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Outcome 1 - More nursery children/ three year olds receive their education through the medium of Welsh

Where are we now?

Our early years ambition for the Welsh Language in Neath Port Talbot, involves us generating a culture where high quality Welsh Language services for families are not just easily accessible and available, but in demand; we need to create that demand. We feel, the key here is promoting and communicating the benefits of the Welsh Language and bilingualism as early as possible during a child’s journey through education and services. 

We recognise that parents decisions about their child’s ultimate destination school, regardless of language, is often considered very early on in a child’s life, or even during gestation.  Identifying both universal and targeted provision contact points with families, and working in partnership is essential in fulfilling these targets.

In terms of our existing strategies and plans, it is essential for us to dovetail the many cross-cutting outcomes throughout the Early Years services we run, both as a Local Authority, and collaboratively with partners. These include:

  • CCG: Childcare and Play- Supporting Families (3 focus areas, one of which is to support and assist families wishing to access provision through the medium of Welsh)
  • Welsh Language Strategy – Childcare element within Priority 1
  • Childcare Sufficiency Assessment – Priority: Improve access to Welsh medium and bilingual provision
  • Play Sufficiency Assessment
  • Flying Start Childcare
  • Childcare Offer for Wales

Childcare Sufficiency Assessment

The Childcare Sufficiency Assessment data was not required by WG to be refreshed as initially planned during 2020, due to the pandemic. The last full CSA was 2017. This was reliant on SASS data that was not fully complete by the NPT CC sector at the time, so the data and information is not an accurate measure of the WM sector at the time.

3% of the 68 registered childminders in NPT class their main operating language as Welsh and English (2 childminders classified as Welsh/English, 66 class themselves as English only).

Childcare Data

From a snap shot taken 30th August 2021 from the NPT CIW childcare data shown below, 10.5% of the total 2199 available registered childcare spaces were Welsh Medium spaces:

Total spaces - 231
Service URN Service Name Provider Address Town/City Service Type Service Sub type Maximum Capacity Date of Registration Temporarily Closed?
SIN-00004620 Cylch Meithrin Mwy Blaendulais Blaendulais Children's Day Care Sessional Day Care 12 37347 Open
SIN-00004621 Tiddlywinks Childcare Centre Ystalyfera Children's Day Care Full Day Care 43 37347 Open
SIN-00005342 Cylch Aberafan, Aberavon Integrated Children's Centre Aberavon Children's Day Care Sessional Day Care 12 38951 Open
SIN-00005645 Cylch Brynhyfryd Flying Start Playgroup Brynhyfryd Children's Day Care Full Day Care   40206 Open
SIN-00005723 Lots of Tots (Canolfan Maerdy) Tairgwaith Children's Day Care Full Day Care 52 39926 Open
SIN-00005753 Meithrinfa Ddydd Ser Bach/Little Stars Day Nursery Neath Children's Day Care Full Day Care 19 39917 Open
SIN-00006233 Cylch Chwarae Castell-nedd Neath Children's Day Care Sessional Day Care 28 41346 Open
SIN-00006241 Meithrinfa Ddydd y Waun GCG Children's Day Care Full Day Care 19 41380 Open
SIN-00006588 Georgie Porgie's Cyclch Tir Morfa Sandfields Children's Day Care Full Day Care 12 42009 Open
SIN-00007321 Cylch Chwarae Pontardawe Pontardawe Children's Day Care Full Day Care 14 42571 Open
SIN-00008668-SPWH Cylch Meithrin Cwmnedd Cwmnedd Children's Day Care Full Day Care 20 43325 Open

 

Service URN Service Name Provider Address Town/City Service Type Service Sub type Maximum Capacity Date of Registration Temporarily Closed?
SIN-00010201-SWQB Clwb Plant Tiddlywinks Ystalyfera Children's Day Care Out of school care 32 43517 Closed

In the short term, one 32 place WM setting is closed and is being supported to reopen, along with our current SSIP (Strategic School Improvement)/ WMG (Welsh Medium Grant)/ CCO (Child Care Offer) capital developments due to be completed, creating an additional 58 Welsh Medium spaces to be available before 2022. This increases the overall WM percentage to 14.6% by 2021/2022.

Flying Start

The number of children accessing Welsh language in Flying Start, accumulative, is as follows:

  • 2017/18  - 104
  • 2018/19 – 135
  • 2019/20 -130
  • 2020-21(during covid) – 77

There will potentially be 34 more places available as part of the WM capital developments in YGG Pontardawe and YGG Tyle’r Ynn in 2021-2022.

Based on 2020/21 data, there were 452 Flying Start childcare places per annum across our settings of which 65 were category 3 (Welsh language) and category 2 (English/Welsh language) childcare settings equating to a total of 14.4%. The following table shows the transition rate from WM Flying Start places to Nursery education in WM primary schools:

Flying Start Setting Transition rate - Welsh Medium Nursery Transition rate - English Medium Nursery Destination Schools Notes
Cylch Brynhyfryd 66.6% 33.3% YGG Tyle'r Ynn, Carreg Hir  
Cylch Aberafan   100% Sandfields Primary Setting on school site
Cylch Cwmnedd 50% 50% YGG Cwmnedd, Blaendulais, Cwmnedd, English Setting on YGG school site
Cylch Castell-nedd 50% 50% YGG CN, Gnoll, Alderman Davies  
Meithrinfa Dydd y Waun (GCG) 100%   YGG GCG Setting on school site
Cylch Pontardawe 100%   YGG Pontardawe Setting on school site
Cylch Tir Morfa 100%   YGG Rhosafan Setting immediately next to school site
Tiddlywinks Ystalyfera 100%   YGG Ystalyfera Bro Dur  
Lots of Tots Canolfan Maerdy 100%   YGG Ystalyfera Bro Dur, YGG Brynamman  

We recognise the need to increase the percentage of children accessing WM FS childcare entering WM Nursery Education. The current overall transition rate from WM FS Childcare to MW Nursery Education is 74%. 44 children (11 of which accessed English Medium FS Childcare) transitioned into WM Nursery during 2020/2021.

Developing bilingual settings

While we are committed to the increase and development of Welsh language childcare provision, we also recognise that childcare providers are enthusiastic about offering more Welsh language opportunities in their setting. We have staff that a passionate about the Welsh Language, working with the English Medium settings to improve the Welsh they offer through and awards based Welsh Language quality assurance scheme which includes support, access to training and drop-in Welsh language acquisition sessions. The change in categories may mean over time a move from category 1 English language settings to category 2 English / Welsh language settings.

Capital Projects

There are a number of pre-school capital projects that will impact Welsh Medium Provision within the Local Authority outlined below which will significantly increase the WM places available:

Capital project Brief outline of works Estimated completion date Additional WM places
YGG Cwmllynfell Increased classrooms and new childcare room September 2021 24
YGG Tyle'r Ynn Increased classrooms, new childcare room, new community space September 2021 24
YGG Pontardawe

Increased classrooms, larger childcare space

December 2021 +10
Neath Central New childcare setting May 2022 24

Family Information Service

Our Family Information Service is a pivotal part of Early Years information and support for families within NPT. During COVID its importance has been in the spotlight, with even greater reliance on seeking correct and up to date information on line for families. The Early Years Team, is working closely with FIS, to develop its information for parents looking for WM groups, childcare and schools, and aims to highlight the benefits of bilingualism and the Welsh Language to parents in a fun and interesting way, including online presence, access to Welsh stories and rhymes, signposting to Welsh lessons for parents etc. Work has already taken place to improve the WM schools landing page, but we acknowledge that there is work to be done to streamline the links between the FIS site and the NPT schools pages to ensure clear, easy to navigate information.

Mudiad Meithrin

As we move out of the restrictions of coronavirus, community groups will reignite, and we will work with Mudiad Meithrin officers to develop Cymraeg i Blant, Ti a Fi, and to offer early Welsh language opportunities for very young children and families.  Cymraeg i Blant will aim is to increase the number of nursery age children that are able to speak Welsh. This will be achieved through sharing information and giving advice and support to parents on the benefits of Welsh medium education/childcare, the benefits of being bilingual and the importance of introducing Welsh to children as early as possible. Cymraeg i Blant will therefore contribute towards the Welsh Government’s target of achieving a million Welsh speakers by 2050.

Mudiad Meithrin officers will continue to work with the Early Years team to develop and expand Cylchoedd Meithrin across the borough especially through their Set up And Succeed programme (Cwmllynfell and Tyle’r Ynn). We will continue to encourage all new and existing Cylchoedd to tender to deliver on our early years’ contracts including Flying Start, Early Years Education, Assisted and Supported Places as well as the Childcare Offer.

Nursery Places

Pupils within the Local Authority start Nursery education at the age of 3 years old. The percentage choosing Welsh medium education at this stage is gradually increasing.N1 numbers (youngest Nursery cohort) increased in 2021 as a result of PLASC being later than usual due to the pandemic but the percentage fell from previous years. PLASC 2022 will provide more accurate figures for this cohort. The percentage of pupils in N2 (oldest Nursery cohort) Welsh-medium schools in 2021 was the highest since 2011, with numbers increasing by almost 4% since 2017. Three year N2 cohort averages at all Welsh-medium primary schools in the south of the Local Authority are on the increase, this coincides with the availability of more accessible secondary Welsh-medium education with the opening of the YG Ystalyfera Bro Dur south campus in September 2017.

Plasc Pupil Numbers and Percentages in Welsh medium schools
Year Group Nursery 1 - Numbers Nursery 1- Percentages Nursery 2 - Numbers Nursery 2 - Percentages
2007 94 20.5% 245 18.6%
2008 111 21.9% 268 18.7%
2009 90 19% 304 19.8%
2010 89 19.2% 280 18.8%
2011 103 20.2% 310 21.2%
2012 108 22% 306 20.2%
2013 87 18% 285 18.6%
2014 110 20.5% 266 17.7%
2015 92 18.6% 272 17.3%
2016 81 17.7% 270 18%
2017 85 18.4% 243 17.1%
2018 104 21.1% 256 18%
2019 109 22.7% 270 18.7%
2020 112 23.7% 292 19.8%
2021 155 20.3% 290 21%
Plasc Actuals - Welsh medium Year Nursery 2
No. School 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
2213 YGG Y Wern 16 18 22 15 13 32 18 23 23 11 17        
2202 YGG Blaendulais 14 18 17 12 11 13 16 12 17 7 18 10 12 13 16
2168 YGG Castell-nedd 39 38 48 34 49 58 54 43 46 60 43 48 53 58 59
2205 YGG Cwmnedd 25 25 31 28 44 19 27 23 23 15 11 9 9 27 21
2149 YGG GCG 13 14 22 19 13 13 23 18 17 26 25 24 26 24 25
2218 YGG Pontardawe 31 38 37 47 49 59 38 35 36 56 37 50 45 32 47
2158 YGG Rhosafan 35 48 53 57 56 47 48 42 45 43 41 50 62 56 51
2231 YGG Tyle'r Ynn 21 27 30 28 35 26 22 33 30 27 31 26 23 45 30
2125 YGG Cwmgors 10 7 4 6 4 8 7 6 7            
2128 YGG Cwmllynfell 12 10 11 7 9 14 16 14 19 9 9 8 5 8 9
2198 YGG Rhiwfawr 3 2 7 5 9                    
2208 YGG Trebannws 20 16 18 19 14 17 16 17 9 16 11 10 15 10 11
2139 YGG Y Glyn 6 7 4 3 4                    
5501 YG Ystalyfera - Bro Dur                              

 

Plasc Actuals - Welsh medium Year Nursery 2
Total 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Welsh medium 245 268 304 280 310 306 285 266 272 270 243 256 270 292 290
NPT 1317 1434 1536 1489 1459 1512 1530 1505 1575 1497 1425 1420 1447 1472 1382
% Welsh medium 18.6% 18.7% 19.8% 18.8% 21.2% 20.2% 18.6% 17.7% 17.3% 18% 17.1% 18% 18.7% 19.8% 21%

We recognise that we will need to expand our Welsh language registered childcare places, including Flying Start childcare places, with a focus on any further school expansion to enable continuity for families as well as areas where there is currently no Welsh language childcare provision. The expansion of childcare provision will require a focus on capital developments submitted to Welsh Government, as well as workforce development to ensure sufficient staff to run high quality Welsh language childcare. This in turn will lead to an increase in demand for Welsh-medium Nursery places and will lead to an increase of 3 year olds/ nursery children accessing Welsh-medium education.

Where do we aim to be within the first 5 years of this Plan and how we propose to get there?

Our aim is to increase the number of Nursery children receiving Welsh-medium education in order to reach our target of an increase of 208 pupils by the end of the 10 year plan. This will be achieved by implementing the following actions.

  • Promote partnership work with Midwifery and Health Visitors to assist early messages about the Welsh Language and bilingualism, to be shared though the perinatal and postnatal period. Information booklets providing information on the benefits of bilingualism and addressing common fears will be created and used by the partners from initial perinatal communication with parents.
  • Partnership work with Swansea University/ Academi Hywel Teifi will embed the promotion of bilingualism into the midwifery course currently running at the University.
  • Revisit the training run by Cefin Campbell with all staff working within EY in NPT, LA and Health (including SALT), childcare sector etc. It is important to regain some of the momentum lost during COVID, revisiting some of the good work that had started to impact how our own team members and our partners used and promoted Welsh and Bilingualism.
  • Work with parents and carers to understand what information they need to inform their choices of language provision for education, including resources, web presence, activities etc. will be developed. They will focus on alleviating common worries and barriers. Partnership work with Menter Iaith and RhAG will be essential in the success of this campaign.
  • The Local Authority will explore the possibility of using a promotional consultant employed specifically to promote the benefits of Welsh-medium education and to produce a promotional campaign i.e. website, leaflets, social media, posters, videos, to strengthen communication. A NPT website will be created outlining the journey of Welsh medium education for learners within the Local Authority. Menter Iaith and RhAG will play a pivotal role in promotion.
  • Increase the number of Welsh-medium groups running within settings and schools i.e. Babi a Fi, Ti a Fi, baby massage, parenting classes to follow the YGG Tyle’r Ynn model (Ti a Fi alone increased Nursery numbers by 24 places).
  • Regularly review the ‘Neath Port Talbot Childcare Sufficiency Assessment Action Plan’ with an emphasis on improving access to Welsh medium and bilingual provision by identifying and filling gaps in provision.
  • Based on 2020/21 data, there were 452 Flying Start childcare places per annum across our settings of which 65 were category 3 Welsh language and category 2 English/Welsh language childcare settings equating to a total of 14.4%. We have a target in Flying Start to increase this percentage to 20% within the next 5 years, 25% by end of the 10 year plan by expanding provisions/ establishing new provisions.
  • The Early Years team will continue to work with Mudiad Meithrin officers to develop and expand Cylchoedd Meithrin across the borough especially through their Set up And Succeed programme (Cwmllynfell and Tyle’r Ynn). We will continue to encourage all new and existing Cylchoedd to tender to deliver on our early years’ contracts including Flying Start, Early Years Education, Assisted and Supported Places as well as the Childcare Offer
  • The Local Authority will support the Welsh Language Awards within English language childcare settings to progress through the continuum towards an increase in category 2 Welsh language childcare provision.
  • Use the PSA (Play Strategy Assessment) to develop and encourage out of school activities in Welsh.
  • The Local Authority will review and amend the online admissions process in partnership with the admissions team for the process of applications for Nursery and Reception, so that information is strategically placed throughout the online application system to ensure families are able to make informed decisions about the language of provision they want for their child.
  • A programme of professional development will be created to ensure that partners are updated regarding what is available, increase confidence for those who speak Welsh already, provide opportunities to learn Welsh and ensuring Welsh is part of job vacancies moving forward.
  • All partners will collaborate and support private childcare settings to ensure an increase in Welsh medium provision with the emphasis of promoting the advantages of bilingualism.
  • Ensure sufficient provision for Nursery/ 3 year old provision at primary school level is easily available throughout the Local Authority. We will establish a new single form entry starter school in Skewen/ Neath Abbey area with the possibility of expanding/ transferring to a new purpose built WM primary school in Coed Darcy subject to member approval and compliance with the extant criteria of the Schools’ Organisation Code.
  • to bring forward a proposal to create a further 2 Welsh medium primary schools within the 10 year plan. Funding will be sought from the appropriate 21st Century schools programme grant funding streams.

Where do we expect to be at the end of our ten year plan?

By the end of the 10 year plan, all pupils in all areas of the Local Authority will have easy access to Welsh medium education and Welsh pre-school education. Information regarding Welsh medium education and the benefits of bilingualism will be provided by all partners to parents throughout the educational continuum, from pre-birth to post 18 in order to provide clear, concise and cohesive information. Parents will be supported throughout their child’s education.

Key Data

Numbers and % of 3-year olds receiving their education through the medium of Welsh
Year Number Percentage
2022-23 311 21.4%
2023-24 331 22.8%
2024-25 351 24.2%
2025-26 370 25.5%
2026-27 389 26.8%
2027-28 408 28.1%
2028-29 427 29.5%
2029-30 446 30.8%
2030-31 465 32%
2031-32 484 33.4%