Kirsty Williams, AM, Cabinet Secretary for Education
The Welsh language strategy – Cymraeg 2050 highlighted the need for a renewed focus on the post-16 sector’s Welsh-medium and bilingual provision and its importance in maintaining and developing the Welsh language skills of young people.
Following our response to the Welsh Government’s Programme for Government commitment to “explore the potential expansion of the remit of the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol to include further education”, the Coleg is now taking increased responsibility in supporting FE colleges and apprenticeship providers to develop their Welsh-medium provision; assisting them to overcome barriers which have in the past limited their ability to increase their provision.
To coincide with the additional responsibility, the Coleg established an advisory group with representation from further education colleges and the work-based learning sectors to consider the opportunities and challenges in supporting the development of Welsh-medium and bilingual education and to support the Coleg with developing an action plan. Three specific areas were prioritised:
- supporting current staff of colleges and training providers to develop their Welsh language skills in order to teach bilingually;
- develop Welsh-medium teaching resources; and
- promoting the opportunities and benefits to learners in Welsh Government priority areas.
The group provided me with a report on their findings in July 2018 and this has now been developed, in partnership with my officials, into a formal action plan which is being published today.
I’m pleased that in such a short period of time, that not only has the Coleg responded to the new challenge, but a clear ambitious plan has been set to respond to the wide range of challenges that have been identified. We have surpassed our initial expectations and a work programme for the next few years has been set, not only to develop the Welsh-medium and bilingual provision but also to provide opportunities for young people to use Welsh socially within the learning environment The Coleg in partnership with Welsh Government will now take these actions forward, building on the activity that has already been initiated.