Outcome 2 - More reception class children/ five year olds receive their education through the medium of Welsh
Where are we now?
In Neath Port Talbot there are 10 Welsh-medium schools, 9 out of 55 primary schools and 1 Welsh-medium middle school providing for ages 3 -18yrs. There are also 7 English-medium secondary schools and 2 English-medium Special Schools.
Although showing a variation over the years, the numbers at reception age show an increase. Both the number and percentage of reception pupils in Welsh-medium schools increased for the third year in a row with the percentage higher than it has been since 2013.
|Year Group||Reception Numbers||Reception Percentages|
|2213||YGG Y Wern||23||14||18||18||15||13||29||19||22||23||13|
|3231||YGG Tyle'r Ynn||21||22||27||27||31||35||27||20||34||30||28||30||26||25||43|
|2139||YGG Y Glyn||1||5||6||3||1|
|5501||YG Ystalyfera - Bro Dur|
|% Welsh medium||20.1%||18.4%||18.3%||19.3%||18.5%||20%||19.3%||17.9%||17.2%||16.7%||17.8%||16.1%||17.2%||18%||18.7%|
At present, the following is being implemented within the Local Authority:
- We currently monitor demand and identify trends for Welsh-medium education and use this information to plan for future provision.
- We ensure that proposals for 21st Century Schools include full consideration of Welsh-medium education.
- Targets are set to increase the capacity of Welsh-medium pre-school provision and to provide information for parents/carers that promotes the benefits of a bilingual education, seeking advice of best practice in other authorities. In terms of Welsh language pre-school provision, a snap shot taken 30th August 2021 from the NPT CIW childcare data shows that 10.5% of the total 2199 available registered childcare spaces were Welsh Medium spaces.
- The current SSIP/WMG/CCO capital developments will create an additional 58 Welsh Medium spaces to be available before 2022. This increases the overall WM percentage to 14.6% by 2021/2022.
- We work closely with Mudiad Meithrin to ensure expansion of pre-school provision across the authority and support the sector to recruit suitably skilled Welsh language care workers.
- Targets are set within the NPT Language Promotion Strategy plan to improve the support for parents/pupils and schools to move along the linguistic continuum through collaboration with Menter Iaith and RhAG.
- The authority has opened a second WM secondary campus in the south-east in September 2018 with a capacity for 650 11-16 pupils. It has stimulated interest and growth in WM primary provision in the areas of Port Talbot, Neath, Llandarcy, Briton Ferry and the Cwmafan area in subsequent years.
- All the Council’s schools are regularly reviewed against specific criteria, and the need for sufficient places at Welsh-medium schools features in the reviewing process, the outcomes of which have included rationalisation of Welsh-medium schools, where appropriate, to maximise the available accommodation and improve teaching and learning opportunities. The need for Welsh-medium schools is addressed by a strategic approach to service planning and delivery.
- The below projects have recently been completed or are nearing completion. In total these projects will increase the number of Foundation Phase places available within primary schools by 150 F/T pupil places.
The projects are:
Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Pontardawe
This project initially involved creating 3 extra classroom and childcare provision at Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Pontardawe. This project was awarded £1.6m grant funding.
Following more detailed discussion with the school the scheme was amended. At the schools request the current childcare provision and nursery/reception classes were relocated within the school to allow for work to take place without interruption, which necessitated remodelling 2 classrooms, providing extra toilet facilities and outdoor play area, converting the staffroom and office to provide childcare facilities and converting a reception area for storage.
The completed scheme will provide remodelled and extended childcare and nursery facilities along with 2 new build FP classrooms, a new entrance way, staffroom, meeting room and office and additional play areas, fencing and pathways, along with medium refurbishment of the hall.
As well as providing increased capacity the scheme also sought to relocate the main entrance and reception to the front of the school creating a new and more visible front of school which can be clearly seen by the road and nearby housing estate. With careful landscaping and signage of the school site it is hoped that the school will appear more attractive to parents who may be considering a WM education in their local area.
Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Cwmllynfell
At Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Cwmllynfell £640k was awarded to provide 1 extra classroom space and a childcare setting, with the aim of increasing the capacity of the school, improve Foundation Phase provision and provide space to develop pre-school Welsh-medium provision.
The scheme aimed to prevent drift to other schools in neighbouring authorities, strengthening the development of Welsh language in the area and impacting positively on the Council’s Band B proposal at YG Ystalyfera Bro Dur (north campus) by increasing the number of children from the area choosing secondary education through the medium of Welsh.
The project has been successfully completed and both the new classroom and childcare provision are ready for use.
Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Tyle'r Ynn
The aim of this project was to create a more attractive and stimulating learning environment with high quality Welsh -medium childcare on site. In the longer term it was anticipated that this would ease accommodation pressures in the area, with demand for Welsh medium pupil places increasing year on year. £1.14m of funding was awarded which enabled the provision of 2 extra classroom spaces and a new Welsh medium childcare provision.
The project has been successfully completed and is a very welcome and timely addition to the school. Pupil numbers have already shown an increase with both nursery and reception classes full in September 2021
In addition, over the past 4 years there has been significant capital funding for major refurbishment projects in eight existing Welsh-medium schools. The investment, which secures the future of these schools, ranges from boundary wall and toilet/changing facility refurbishment schemes to a new build kitchen block, boiler replacement and re-roofing. A new build 4 block extension at YGG Rhosafan and a new 60 place Nursery provision at YGG Castell nedd has also been provided as part of the Reducing Infant Class Size grant.
Where do we aim to be within the first 5 years of this Plan and how we propose to get there?
Our target is to increase the number of Year 1 children receiving WM education by 208 pupils by the end of the 10 year plan (this will mirror the number of children in Reception class as they commence full time education). We will ensure that an increase is also reflected in the transition rates within Outcome 3 and 4.
- We will review the demand for provision for Welsh-medium education on an annual basis, analyse the results of our parental surveys and draft appropriate action plans to address unmet demand in specific areas.
- We will appoint a consultant to promote the benefits of WM education and produce a marketing campaign i.e. website, leaflets, social media, and to liaise with and strengthen communication between different stakeholders etc. Specific emphasis will be given to reducing surplus places in the North of the Local Authority.
- We will work closely with Mudiad Meithrin, Menter Iaith, Tŷ’r Gwrhyd and RhAG to inform parents/ carers of the benefits of Welsh medium education and bilingualism in order to ensure retention of pupils from Nursery to full time education. Specific emphasis will be given to reducing surplus places in the North of the Local Authority.
- Cylchoedd Meithrin will work closely with their local WM schools/ Family Information Service, Flying Start to ensure that a high percentage of children transfer to WM schools. Specific emphasis will be given to reducing surplus places in the North of 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 Welsh-medium primary school in Coed Darcy subject to member approval and compliance with the extant criteria of the Schools’ Organisation Code. An expression of interest has been submitted to Welsh Government for both revenue and capital grant funding to support this project in its early days. Informal conversations have taken place with the head teachers of both YGG Tyle’r Ynn and YGG Castell-nedd around this proposal, and further more detailed discussions are expected to take place during the latter months of 2021, as it is recognised that it will be essential to gain the support and goodwill of these schools to ensure that the proposed new school is promoted in the local area.
- Subject to member approval we will establish a new Welsh medium school in the east of the county borough. Early work on potential pupil numbers have identified that an increasing number of pupils currently travel from areas including Cwmafan, Taibach and Port Talbot town to YGG Rhosafan, which is continuing to also attract growing numbers of pupil from Sandfields, Aberafan and lower Baglan areas. A new primary in this area would also seek to attract greater numbers of pupils from the lower Afan Valley and Margam areas which currently have low numbers of pupils accessing Welsh-medium provision. It is expected that funding for this new school would be sought from the appropriate Welsh Government capital grant funding stream available at the time.
- To bring forward a proposal to create a third Welsh medium primary school within the 10 year plan. Funding will be sought from the appropriate 21st Century schools programme grant funding streams.
- Subject to funding, we will invest in immersion provision for latecomers to the Welsh language. The immersion provision will enable more learners to access Welsh-medium education at primary. The model will depend on need with the aim of having provision accessible to all areas of the Local Authority by the end of the plan. An expression of interest has been submitted to Welsh Government to support this project with the following aims:
- Long term aim (Post March 2022-Local Authority funded) - The long term aim of the following model will be to establish effective immersion hubs in both the north and the south of the Local Authority (in line with WESP targets). It is intended to establish an immersion centre in YGG Rhosafan (in line with WM Capital Grant application) to satisfy the growing demand for Welsh-medium education in the south of the county. A suitable location for a second hub in the north of the county will be located in YGG Pontardawe. This location would assist in developing the language in a linguistically sensitive area as well as potentially improving confidence and the transition rates to Welsh-medium secondary
Short term aim (December 2021-March 2022 WG grant funded)- The short term aim of the grant funding is to research into existing methodologies and good practice across Wales and to form effective networks that will assist in creating effective provision that will address learners’ needs and support their progression both in the short and long term.
Where do we expect to be at the end of our ten year Plan?
All children in all areas of Neath Port Talbot will have easy access to WM education as they progress from one stage to the next. Additional provisions set out above and an increase in WM settings/ schools will allow this and will lead to the projected increase of 208 pupils.