We commit to ensuring primary education in Wales becomes properly bilingual so that every child emerges at eleven years old being able to understand and communicate in both Welsh and English. We would introduce a Welsh Education Act based on Gareth Pierce’s report Welsh in education: strengthening through legislation, to:
- Establish clear and properly incentivised statutory targets to normalise and expand Welsh-medium education in order to meet the one million speakers target.
- Establish national workforce planning targets to enable the rapid expansion of Welsh-medium education.
- Implement the commitment to a single continuum of learning Welsh for all pupils.
- Set a long-term statutory goal of universal Welsh medium education as part of the Cymraeg 2050 target.
We would consider establishing the right to free transport to Welsh-medium schools.
We would improve Foundation Phase teaching and the provision of Welsh, making use of the immersion model, so that all pupils are able to speak Welsh to an acceptable standard by the age of seven. We will provide support so that teachers of all age groups are able to improve their Welsh language skills.
We would work with childcare providers, such as Mudiad Meithrin, to ensure that sufficient Welsh language childcare is available and normalised in all parts of Wales.
The new Curriculum for Wales would contain a single Welsh language learning path and qualification for all.
We would also prioritise:
- Protection against closure of Welsh-medium schools unless the Language Commissioner has considered the effect of their closure on Welsh as a community language and is satisfied there is no detriment and that the process should go ahead.
- Setting of targets for the increase of provision of Welsh-medium teaching.
- Establishing a long-term statutory goal of universal Welsh medium education as part of the 2050 target.
- Providing targets for increasing the number and percentage of subjects taught through the medium of Welsh in schools currently teaching mainly through English, as recommended by Professor Sioned Davies in her 2013 report One Language for All.
- Training Welsh-medium teachers; reducing fees and providing greater incentives for Initial Teacher Education, including considering the option of extending the course to allow every trainee teacher to become fluent in the language.
- Follow-on Initial Teacher Education years for those teachers learning Welsh.
- Creating a scheme to encourage people to gain sufficient proficiency in order to teach through the medium of Welsh.
- Investment in a Welsh for Adults programme to train more Welsh speaking teachers.
- Establishing a new fund to expand access to the Welsh language to all parts of society, including funding initiatives to provide free access to events and the right to learn Welsh to marginalised groups such as refugees and asylum seekers.
- Immersion centres in every part of Wales for incoming children to acquire Welsh, based on the Gwynedd model.
- Extending the Athrawon Bro system.
- Creating a national programme of language awareness, including the benefits of multilingual education.