Access to Welsh-medium education is met through existing primary and secondary school provision, mainly within the local authority and in a small number of cases in neighbouring authorities. We also facilitate access to secondary phase Welsh-medium education for out of Local Authority pupils, mainly from Powys, at Ysgol Gymraeg Ystalyfera Bro Dur. Recognising parental demand for more readily accessible secondary phase Welsh medium education, the local authority has recently established a second 11-16 campus in the south of the Local Authority Borough. Transport has been provided in accordance with the authority’s Home to School Travel Policy 2017.
The Local Authority complies with the statutory duties of the Learner Travel Measure (Wales) 2008 and currently the Council’s policy is to provide discretionary free home to school travel assistance to those pupils attending their nearest suitable Welsh-medium education provision or the designated Welsh-medium education provision for the home address. Discretionary assistance for free home to school travel to Welsh-medium schools is subject to the specified distance criteria being met. Currently there is no requirement to provide free home to school travel assistance to pupils of non-compulsory school age, including those attending Welsh-medium Post-16 provision.
Swansea Valley - an area of linguistic sensitivity
The term ‘linguistic sensitivity’ is used to define those areas in Wales which require targeted and additional support where the language is deemed to be in a weakened state and where the number of speakers are in serious decline, and where the linguistic community may face challenges around the daily use of their language.
According to the 2011 Census, around 15.3% of the county borough's population could speak Welsh, which equates to 20,698 individuals. The vast majority of these speakers lived in the top of the Swansea and Amman Valleys with some communities such as Gwaun Cae Gurwen, Cwmllynfell and Lower Brynamman amongst the highest percentage of Welsh speaking areas in Wales. However, these are the areas that saw the greatest decline in terms of percentage and numbers of Welsh speakers between 2001 and 2011.
The Neath Port Talbot Welsh Language Promotion strategy highlights the importance of the area between Trebanos to Cwmllynfell and Rhos to Gwaun Cae Gurwen as possibly the ’most important in the county borough in terms of its linguistic significance as it contains the highest numbers and percentages of Welsh speakers.’
The table below shows a significant drop in the number of Welsh speakers in these communities over 10 years. In 2011 the Welsh Language Board established a specific language promotion scheme for the Aman Tawe area in an effort to halt the decline of the Welsh language in this area.
||Number of Welsh speakers (2001)
||Number of Welsh speakers (2011)
||% Comparable change
|Gwaun Cae Gurwen
Factors that contribute to linguistic erosion include:
- Lack of language transmission at home
- Out-migration / Immigration
- Negative perception of the inherent value of the language
- Lack of awareness of the advantages of bilingualism
- Lack of confidence in Welsh speakers
- The spread of English into traditional Welsh languages
- Mixed language marriages
- The power of Anglo-American influence on the interests of children and young people
- More deaths than births among Welsh-speaking families
A range of actions have been identified within this WESP which are aimed to support and develop the Welsh language and in some instances specifically to address some of the concerns regarding the development of the language and Welsh-medium education in the Swansea Valley area. Appendix A outlines the actions in more detail.
Welsh-medium schools within Neath Port Talbot
- Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Blaendulais
- Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Castell-nedd
- Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Cwmnedd
- Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Cwmllynfell
- Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Gwaun Cae Gurwen
- Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Pontardawe
- Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Rhosafan
- Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Trebannws
- Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Tyle'r Ynn
- Ysgol Gymraeg Ystalyfera Bro Dur