Welsh Education Strategic Plan
- Meeting of Children and Young People Select Committee, Thursday, 2nd December, 2021 10.00 am (Item 4.)
To receive a verbal update on the conclusions of the consultation process, ahead of reporting to Cabinet.
The Head of Service for Children and Young People was invited to present a brief update on the conclusions drawn from the consultation process which included face to face events with stakeholders and headteachers. The officer highlighted the following points:
· Five formal responses had been received to date, but more are expected before the deadline.
· One key conclusion is that there is generally support for the growth of Welsh Language across Monmouthshire.
· There is some disappointment in our seedling school not being open from 2022, however, from 2023. Also some concerns from the English medium schools on the impact that will have on them, and how we ensure our plan is robust enough to meet the Welsh language development in all our schools, Welsh or English medium.
· We have discussed the plan fully with Estyn and are awaiting their response.
· We have taken action around the seedling school which was discussed at your previous meeting, aiming to establish a seedling school as soon as possible, but recognising there are some significant challenges in achieving this quickly with the need for a full consultation process and an election in May 2022, however, we are confident that we can have that in place for September 2023. For children who were looking to attend that school from September 2022, we will look to provide a seedling to cover reception and year 1 in the interim and will look to communicate that to parents as soon as possible so that they can make their plans.
· The draft WESP will need to be approved by the Cabinet and then Welsh Government.
· I’m pleased to update you that the council has established a 3 year pilot for late immersion provision which is up and running with a few pupils attending and it is seeming to have quite an impact already on Ysgol Y fin and applications for 2023, so this is a huge increase on what we have seen to date. I’m pleased to advise you that to accelerate this work, the council has bid for and been awarded approximately £84,000 grant monies to support later immersion over the next 2 terms, based on additional staffing and resources and training techniques, which will help us with increased future demand.
The chair thanked the Officer for the comprehensive update and invited questions from members. Councillors Tudor Thomas and David Hughes-Jones declared personal but non prejudicial interests as governors at Ysgol Y Fin, Abergavenny.
· Recognising the best laid plans can be put off course by external influences, however in a recent governor report taken to the board of governors at King Henry, members understood that some students who had previously been receiving Welsh language provision in Torfaen had found their provision had been withdrawn and subsequently joining King Henry School, who were trying to support them. Is there any additional funding that could be made available to King Henry School to do this?
At the moment, the grant is for late immersion, not for those already speaking some degree of Welsh, however, secondary schools in other authorities have established late immersion provision so in their own counties. We work closely with partners and maybe in the future, there will be funding, but there is nothing that I’m aware of at this time.
The chair thanked the officer for providing the update. Whilst it is disappointing the seedling school is to be delayed, the challenges are unavoidable and it’s pleasing to see the pilot for late immersion which does seem to be working in terms of keeping children together in schools and continuing their learning.