We would establish a national free, Welsh-medium early years education and childcare service, Meithrin Cymru, giving high quality provision for children aged 12 months until they are eligible for full time education.
This will be a phased-in policy over two Government terms, much of it to be implemented within the first term. As a first step 30 hours of childcare a week will be available to children regardless of their family’s work status. By the end of the Government’s first term the offer will have been extended to 30 hours of childcare a week to every child 2 years old and above. We are proud that Plaid Cymru are managing to extend childcare provision even out of government through the Co-Operation Agreement
We would invest in the childcare workforce, including increasing the number of degree-qualified nursery teachers. Our aim is to move towards giving Qualified Teacher Status for as many as possible in the sector, with the increase in pay, conditions, and status this would entail. We would create a dedicated funding pot to achieve this.
We would use this first stage of development to ensure that all children can learn through the medium of Welsh by the time they start school. By working with childcare providers, such as Mudiad Meithrin, we would aim for Welsh language childcare being available in all parts of Wales. These plans would be supported by further workforce planning, targets and reforms in a Welsh Language Education Act.
We would offer free Welsh language learning opportunities to nursery teachers in the English-medium sector so they can take advantage of new Welsh-medium work opportunities.