Huw Lewis, Minister for Education and Skills
In April 2010 the Welsh Government published the Welsh-medium Education Strategy with the aim of ensuring that Welsh-medium education and training are integral parts of the education infrastructure. Among the strategic aims and objectives set by the Strategy was improving the process of planning Welsh-medium provision and continuity across the age ranges, improving language skills, and raising standards of Welsh and Welsh Second Language.
The main means of achieving these aims and objectives was to invite local authorities to prepare Welsh in Education Strategic Plans and to submit them to the Welsh Government. Since the passing of the School Standards and Organisation (Wales) Act 2013 and the Welsh in Education Strategic Plans and Assessing the Demand for Welsh-medium Education (Wales) Regulations 2013 these arrangements are statutory.
On the basis of guidance published by the Welsh Government in 2013 local authorities were required to prepare their first statutory Plans for the period 2014 to 2017, to consult publicly and to submit them to the Welsh Ministers. The functions of the Welsh Ministers in relation to a Welsh in Education Strategic Plan is:
- to approve it as submitted,
- to approve it with modifications, or
- to reject it and prepare another plan which is to be treated as the authority’s approved plan
The Welsh Ministers have given detailed consideration to 21 Welsh in Education Strategic Plans and have discharged their functions as follows:
- approved 3 Plans as submitted – Ceredigion, Gwynedd and Swansea,
- approved 18 Plans with modifications – Anglesey, Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Cardiff, Conwy, Denbighshire, Flint, Merthyr Tydfil, Monmouthshire, Neath Port Talbot, Newport, Pembrokeshire, Powys, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Torfaen, Vale of Glamorgan and Wrexham.
Carmarthenshire has been given an extension to the timetable in order for the authority to reflect the recommendations of the Census Working Group in its Strategic Plan.
Each local authority will be expected to review its Plans annually and to submit any amended plans to the Welsh Ministers.