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Outcome 5 - More opportunities for learners to use Welsh in different contexts in school

Where are we now?

The targets for this outcome have been developed alongside the targets set out in the Neath Port Talbot Welsh Language Strategy (alongside Priority 1) with emphasis on promoting and facilitating the use of the Welsh language and increase its use in everyday life within schools and the wider community.

It also aims to promote the Curriculum for Wales Framework by ensuring that All learners should have appropriate pathways for learning Welsh and English to enable them to develop the confidence to use both languages in everyday life. It aims to support learners to use Welsh confidently and appreciate its usefulness to communication in a bilingual Wales.

The authority recognises that having varied opportunities to use the Welsh language in different contexts within the school environment is key to promoting confidence. Learners, parents and carers will need to be supported and encouraged to participate in a variety of experiences and opportunities through the medium of Welsh in order to improve their confidence in the language.

The Siarter Iaith was an integral part of most schools pre Covid with most Welsh schools and many English medium schools increasing the social use of Welsh within school and the wider community in a variety of creative and successful ways. To date, the following data demonstrates the success of the Siarter Iaith and Cymraeg Campus pre Covid:

  • 9 Welsh medium primary schools have achieved the Siarter Iaith silver award,
  • 1 Welsh medium primary school has achieved the Siarter Iaith gold award,
  • 45 English medium schools are currently engaged in the Welsh Charter scheme ‘Cymraeg Campus’ at the moment,
  • 17 English medium schools have achieved the Cymraeg Campus bronze award

Covid and long periods away from school sites has had a negative impact on this progress and the Authority recognises the need to promote and develop the Siarter Iaith in order to regain the confidence lost during lockdown periods.

The Authority also recognises the need to work with organisations such as Academi Hywel Teifi, Tŷ’r Gwrhyd, Menter Iaith, Mudiad Meithrin and Urdd Gobaith Cymru to provide learning opportunities for non-Welsh speaking learners, parents / carers and grandparents or those who are hesitant in the language in order to raise their confidence and assist with their children's education. This will be key to the success of our strategy.

Menter Iaith

Menter Iaith currently provide a wide range of opportunities for children and young people with the Local Authority:

  • arrange staff training sessions for the Childcare sector
  • arrange family activity sessions/ days e.g. fun days, singing sessions
  • create and distribute language awareness packs with the aim of providing parents with the information needed to make informed choices about their child’s education/ promote the benefits of Welsh medium education
  • attend open days within schools and the community with the aim of providing information and promoting the Welsh language
  • work closely with schools i.e. Gig Tanio’r Ddraig (Welsh music festival, Cwis Dim clem (quiz), language awareness sessions with staff, pupils and parents, information evenings with parents to promote transition to Welsh medium secondary education etc.
  • arrange social events for primary age learners (outside of school hours) e.g. cooking sessions, parties, treasure hunts
  • arrange social events and activities for secondary age learners e.g. surfing, youth clubs, fun days
  • jointly employ a youth worker (with Ysgol Gymraeg Ystalyfera Bro Dur) with a specific role of promoting activities through the medium of Welsh
  • produce and share (via website) a wide range of Welsh medium resources
  • produce and distribute ‘Cymraeg Campus’ newsletter to all English medium schools with resources, ‘top tips’ and ideas on how to raise the profile of Welsh in their local area
  • Facebook group to support parents and teaching staff

Urdd

The Urdd provides a wide range of opportunities for learners and the wider community to participate in various activities to promote a sense of belonging and the Welsh language. These include:

  • Eisteddfod: Pupils form the Local Authority have the opportunity to take part in over 400 competitions, from singing to cooking, dancing to designing websites, and writing stories to staring on stage
  • sporting activities: provides opportunities across the Local Authority for every child and young person to embrace sport, through clubs, competitions, training, and regional and national sports festivals.
  • residential centres: pupils from the Local Authority visit centres in Glan-llyn, Llangrannog, Cardiff and Pentre Ifan. This supports learning outside of the classroom and provides an excellent context for the use of the Welsh language in a fun environment.
  • community and youth work: The Urdd Community Department focuses on providing arts opportunities to members within the Local Authority. They arrange activities to encourage and enable children and young people to socialise through the medium of Welsh outside the classroom. The Urdd also develop the Urdd’s ‘adrannau’ and ‘aelwydydd’ (junior and youth clubs) and provide a range of Welsh-medium resources.

Ty'r Gwrhyd

Tŷ’r Gwrhyd is a Canolfan Gymraeg in Pontardawe, jointly established by Neath Port Talbot Council and Academi Hywel Teifi at Swansea University in 2016. Tŷ’r Gwrhyd houses a Welsh-language bookstore, and rents office space to Menter Iaith CNPT, Urdd Gobaith Cymru officers and Dysgu Cymraeg Ardal Bae Abertawe tutors. Welsh language educational courses are delivered at the centre, as are Welsh language lessons for adults. Community groups, including Merched y Wawr, Cylch Darllen Cwm Tawe and papur bro Llais, make regular use of the facilities at the centre. The centre hosts regular book launches, small art exhibitions, cultural and literary events and creative activities for children and young people. Tŷ’r Gwrhyd is also home to Cylch Ti a Fi Pontardawe and a reading club for primary age children which attracts pupils from throughout the Swansea Valley from Cwmllynfell to Clydach.

There is currently no provision within the Authority for children and young people who are latecomers to Welsh-medium education to access a Welsh language immersion centre, learners’ needs are catered for within individual schools. This target is addressed in Outcome 2.

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 create and provide opportunities and experiences for all learners and the wider community to use Welsh and be part of Welsh life in order to increase confidence in the Welsh language and to feel a sense of belonging. We will do this by implementing the following targets.

  • Designated staff will re-launch the Siarter Iaith ensuring that it is embedded in all new curriculum designs. Schools will progress on the Siarter continuum and will be supported along the journey with guidance and resources.
  • By September 2022, all Welsh and English medium schools will have reviewed and revisited previous Siarter Iaith/ Cymraeg Campus targets and will achieve the pre Covid standards.
  • By September 2024, the Siarter Iaith/ Cymraeg Campus will be an integral part of planning for the Curriculum for Wales within all schools, with an emphasis on a whole school progression approach (supported by our Welsh in Education officer and Curriculum Development Officer (Welsh in English medium)). This will increase learner and staff confidence in using the Welsh language and impact positively on the ethos of all schools.
  • Siarter Iaith/ Cymraeg Campus action plans/strategies will be used to ensure regular opportunities for learners, staff and the wider community to engage in activities that increase confidence in the Welsh language and promote Welsh modern culture and history. This will lead to an increased awareness of the relevance/ importance of Welsh in their everyday lives. This will be monitored and supported by our Welsh in Education officer and Curriculum Development Officer (Welsh in English medium).
  • We will continue to build on the huge success of our annual ‘Gig Gymraeg’ within the YGYBD cluster for Y6 and Y7 learners. We will aim to roll this out across the LA, ensuring that all Y6 pupils in WM and EM schools have access to a contemporary WM music festival on an annual basis. This will be supported by Menter Iaith CNPT.
  • We will aim to roll out the ‘Gig Gymraeg’ to all Y8 and Y9 pupils along with Y12 pupils at a large central venue i.e. Margam in order to provide an opportunity to speak Welsh and enjoy Welsh contemporary culture outside of school.
  • A leading excellent practice English medium school has been identified and this school will share resources and ideas and support other schools with their curriculum design, ensuring that Welsh culture, history and appreciation of the local area is embedded in their new curriculum.
  • The NPT schools website, created by learners, to promote modern Welsh culture, history and local area will be launched and added to on a regular basis in all Welsh medium schools and rolled out to all English medium schools.
  • An audit will be undertaken to see what WM provision is available within the LA (both within school and in the community) and geographical gaps will be identified and filled i.e. provision from Urdd, PASS, Youth Service etc. Following the audit, a menu of support will be created for all schools within the LA.
  • All schools will be encouraged to use the Urdd Residential Centres to promote the Welsh language in a fun and relaxed environment.
  • All schools will be encouraged to partake in Urdd Eisteddfod activities with the aim of increasing confidence in the language and increasing awareness of Welsh literature, music and the arts.
  • We will work closely with partners including Academi Hywel Teifi, Tŷ’r Gwrhyd, Menter Iaith, Urdd to ensure provision and promotion of learning opportunities for non-Welsh speaking learners, parents / carers and grandparents or those who are hesitant in the language in order to raise their confidence and assist with their children's education. This will be in conjunction with the NPT Welsh Language Promotion Strategy, Priority 1.
  • We will listen to our learners across all sectors and ages to obtain views and ideas on promoting the Welsh language, contemporary culture, history and a feeling of belonging. Pupil voice will be essential in reviewing and setting our annual action plan.
  • We will develop via a locally based task and finish group, a holistic plan which looks in detail at all aspects of the vitality of the Welsh language in the Swansea Valley and establish working groups to consider thematic issues such as the use of the language by the private sector, by voluntary groups and by young people in general. Areas for possible collaborative working:
    • Preschool Provision and location
    • Marketing Welsh-medium education
    • Provision and take up of Welsh for adults
    • Language confidence building events
    • Promoting the use of Welsh by private and voluntary organisations
    • Activities and entertainment for young people and young adults
    • Employment and economic development

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

All schools within the Local Authority will be fully engaged with Curriculum for Wales in conjunction with the Siarter Iaith. The Welsh language, contemporary culture and history will be integral to curriculum design. We will see an increase in learner and staff confidence and pride towards being Welsh and the Welsh language. The Welsh language and the associated extra-curricular activities will be inclusive and will radiate into the wider community, allowing all to have access and to develop their Welsh-language skills.