Culture, Communications, Welsh Language, Sport and International Relations Committee receives evidence on the Welsh in Education Strategic Plans (WESPS) and the legislative framework that supports Welsh-medium education
The WESPS form a key part of the strategy for achieving the Welsh Government's Cymraeg 2050 objectives and targets. Having provided feedback on drafts of each local authority's WESPS, the Commissioner is of the opinion that the new WESPS framework is much stronger, and that it has led to more robust and more ambitious plans.
Despite this, there is no doubt that the legislation that supports the WESPS and the growth of Welsh-medium and bilingual education needs to be further strengthened. To achieve the challenging objectives and targets of Cymraeg 2050, it is necessary to address the significant gaps and weaknesses that exist in the current planning system. Within this context, the Commissioner's evidence suggests the main areas on which the proposed Welsh Education Bill should focus on are as follows:
- Set a clear and ambitious statutory goal and give a statutory basis to the targets and objectives of the education policy of the Cymraeg 2050 strategy
- In relation to the WESPS and the linguistic categories, introduce a robust statutory and budgetary framework for facilitating schools’ development along a linguistic continuum
- By developing a single Welsh language continuum, set a legislative mechanism for raising standards in English-medium schools over a period of time which will give all learners the opportunity to be confident Welsh speakers.
- Strengthen the statutory basis for Welsh-medium education workforce planning
- Ensure that the funding and approval processes of education capital projects are aligned with the vision and targets of Cymraeg 2050
- Strengthen strategic joint planning requirements between pre-school provision, the statutory period, and post-16 provision
- Amend the legislation regarding transport arrangements to the school