Education & Children

Scrutiny Committee

2012

Task and Finish Review

of

Carmarthenshire County Council’s draft Welsh in Education Strategic Plan

Scrutiny Task and Finish Group Members (8)

Cllr. Cefin Campbell

Llanfihangel Aberbythych

Plaid Cymru

Mr. Stewart Hey

(Parent Governor, Co-opted Member)

Cllr. John James

Burry Port

Labour

Cllr. Pat Jones

Burry Port

Labour

Mrs. Vera Kenny

(Roman Catholic Church Representative, Co-opted Member)

Mr. Simon Pearson

(Parent Governor, Co-opted Member)

Cllr. Hugh Richards

Felinfoel

Independent

Cllr. Eirwyn Williams – Chair

Cynwyl Gaeo

Plaid Cymru

TABLE OF CONTENTS

No.

SECTION

PAGE

 

CHAIR’S FOREWORD

4

1.0

BACKGROUND

5

2.0

OBJECTIVES AND SCOPE

5

3.0

APPROACH

5

4.0

4.1

4.2

4.3

4.4

KEY FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Are we meeting the aims of national strategy and Carmarthenshire’s aims and vision for Welsh medium education?

Do we know how well are we doing and have we achieved our targets to date?

Do we know what best practice looks like and do we disseminate it effectively?

How can we improve things further?

6

6

12

12

5.0

CONCLUSION

14

6.0

6.1

6.2

APPENDICES

APPENDIX 1 – Ysgol Dyffryn Aman: Model of the approach taken to Symud Ymlaen/Moving On

APPENDIX 2 - Key messages regarding Welsh-Medium/Bilingual Education

15

15

16

7.0

GLOSSARY OF TERMS

17

Chair’s Foreword

It gives me great pleasure to present the final report of the Education and Children’s Scrutiny Committee Task and Finish Group that has reviewed our draft Welsh in Education Strategic Plan before its final submission to the Welsh Government.

This draft Plan is a response to the Welsh Government’s national Welsh Education Strategy however, as a county, we stand in a strong position, having for many years now promoted progression along the linguistic continuum in our schools.

The benefits of bilingualism are well documented and demand for educational opportunities through the medium of Welsh has been increasing in many areas across the county.

We did not have much time to do this review, however what we did achieve was informative and encouraging. The seeds we have planted for Welsh in education are growing and we hope that over the years we will see them grow stronger and stronger with the help of officers, schools, parents and carers and, not least, the children and young people themselves.

The work done at Ysgol Dyffryn Aman in particular shows that working together bears fruit. I would like to congratulate the Head Teacher, Mr. Steve Perks, and the Swyddog Symud Ymlaen, Mrs. Eryl Roberts, on the results of their project as well as thank them for their presentation to the Group.

I hope the recommendations we have made will make a positive contribution to the implementation of the Welsh in Education Strategic Plan.

I am extremely grateful to my fellow members and co-opted members of this Group for their input and for the enthusiasm they have demonstrated during this review. I would also like to extend my gratitude to the officers who have provided specialist advice and support throughout the review.

Cllr. J. Eirwyn Williams

Chair of the Education and Children Scrutiny Committee

The Education & Children Scrutiny Committee has a key role to play in monitoring services, development of key policies and strategies, as well as identifying areas for improvement or development.

The Committee was asked by the Department to participate in the review of the Authority’s draft Welsh in Education Strategic Plan (WESP) which was developed and submitted to the Welsh Government (WG) during 2011.

At its meeting on the 27th September 2012, the Committee decided to establish a task and finish group to undertake this review. The timescales for the review were constrained by the need to provide a revised WESP to the WG, in light of its feedback and in line with additional WG guidance, by December 14th 2012.

The key objectives and scope of the review were agreed as follows:

The Group was established in September 2012 and agreed its terms of reference and scope at its first meeting. The Group included:

An invitation was also extended to the unaffiliated member and co-opted members of the Committee to join the task and finish group. The following co-opted members asked to join the Group:

The Scrutiny and Consultancy unit within People Management and Performance Division assisted in the planning and co-ordination of the review process. The following officers from the Education and Children’s Services department were specialist advisers to the Group:

Llinos Evans was also asked to provide specialist advice to the Group in light of her role as Welsh Language Policy Officer (CEX)

The Group held 3 meetings between October and November 2012 at which it considered and commented on the draft WESP, as well as additional Welsh Government guidance and feedback, and any additional information requested. The Group also received a presentation from Mr. Steve Perks, Head Teacher and Mrs. Eryl Roberts, Swyddog Symud Ymlaen/Moving On Officer, at Ysgol Dyffryn Aman in relation to a project promoting the benefits of bilingualism and Welsh medium education within the school, its feeder schools and to parents/carers.

The timescales for the review did not allow consultation with wider stakeholders however the Group noted that consultation had been undertaken to prepare the draft WESP via a conference for all schools and local authority personnel held in November 2010. Participants had been afforded an opportunity to share good practice in Welsh medium and bilingual education within the county and make a significant input into the construction of a strategy for Carmarthenshire.

4.1 Are we meeting the aims of national strategy and Carmarthenshire’s aims and vision for Welsh medium education?

4.1.1 Discussions have been held with the Welsh Government (WG) about the draft WESP. These included the following issues:

4.2 Do we know how well are we doing and have we achieved our targets to date?

4.3 Do we know what best practice looks like and do we disseminate it effectively?

4.3.3 The projects overarching aims were:

4.3.5 Outcomes from the project include:

4.4 How can we improve things further?

6.0 APPENDIX 1

Ysgol Dyffryn Aman – Model of the approach taken to Symud Ymlaen/Moving On

6.0 APPENDIX 2

KEY MESSAGES REGARDING WELSH-MEDIUM/BILINGUAL EDUCATION2

• Learners who understand more than one language can think more creatively and flexibly and tend to do better in IQ tests.

• Learners who operate in two languages in the curriculum can achieve good results in tests and examinations.

• Bilingual children’s results in tests and examinations in English as a subject are higher on average than those of monolingual children.

• Bilingual learners can communicate with family members, neighbours and friends in either English or Welsh and contribute fully to community life in their local area.

• The economic benefits of being proficient in both English and Welsh are obvious as more jobs than ever in Wales require bilingual skills.

• Bilingual people are more able to learn a third language and display more tolerance towards other cultures.

• Being bilingual or multilingual is the norm in Europe, so the situation in Wales is not uncommon. Over 65 per cent of Europeans speak at least two languages.

• Being bilingual offers learners the opportunity to experience two different cultures and two worlds of experience.

• Being bilingual helps people to be part of Wales, and increases the sense of belonging.

7.0 GLOSSARY OF TERMS

ALN Additional Learning Needs

AMDRO The Education & Children Department’s intranet site for schools

CYPP Children and Young People’s Partnership

Dewis da/ Good Choice Support for pupils taking GCSEs through the medium of Welsh

ESTYN Regulatory body for education in Wales

MM / NA Mudiad Meithrin / Nursery Association

SENCOs (School based) Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators

SWAMWAC South West and Mid Wales Consortium for education

WES Welsh Government’s national Welsh Education Strategy

WESP The Authority’s Welsh in Education Strategic Plan

WG Welsh Government

WME Welsh-Medium Education