our Welsh language technology action plan. During 2022 to 2023, we’ll continue to improve the provision of Welsh language speech technology and work with the business sector to ensure the use of the language technology components we’ve already created.
We’ll build on the consultation on a draft linguistic infrastructure policy held during 2021, using the responses to develop the first steps of a project to create a more strategic and co-ordinated structure for Welsh language linguistic infrastructure. The ultimate aim is to make it easier for everyone to know where to access support when using Welsh.
Welsh place names
During 2022 to 2023, the Welsh Government will continue to co-operate extensively in this area, and the consultation on Welsh Language Communities Housing Plan, that closed on 22 February 2022, will feed into that process. It includes a number of proposals in relation to house names, and asked what kind of local interventions people want to see to promote the importance of Welsh place names, encourage people to keep them and ensure the Welsh language continues to be visible in our communities.
The names of land and property holdings, including farms and houses, are often historical names, and many are recorded in the List of Welsh Historic Place Names, maintained on behalf of Welsh Ministers by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales. The Commission has convened a Task and Finish Group to assess the effectiveness of the List since it was launched, and to consider how it can be improved. The Group will report during the first quarter of 2022, and offer recommendations that will inform not only the next steps in developing this essential resource, but which will influence the field more broadly.
Wales and the wider world
We’ll continue to promote the Welsh language on the international stage. This will include playing a leading role in international networks on linguistic planning, such as the Network to Promote Linguistic Diversity (NPLD), the British-Irish Council and UNESCO's Decade of Indigenous Languages 2022 to 2032.
We’ll continue to highlight the importance of the Welsh language and our bilingualism as we promote Wales internationally, as part of our International Strategy.
We’ll also work with the Urdd on the 2022 Peace and Goodwill Message – this year's theme will be Climate Change.
Racial and ethnic equality
The Government will be consulting on a Race Equality Action Plan during the spring and summer. The Plan will include a number of proposals to ensure that considerations in relation to racial and ethnic equality are embedded further still in our work, including access to the language. We’ll also ensure that the anti-racism agenda is fully adopted by all of our partners involved in delivering ‘Cymraeg 2050’.
The Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Sub-group of the Welsh Language Partnership Council will continue to focus on race and ethnicity.
We’ll continue to develop Welsh terminology in the area of race and ethnicity, and will share vocabulary with users across Wales in order to facilitate honest discussion on this topic.
The National Centre for Learning Welsh will continue to run a ‘Croeso i bawb’ taster course, providing opportunities for refugees and asylum seekers to learn Welsh on courses especially tailored for them. The Centre will also support ‘Say Something in Welsh’ to provide an e-learning resource so that some refugees and asylum seekers can learn Welsh through their first language.
We’ll begin the work of developing the broadcasting and media commitments set out in the Co-operation Agreement, and explore the possibility of creating a shadow Broadcasting and Communications Authority for Wales. This includes work to support a framework for Wales that meets our needs and ambitions for the Welsh language.
We’ll develop a new culture strategy which reflects Wales in all its diversity, ensuring that the Welsh Government works strategically towards the delivery of the sixth pillar of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015: a ‘Wales of vibrant culture and thriving Welsh language’, and, in so doing, engages deeply and meaningfully with the arts, culture and heritage sectors. This will be taken forward as a priority in 2022. The precise priorities of the strategy will be agreed in close consultation with the sectors.
Our public bodies have received new remit letters covering the full term of Government. These set out clear priorities in relation to the Welsh language, including our expectation for the Welsh language to be thoroughly embedded in all that they do, celebrating bilingualism and enabling the people of Wales to use the language as part of their everyday lives.
Research and statistics
We’ll continue to expand our research and statistics evidence base as a foundation for implementing ‘Cymraeg 2050’.
We’ll put steps in place to evaluate ‘Cymraeg 2050’, so that we can understand our progress towards realising the strategy objectives.
The Office for National Statistics, responsible for running the census in Wales and England, plans to publish all of the data from the 2021 Census from the end of May 2022 onwards. Once data on the Welsh language is available, we’ll analyse all results which are relevant to the language, and will consider updating the statistical trajectory for reaching a million Welsh-speakers by 2050.