The journey towards a million Welsh speakers and doubling the daily use of Welsh by 2050 has captured the imagination of people the length and breadth of Wales since the last Government published the Cymraeg 2050 strategy.
I’m delighted to have the opportunity to lead our effort to continue the journey towards a million as we implement the strategy’s next steps during this Senedd term. The strategy itself and our Work Programme is key part of our effort to meet the national wellbeing goal of seeing the Welsh language thrive
We live in a challenging time, and I’m aware that we need to turn goodwill towards the Welsh language into robust and rapid action. The commitment to do this runs through this Programme.
Our vision is outward-looking and inclusive. We want to create bilingual citizens who are confident to use Welsh in all aspects of everyday life. Put simply, we want everyone in Wales to feel like the language belongs to us all.
Naturally, our response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the use of Welsh is central to this Work Programme, and the main elements of the Cymraeg 2050 strategy is clear and remains despite the pandemic.
With a strategy that spans a long period, we knew that changes in society would mean having to adapt our priorities over time. Of course, we’ve had to do so earlier than expected, and this Work Programme reflects this as we continue the journey to the million.
Planning is a core element of this Programme. We must plan carefully and decisively to increase the number of children and adults learning Welsh. We must increase opportunities for people to use their skills, and we must create contexts which allow people to use the language together, whether in geographical or virtual communities, workplaces, social spaces or within networks.
The results of the 2021 Census and the 2019 to 2020 Welsh Language Use Survey will be published by the middle of this Senedd term. It’s vital, therefore, that this is a flexible Work Programme, which can be reviewed and developed in light of those results, alongside the evidence we collect continuously.
Cymraeg 2050 is a cross-governmental agenda anchored in the Well-being of Future Generations Act. The whole Government is committed to this with "Push forward towards a million Welsh speakers..." being one of the ten well-being objectives in our Programme for Government, and a responsibility for us all in the Cabinet.
This Programme also contributes to our other well-being objectives and our aspiration to create a stronger, greener and fairer Wales. We’re stronger by celebrating our bilingualism as an integral part of Wales, contributing to our identity as a country within the United Kingdom and across the world.
The work to grow the green economy and create good jobs, close to home, in areas where Welsh is the main language makes us greener.
And we’re fairer through the work we do to plan, legislate and invest to expand Welsh-medium education, so that all children from whatever background have the opportunity to access the Welsh language wherever they live in Wales.
It’s therefore a pleasure to present this ambitious Work Programme for this new Senedd term. I look forward to collaborating widely to create a prosperous future for the Welsh language and give as many people as possible in all parts of the country the opportunity to enjoy learning Welsh and to use the language more confidently than ever before.
Jeremy Miles MS
Minister for Education and the Welsh Language
Cymraeg 2050 is a wide-ranging strategy with a long-term vision. That’s why we published the Cymraeg 2050 Work Programme for 2017 to 2021 at the same time as the strategy, together with a commitment to prepare further work programmes along the journey to 2050.
With that first Work Programme having come to an end, this document 'the second Work Programme' outlines the work we’ll be undertaking to continue to implement Cymraeg 2050 during the Sixth Senedd, which will run from 2021 to 2026.
By publishing this document early in this Government's term, we’re maintaining the momentum that’s grown since 2017 and giving our partners a clear indication of our intentions for the next five years.
This document explains what we want to achieve between 2021 and 2026. It doesn’t include all of the detail in terms of the activities or interventions we’ll undertake. We’ll publish policies and develop projects and programmes which include that detail during the Work Programme’s lifespan, and we’ll consult and gather the views of the public, organisations and experts as appropriate.
Whilst this is a 5-year Programme, we’ll review it from time to time and update it as necessary. The results of the 2021 Census will be published before this Programme has reached its half way point. That will give us an opportunity to consider whether our priorities need to be reviewed. This is also when we’ll update the statistical trajectory for reaching a million speakers.
This, therefore, is the document that shows everyone how we’ll give people across Wales every opportunity to learn and use their Welsh together.
The Cymraeg 2050 Strategy
The strategy was published in 2017. The Welsh Government's vision is to see "the Welsh language thrive" as part of achieving one of the National Well-being Goals. The strategy illustrates this out by means of two clear targets:
- a million Welsh speakers by 2050
- doubling the daily use of Welsh by 2050
The strategy provides an approach to implementation based on an analysis of how people live their lives (the life-course approach). We want to better understand how people use the language, to know what influences the decisions they make at key points in their lives, for example when moving from education to the workplace, or when having a child for the first time. We also want to give people opportunities that make it easier for them to use the language in all aspects of life.
The strategy is divided into three interlinked themes, and this Work Programme is presented in the same way.
- Increasing the number of Welsh speaker
- Increasing the use of Welsh
- Creating favourable conditions - infrastructure and context
Looking back: The 2017 to 2021 Work Programme
The first Work Programme was published with the strategy in 2017. Whilst the strategy is a vision document, the Work Programme was an operational document. In accordance with the Government of Wales Act 2006, the Work Programme was supported by a series of annual action plans and annual reports documenting progress, achievements and challenges.
The first Work Programme focused on laying firm foundations, whilst recognising that language planning is a long-term process. The Programme included a series of targets to be achieved by 2021.
- The target of an additional 40 nursery groups was met. This created 620 additional places. There were also encouraging transition rates between pre-school and Welsh-medium primary education (from 86.4% in 2015/16 to 88.1% in 2019 to 2020).
- The percentage of Year 2 children (usually 7 year olds) assessed through Welsh as a first language increased by just under 1 percentage point (from 22.0% in 2015 to 2016 to 22.8% in 2020 to 2021).[footnote 1] Although the target of 24% by 2021 has not been met, there are encouraging signs in younger cohorts, where 23.8% of Reception class children (usually 5 year olds) were taught in Welsh in 2020 to 2021.
- Achieving the targets for the education workforce has been more challenging. There were 2,789 Welsh-medium primary teachers in the 2019 to 2020 academic year compared to the target in Cymraeg 2050 for 2021 of 3,100, a deficit of 311 (10.0%). In 2019 to 2020 there were 2,339 secondary teachers teaching in Welsh compared to the target of 2,800 for 2021, a deficit of 500 (16.5%).
Impact of COVID-19 pandemic
Cymraeg 2050 stated that our plans for delivering the strategy would need to be adapted over time in response to changes in society. The COVID-19 pandemic has meant that many of our interventions and those of our partners have had to change or cease, and new interventions have had to be created. We don’t yet know what all the implications of the pandemic will be on meeting the Cymraeg 2050 targets, but we’ve been focusing on several aspects including education, the social use of Welsh, and the socio-economic fabric of communities where Welsh is a community language. This document explains the steps we’ll take to address these challenges.
The projection and trajectory to a million speakers contained in the strategy is based, primarily, on census and population data. The strategy states that we’ll keep our progress under review and revisit the trajectory as necessary.
The 2021 Census was carried out in Wales in March 2021 and the Office for National Statistics (which is responsible for the census in England and Wales) intends to publish all 2021 Census data within 24 months of the census. The Welsh language data is therefore expected to be available by March 2023. At that time we’ll be able to fully update the projection and trajectory to a million speakers.
More recent population data is already available, however. The Office for National Statistics' most recent national population projections for Wales show a smaller increase in population in the period up to 2050 than was the basis for the original projection and trajectory. This is also the case for children and young people aged 0 to 15. Our strategy makes it clear that projections should be treated with caution as the size and structure of the population is likely to change over time. The trajectory will therefore have to reflect this.
Targets for this Work Programme
The strategy sets out a series of targets to be met over different time periods towards 2050. One of the key milestones on the journey is to reach 30% of learners[footnote 2] (around 10,500 learners in a year group at the time the strategy was published) in Welsh-medium education by 2031. We’re at the start of a period of working with local authorities on 10-year plans to expand Welsh-medium education, and the period of this Work Programme will end midway through that decade. To be on track to meet the 2031 target, our target by 2026 is:
- Increase the percentage of year 1 learners taught in Welsh from 23% (2020 to 2021) to 26% in 2026.
To facilitate this we’ll work to reach:
- 60 additional Welsh-medium nursery groups by 2026.
We’ll review the above targets when we review the trajectory to a million speakers following the publication of the 2021 Census results.
In terms of the education workforce, we’ll update the targets as we review the trajectory to a million speakers. Those targets will reflect the Welsh in Education Strategic Plans.
[footnote 1] Note that teacher assessment data was not collected during 2020/21 therefore the data is based on provisional Pupil-Level Annual School Census data for 2020/21.
[footnote 2] As set out in the Guidance on Welsh in Education Strategic Plans (2021), the methodology for calculating targets for those Plans is based on year 1 data rather than year 2. That’s to ensure that we’re able to measure the provision of Welsh-medium education consistently and as soon as possible during the implementation of the new curriculum arrangements. Further details can be found in Welsh in Education Strategic Plans.
As we implement this Work Programme we’ll be guided by the following principles:
- Cymraeg 2050 is a whole-Government effort. This is similar to other cross-portfolio issues such as equality and climate change and so on, and we need to ensure ownership of language policy across government in Wales.
- Welsh language policy is more than just compliance. We’ll go further than ensuring that we just comply with linguistic duties. We want to ensure that language policy issues are part of the policy development discourse across Government.
- We’ll address issues of strategic importance to the future of the Welsh language. This includes:
- maintaining and protecting Welsh as a community language; and
- providing more opportunities for children and adults to learn and use Welsh in every aspect of life across Wales.
- We’ll emphasise the need to create contexts where people can speak Welsh together.
- We’ll learn from language planners all over the world and we’ll share our own evidence with our international partners.
- We’ll celebrate successes and set a tone of encouragement.
The Welsh Government
This Work Programme is for the Welsh Government to deliver, and we take full responsibility for it. The Minister for Education and the Welsh Language is accountable to the Senedd for its delivery and all Ministers are accountable for ensuring that their policy areas contribute to the aim.
The Welsh Language Partnership Council is a statutory body of members appointed from time to time under the public appointments process. The Council is responsible for advising the Minister on the implementation of Cymraeg 2050, and that will continue as we implement this Work Programme.
Within the Government’s administration, the Work Programme is driven by the Welsh Language Division, which reports to the Cymraeg 2050 Programme Board. The Board’s membership includes civil servants from departments across Government.
Within the Division, Prosiect 2050 is a multidisciplinary unit responsible for developing and commissioning interventions for increasing the use of the Welsh language. Interventions are evidence-based and developed in consultation with experts in a variety of disciplines - in the field of language planning as well as other behaviour change disciplines.
To succeed, we must work in partnership. The third sector organisations we fund through our grant to promote and facilitate the use of Welsh [footnote 3] will have an important role to play, as will Mudiad Meithrin, the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, the National Centre for Learning Welsh and the Welsh Language Commissioner.
A number of our grant partners have been affected by the pandemic. This is particularly true of the Urdd which is re-building by offering sports and arts services, additional Welsh-medium apprenticeships, and refurbished residential centres. They have also been working on an exciting centenary programme that will be an opportunity to showcase the Urdd's work internationally.
With a focus in this Work Programme on the use of Welsh, the Mentrau Iaith will role in providing opportunities to use Welsh in the community. With regard to the National Eisteddfod, there is an opportunity to create three-year projects in the areas where the Eisteddfod is held. This could include combining the Eisteddfod visit with local efforts to plan Welsh-medium education provision and expand opportunities to use the language - as well as creating new Welsh content.
The Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol and the National Centre for Learning Welsh both have important roles to play in Welsh language acquisition and learning. The next section provides further detail in this respect.
All of the above partners are important, and we’d also welcome the opportunity to work with new partners. It’s important that we attract new audiences to the language and support communities and organisations to increase the use of Welsh.
[footnote 3] Young Farmers Clubs Wales, Association of Welsh Translators and Interpreters, Welsh Eisteddfodau Association, National Eisteddfod of Wales, Mentrau Iaith Cymru and the local Mentrau Iaith, Merched y Wawr, Urdd Gobaith Cymru, the Papurau Bro.
Theme 1: increasing the number of Welsh speakers
Since the announcement of the target of a million speakers in 2017, we’ve been encouraged by the planning that’s taken place across the education, childcare and early years sectors to increase the number of people who can speak Welsh. Those efforts have led to the target in our last Work Programme of opening 40 new Welsh-medium nursery groups being met, a slight increase in the percentage and numbers receiving their school education through the medium of Welsh, and more Welsh-medium and bilingual learning activities being studied by students in further education, apprenticeships and higher education. An increasing number of adults are now choosing to learn Welsh as well.
Cymraeg 2050 includes an important target for us to achieve by 2031, namely that 30% of learners are in Welsh-medium education. That now equates to about 9,200 children; a little under 1,400 more than the current figure. Meeting the target requires swift and significant action to ensure sufficient numbers of Welsh-medium schools available in all parts of Wales.
As we work with our colleagues in local authorities on a substantial programme to expand Welsh-medium education, we’ll ensure that the education system as a whole supports and facilitates this. We’ll pay particular attention to Welsh-medium education in terms of the specific challenges and opportunities that sector will have in future. We’ll ensure that issues relevant to Welsh-medium education (for example, immersion models, the challenge of increasing language use, engaging with parents, understanding what it is to be bilingual and so on) are included in the mainstream work of the education system. A key element of that will be taking steps to ensure that we’ve enough teachers who can teach Welsh and through the medium of Welsh.
Creating bilingual citizens who are confident in their Welsh language skills is a central element of Cymraeg 2050. Whilst Welsh-medium statutory education has a huge part to play in making that a reality, it’s important to remember that it doesn’t happen in a vacuum. We need to place the challenge of expanding Welsh-medium education within the context of all the possible ways in which people can acquire and learn Welsh. We need to think radically about how we in Wales address the acquisition and learning of Welsh. We’ve already published a national policy on the transmission of Welsh and its use in families, and we’ve brought the early years and Welsh-medium education sectors closer together in terms of strategic planning. The link between statutory and post-compulsory education must also be strengthened. This means providing learners with pathways that enable them to continue to develop Welsh language skills when moving from one period of education to the next, and ensuring that continues into the workplace with the support of the Welsh for Adults sector.
We’ll therefore prepare a five-year strategy that brings together all aspects of language acquisition and lifelong language learning into a single holistic plan. The strategy period will run concurrently with the first half of the 10-year cycle of local authority plans to expand Welsh-medium education (the Welsh in Education Strategic Plans) as well as a forthcoming 10-year plan for the education workforce. We’ll also develop proposals for legislating to support the strategy for the acquisition and lifelong learning of Welsh through the Welsh-medium Education Bill.
Areas of action 2021 to 2026
- Develop a five-year strategy for the acquisition and lifelong learning of Welsh - from the early years, during statutory and post-compulsory education, in the workplace and in the community.
- Introduce a Welsh-medium Education Bill to strengthen and increase Welsh-medium education across Wales and ensure that the Welsh in Education Strategic Plans (WESPs) are delivered in each county to make Welsh-medium education more accessible and fair.
- In collaboration with a number of stakeholders, develop and implement a 10-year plan for increasing the number of Welsh and Welsh-medium teachers and improving the linguistic skills of the education workforce so that the local needs of each county can be met in accordance with their WESPs.
- Update the targets for increasing the number of teachers who teach Welsh or through the medium of Welsh.
- Implement our national policy on Welsh language transmission and use in families, which includes supporting parents who have Welsh language skills to use those skills with their children at home.
- Review Welsh language transmission rates in families following the publication of the 2021 Census results.
- Invest each year over the next five years to expand our Welsh-medium early years provision, including nursery groups and taster sessions for parents, by:
- Supporting the opening of 60 new Cylchoedd Meithrin and 60 new Cylchoedd Ti a Fi in new settings to support the expansion of Welsh-medium education.
- Expanding the training programme for early years practitioners by increasing apprenticeships, expanding the Academi programme and expanding the Croesi’r Bont programme which immerses new practitioners in Welsh.
- Develop targets in terms of the number of children in Welsh-medium nursery groups and the percentage of children in Welsh-medium nursery groups transferring to Welsh-medium primary schools.
- Simplify how we categorise schools according to their Welsh language provision to provide clarity about the expected linguistic progress and outcomes for pupils according to the medium of school teaching, as well as encouraging and supporting schools to increase their provision of Welsh.
- Ringfence £30m of capital funding to support local authorities' efforts to meet their targets for expanding Welsh-medium education.
- Develop a network to support immersion education through the medium of Welsh, based on research and evidence.
- Expand the late Immersion Programme to ensure that all newcomers to the language have access to Welsh-medium education when they need it and wherever they are on their learning journey.
- Support the development of e-sgol to ensure access to a wide range of Welsh-medium provision, and continue to innovate in the areas of language learning, immersion and parental support.
- Improve pupils' experience and attainment of learning Welsh in English-medium schools by developing clear guidance and support for teachers together with professional learning opportunities as part of the implementation of a Curriculum for Wales.
- In collaboration with the regional consortia and local authorities, expand the role of the National Centre for Learning Welsh to support the teaching of Welsh in English-medium schools and provide a language learning pathway from school to post-compulsory education.
- Expand the role of the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, and develop proposals for the Welsh-medium Education Bill to place the Coleg on a statutory footing.
- Provide additional funding over 5 years to the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol to expand Welsh-medium provision in further education, apprenticeships and higher education.
- In conjunction with the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, develop targets to increase linguistic progression between statutory and further education and apprenticeships.
- Increase learning, assessment and progression through the medium of Welsh by establishing the new Tertiary Education and Research Commission, through the proposed Tertiary Education and Research (Wales) Bill, with strategic duties associated with promoting Welsh-medium tertiary education.
- Continue to support the development of Welsh and bilingual educational resources to support the curriculum.
- Introduce a pilot project which will incentivise young Welsh speakers to return from universities to help teach Welsh in schools.
- Respond and take action following the Rapid Review of the National Centre for Learning Welsh which has been held in 2021.
- To build on skills acquired within statutory education, develop proposals for guaranteeing that 16 to 25 year olds can have free access to Welsh for adults courses so that every young person has the same opportunity to become a confident speaker.
- Through the National Centre for Learning Welsh, ensure that parents have access to learning the language.
Theme 2: increasing the use of Welsh
The target of reaching a million Welsh speakers has captured people’s imagination and made headlines. We’re clear however that the target of a million Welsh speakers is only one side of the coin. The other is to increase the use of Welsh by those people. This is reflected in the second Cymraeg 2050 target: to double the daily use of Welsh.[footnote 4]
We’re pleased with the steps already taken, since the previous Work Programme was published, to place increasing the use of Welsh at the heart of our work. Language use depend on a large number of complex factors, situations and contexts and our work will reflect this.
Cymraeg 2050 places an emphasis on the workplace as a location and environment where people can use Welsh, whether as a formal part of an individual's role or as part of a community of people who spend a significant proportion of their daily life together in the same setting. That is to say, we talk to each other every day at work, and speaking Welsh together in the workplace is an important way of consolidating and developing skills, and establishing practices in terms of using Welsh. As an organisation, the Welsh Government has shown leadership in this area, and in early 2020 we published an internal use of Welsh strategy called 'Cymraeg. It belongs to us all.'. The long-term vision contained in the strategy is for us to become a truly bilingual organisation by 2050. Our aim is that all Welsh Government staff will be able to at least understand the Welsh language by 2050, so that Welsh and English are used naturally and interchangeably as working languages of government.
This emphasis on the interpersonal use of Welsh is something that we’ll prioritise in all our interventions. In the business sector, for example, the main focus in terms of increasing the use of Welsh has been on the service offered by businesses and on the linguistic landscape (signage and branding and so on) within the retail sector. We’ll shift the emphasis towards language use by workers, with a particular focus on the foundational economy. This will also be a central factor in our work to develop the co-operative and social enterprise sector, and we’ll provide a greater focus on this in future.
The health, social care, local government and third sectors are also key to the use of the Welsh language, whether between workers or between workers and the public when receiving services, and we’ll work with these sectors to strengthen their contribution towards doubling the use of the language.
We know about the challenge of establishing positive language use practices among children and young people. We’ve recently completed an evaluation of the Welsh Language Charter and its associated programmes, which aims to establish the practice of using Welsh socially among children and young people. We’ll be doing further work in this area. A key challenge in working with young people is to provide continuity of opportunity to learn and use the language as they move from education to the workplace. We’ll also work to ensure that youth services in Welsh are given due consideration as we develop a framework for youth provision across Wales.
The pandemic has undoubtedly changed the ways in which we live and work, and we’ll ensure that we understand the impact on the use of Welsh and adapt our interventions accordingly. For example, as more people work remotely, whether at home or in local hubs, we’ll look for creative ways of ensuring the use of Welsh is facilitated. We also want to build on the good work of the National Centre for Learning Welsh during the pandemic period, which responded quickly to ensure that people had opportunities to learn Welsh online. We are keen to build on that success and ensure that new Welsh speakers have opportunities to continue to learn and use Welsh online if that’s most convenient for them.
At a community level, we’ll take action in light of the recommendations of the Welsh Language Partnership Council sub-group, following a review of the impact of COVID-19 on the community use of Welsh. At the heart of our approach will be incorporating the principles of community development and empowerment into language planning initiatives. We’ll continue to support the work of our community-based partners to increase the use of Welsh.
We must all, government and civil society alike act to safeguard opportunities to use Welsh in all communities in Wales. To build on our evidence base for doing so, we’ll establish a commission to strengthen the position of Welsh as a community language.
Areas of action 2021 to 2026
- Establish and support a commission to strengthen the position of Welsh as a community language.
- Take action following the recommendations of the Welsh Language Partnership Council sub-group, following a review of the impact of COVID-19 on the community use of Welsh.
- Support the post-pandemic recovery of key national bodies that work to increase the use of Welsh.
- Provide free access to the Urdd Eisteddfod in 2022.
- Support the Urdd and the National Eisteddfod to build on the digital provision developed during the pandemic to sustain and create new audiences.
- Support community groups to restart and expand their activities following the pandemic.
- Review the Welsh Government's grant scheme to promote and facilitate the use of the Welsh language.
- Place expectations on the partners we fund to evolve their approaches where possible towards a model where they empower communities to act in the best interests of the Welsh language.
- Work with the Arts Council of Wales and Sport Wales to promote the use of Welsh within arts, sport and leisure networks and activities.
- Develop a new programme for supporting the use of Welsh by children and young people, with a focus on transition between education, the community and the family.
- Ensure that the interpersonal use of the Welsh language is the main focus of our promotional work - in the community, in business, and in the workplace.
- Support the development of co-operative and social enterprises where the Welsh language is central to their internal ethos.
- Ensure that remote working hubs in towns across Wales facilitate the use of Welsh as a working language and the language of the workplace.
- Continue to fund the National Centre for Learning Welsh to undertake a Work Welsh project to increase Welsh language skills in workplaces.
- Implement our internal Welsh language use strategy, ‘Cymraeg - it belongs to us all’.
- Support the health, social care, local government and third sectors to identify opportunities to increase the use of Welsh among their workforces and with the public they serve, prioritising workforce planning in terms of language skills and recruiting more Welsh speakers.
- Respond to the evaluation of ‘More than just words’ and develop a work programme to increase the use of Welsh in health and care and build capacity to offer Welsh language services.
- Consider the impact of Welsh Language Standards on the use of Welsh when making decisions about preparing further Standards.
- Give Transport for Wales new powers to better integrate rail, bus and active travel and regulate them to ensure they meet Welsh Language standards.
- Ensure that the Welsh language is mainstreamed through all our work across our equality agenda, starting by ensuring that our forthcoming Race Equality Action Plan includes specific objectives concerning learning and using Welsh among people from ethnic minorities.
- Establish an equality sub-group under the Welsh Language Partnership Council.
[footnote 4] Target: The percentage of the population who speak Welsh daily, and can speak more than a few words of Welsh, to increase from 10 per cent (in 2013 to 2015) to 20 per cent by 2050.
Theme 3: creating favourable conditions - infrastructure and context
Language is a social phenomenon that needs communities of speakers to exist in order to facilitate its use. As well as strong networks of Welsh speakers that exist in communities across Wales, we are fortunate that we have geographical communities where Welsh is the main language spoken by a large proportion of the population in everyday social situations. This is important, as it’s in these communities that the Welsh language is most often spoken.
The unprecedented period of social and economic change being seen in the wake of the pandemic and which, in future, will occur as a result of our departure from the European Union means that we must consider carefully how to sustain the language in these communities. We’ll place an emphasis on maintaining the social fabric of Welsh-speaking communities.
At the time of the publication of this document, we’re working intensively across Government to address an issue that has implications for the balance of communities where there is a high density of Welsh speakers, namely the second homes market and, beyond, issues of affordability in general. A recent report on the development of new policies in relation to second homes offers a number of recommendations regarding taxation and planning policy. We’ve responded to this report and will take forward a range of actions.
We’ll emulate this cross-Government approach when addressing other complex and multi-layered issues that have the potential to affect communities with high percentages of Welsh speakers. For example, we’ll implement the recommendations of the Round Table on the Language and Economy to strengthen the economic situation of communities with a high percentage of Welsh speakers, giving local people the opportunity to stay or return to live and work in the areas where they were brought up. We’ll also mainstream the Welsh language into economic and employability programmes and use our influence to benefit the Welsh language from our economic intervention.
As well as focussing on issues relating to the sociological aspect of Welsh language use, we’ll also continue to take steps to maintain and strengthen linguistic infrastructure in terms of dictionaries, terminology and corpus resources. This is an important area that will underpin how the Welsh language is used in everyday life - in the media, in education, in public services and so on. Our aim is to make it easier for people to use these resources. We’ll also work to protect Welsh place names that are an integral part of our heritage.
The pandemic has emphasised the importance of technology to our lives and also highlighted the gaps that exist in Welsh language provision such as simultaneous human interpretation in virtual meetings. We’ve completed the vast majority of the actions of the Welsh Language Technology Action Plan published in 2018, and there are now many language technology components that are ready for use in the products of technology companies to facilitate the use of the Welsh language. We’ll continue to work with the technology sector to facilitate the use of these components.
To achieve our aspiration to ensure ownership of language policy across government in Wales, we’ve established Prosiect 2050 - a multi-disciplinary unit that will increase expertise in language planning across Government and beyond. The Leading in a Bilingual Country programme for senior public sector leaders has been developed jointly between Academi Wales and Prosiect 2050.
This work, like much of our and our partners’ work, contributes to ensuring a narrative for the Welsh language that’s outward-looking, welcoming, friendly and inclusive. Welsh belongs to us all and it’s a vehicle for uniting people from different backgrounds. We’ll continue with that thinking as we implement this Work Programme. We’ll also emphasise that thinking as we strengthen our partnerships with governments across the world that are also working to promote and maintain minority languages.
It’s important to evaluate and conduct research in realising the strategy’s objectives. A research programme was carried out during the first Cymraeg 2050 Work Programme. The output of the studies undertaken, together with that of projects completed in the years prior to the launch of Cymraeg 2050, offer direction and recommendations for future programmes in key priority areas:
- the use of Welsh in informal and community settings
- Welsh language transmission and use in families
- facilitating the use of Welsh in the early years (Cymraeg for kids) and among children and young people (the Welsh Language Charter)
- the Welsh language and the economy
The recommendations presented in these research reports also provide valuable guidance for the future development of our research and evaluation programme, both in identifying research areas and data requirements, and the need to review and refine theories of change underlying programme design and implementation.
Areas of action 2021 to 2026
- Take forward the three-pronged approach announced in July 2021 to address the impact of second home ownership on Wales' communities, focussing on:
- support: addressing affordability and availability of housing
- regulatory framework and system: covering planning law and the introduction of a statutory registration scheme for holiday accommodation
- a fairer contribution: using national and local taxation systems to ensure second home owners make a fair and effective contribution to the communities in which they buy
- Create a Welsh Language Communities Housing Plan to strengthen Welsh speaking communities, and we’ll work with partners in these communities to support young people to secure affordable homes.
- Implement the actions of the Round Table on the Welsh Language and the Economy, and continue to assemble the group to develop and facilitate the mainstreaming of the Welsh language in relevant economic and employability programmes, targeting young people to remain or return to areas of high percentages of Welsh speakers.
- Publish a policy aimed at creating a more strategic and co-ordinated structure to maintain and develop the linguistic infrastructure of the Welsh language (dictionaries, terminology, corpus resources, etc.).
- Work to protect Welsh place names.
- Work with the technology sector to ensure use of the language technology components created by our Welsh Language Technology Action Plan.
- Use the procurement system to increase Welsh language digital services.
- Promote Wales’s bilingualism on the international stage and contribute to the UN International Decade of Indigenous Languages 2022 to 2032.
- Continue to play a leading role in international networks for the promotion of minority languages.
- Build language planning capacity among public policy makers.
- Expand the training for leading in a bilingual country to new sectors.
- Continue to add to our evidence base about the Welsh language and language planning, by developing our research and evaluation programme.
- Analyse the results of the 2021 Census and the Welsh Language Use Survey 2019 to 2020 so that we have a comprehensive picture of the situation of the Welsh language in terms of the language ability of the population and use of the language.