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Bridgend Cabinet considers results of Welsh in education consultation  

Bridgend County Borough Council’s Cabinet has considered the results of a consultation about the council’s draft Welsh in Education Strategic Plan.

The plan outlines the local authority’s Welsh-medium and Welsh language education vision for the next ten years. It covers targets for increasing the provision of Welsh-medium education in the county borough, improving the standards of that education and improving the teaching of Welsh in English-medium schools.

Over the next ten years, the council hopes to almost double the existing number of Welsh-medium places for reception age learners to 300 and look at developing a Welsh language immersion unit locally and collaborating with other local authorities around a language immersion unit with the aim of supporting those learners attending Welsh-medium schools who require immersion into the Welsh language.

Within the county borough, there are plans for four new childcare hubs in Blackmill, Bettws, Bridgend and Porthcawl as part of a £2.6m investment into Welsh-medium education.

The local authority is also in the early stages of developing plans that could see an all-new Welsh-medium seedling school established in the Porthcawl area. There are plans to expand the capacity at the Welsh-medium primary schools Ysgol Y Ferch O’r Sgêr and Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Ogwr.

Of the estimated 147,049 living in the county borough, a September 2020 National Survey for Wales identified 17.5 per cent could speak Welsh – an increase of 3.1 per cent from the same survey in 2005.

By 2050, the council’s aim is for 21 per cent of residents aged three and over to be able to speak Welsh, in line with Welsh Government’s target of one million Welsh speakers by 2050.

Cllr Charles Smith, Cabinet Member for Education and Regeneration, said: “I would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to have their say on the draft Welsh in Education Strategic Plan.

“This is a strategic plan which not only covers Welsh-medium education but also the Welsh language in English-medium schools and how we increase participation across the board.

The plan has to be submitted to Welsh Government for approval by the 31 January 2022. It must include a target outlining the expected increase in the number of Year One learners taught through the medium of Welsh in the local authority area during the lifespan of the plan.

If approved, the first ten-year plan will commence on 1 September 2022.