Eluned Morgan MS, Minister for Mental Health, Wellbeing and Welsh Language
I am announcing today that I have commissioned a Rapid Review of the National Centre for Learning Welsh (“the Centre”). The Centre was established in 2015 for a 7 year grant period, which ends on 31 July 2022.
Since its establishment, the Centre has developed a National Curriculum and a strong resource base for Learn Welsh provision, provided a strategic and national direction to regional Learn Welsh providers, established a robust data collection system, and have increased the range of provision available to learners across Wales especially in response to the Covid pandemic. The Centre’s response to the pandemic has been particularly impressive with people being able to continue to learn Welsh seamlessly in spite of face to face learning coming to an end suddenly.
I have decided to undertake a Review to consider Learn Welsh provision from 1 August 2022 onwards. I have asked Steve Morris, the Chair of the Welsh Government Welsh for Adults Scrutiny Committee to lead the review, supported by a team of experts with varied expertise. They will begin this work immediately and report back to me by the end of July. I am very grateful to them for agreeing to undertake this work. They will consider and provide recommendations on the following matters:
- Consider whether the Centre's progress against the recommendations of "Raising Our Sights" (the report that led to its establishment) has been realised;
- consider whether the Centre's activities contribute to efforts to realise the relevant "Cymraeg 2050" targets;
- consider the Centre's response to Covid, and whether the developments resulting from it offer opportunities for long-term changes to how the Centre operates or how Learn Welsh provision is delivered;
- consider the current activities and responsibilities of the Centre, and whether the expertise that has been gained and the resources that have been created since its inception offer opportunities to extend the Centre's activities to statutory education fields;
- consider if the Centre has given sufficient attention to developing Learn Welsh opportunities for new and specific audiences e.g. non-Welsh speaking parents, and people of colour and ethnic minorities including refugees and asylum seekers,
- review the Centre’s data regarding the numbers that Learn Welsh, and approximate costs per person, consider what factors can be used to define value for money, and what outcomes are achieved by other language teaching methods, and the standards achieved, and
- recommend how Ministers can best secure provision after 31 July 2022 (i.e. by means of a grant model similar to the current arrangement or by adopting a different regime).
The full review team is as follows:
Steve Morris – Report Writer
Steve is an Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Applied Linguistics at Swansea University. He has over 35 years experience as a teaching, assessment and curriculum practitioner in the Welsh language, joining the Department of Continuing Education in 1991 before transferring to the College of Arts and Humanities in 2010 as an Associate Professor of Welsh and Applied Linguistics. Steve was elected to the Executive Committee of the British Association for Applied Linguistics (BAAL) in 2012 and is a co-investigator and member of the management team for the ESRC/AHRC funded research project CorCenCC: the National Corpus of Contemporary Welsh. Steve is also Chair of the Welsh Government Welsh for Adults Scrutiny Committee.
Advisory Board members
Prof Enlli Thomas
Enlli Thomas is Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor (Welsh language), Bangor University, and is a Professor of Education Research. Her main research interests and expertise span psycholinguistic approaches to the study of bilingual language acquisition. Enlli is also a Member of the Government’s Welsh Language Partnership Council. She will be able to add in-depth knowledge of the education sector and educational resources to the Review.
Prof Tess Fitzpatrick
Tess Fitzpatrick is Head of the Department of Applied Linguistics and Director of the Language Research Centre at Swansea University. She returned to Swansea in 2017 after five years at Cardiff University’s Centre for Language and Communication Research. Her academic research on vocabulary processing, acquisition and testing is informed by her early career in language teaching. Tess was Chair of the British Association for Applied Linguistics (BAAL) between 2015 and 2018, and has been awarded Fellowship of the Academy of Social Sciences for her work in lexical studies and in wider understanding of cognitive processes in language learning and education. She will add expertise on second language acquisition and language learning contexts to the Review.
Dr Gwenllian Landsdown Davies
Gwenllian Lansdown Davies studied French and Spanish at Oxford and lived for a while in Galicia and Brussels before completing a MScEcon and PhD in Political Theory at Cardiff University where she also taught as a politics tutor. In 2011, she was appointed as a Publications Officer for the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol at Aberystwyth University where she was also responsible for its research journal, ‘Gwerddon’. She became Chief Executive of Mudiad Meithrin in September 2014. Mudiad Meithrin is a voluntary organisation and is the main provider and enabler of Welsh-medium early years care and education in the voluntary sector with over 1000 settings. Gwenllian will be able to add expertise on early years and the use of Welsh within homes and families to the Review.
Rhian Huws Williams
Rhian has operated at the highest level of Public Services in Wales for over 30 years, most recently as Chief Executive of the Care Council for Wales. Her experience includes agency development and change management, governance, policy advice, strategic development and leadership. She has been persuaded by experience of the need for courageous leadership, the importance of partnership working, and the value of a culture that encourages continuous learning and development at an organisational and personal level. She has been a member of several Ministerial Groups and public service leadership groups in Wales. Since retiring he has focused on two areas: the Welsh Language, and education and skills. Rhian is a member of the Minister's Partnership Council on the Welsh Language; and a trustee of several local and national bodies that support an increase in the use of Welsh.