THREE more Welsh medium all age schools could be created in Powys as part of a new plan to increase teaching in Welsh.

At a meeting of the council's cabinet, members approved a new Welsh in Education Strategic Plan, which is a binding document that will ensure the provision of opportunities for pupils in Powys to become fully bilingual.

The document will now be submitted to the Welsh Government for approval.

Among its aims is a target to increase the number of Welsh speakers in Year One from 22.6 per cent of pupils in 2020/21 to 36 per cent by 2032. This will need an increase of 163 pupils.

The idea of establishing new all-age schools to support the language was put forward at the last minute after a scrutiny committee meeting on Monday, January 24.

Head of transformation and communication Emma Palmer told the cabinet: “One consideration would be to put forward three Welsh medium all-through schools in the WESP as a way forward.”

To allow for flexibility in future decision making they would remain unnamed.

She added that discussions had continued after the meeting and into the night and that the wording in the WESP had been amended.

School transformation manager Marianne Evans explained that the issue had been raised on the proposal for a Welsh Medium all-through school in Builth Wells, which is out to consultation, until Wednesday January 26.

Portfolio holder for adult social care, Welsh language, communications and engagement, Cllr Myfanwy Alexander said that while she may not receive a Santes Dwynwen card: “I’ve received the best present which is this WESP document in front of us today.

“It’s a historic document and reflects the ambition of this cabinet for the Welsh language.

County Times: Cllr Myfanwy AlexanderCllr Myfanwy Alexander

“I want to send a special Santes Dwynwen message to all the families that have come to live Powys in the last couple of years.

“I say welcome to Powys, welcome to Wales and welcome to Welsh culture and the language which is here for your children.”

She offered to meet anyone who has questions about the Welsh language, culture, and history for chat over a beer or cup of tea.

The document was approved unanimously by councillors.

The WESP also has seven outcomes the council wants to achieve, they are:

  • More nursery children/ three-year-olds receive their education through the medium of Welsh
  • More reception class children/ five-year-olds receive their education through the medium of Welsh
  • More children to continue to improve their Welsh language skills when transferring from one stage of their statutory education to another.
  • More pupils to study for assessed qualifications in Welsh (as a subject) and subjects through the medium of Welsh.
  • More opportunities for learners to use Welsh in different contexts in school
  • An increase in the provision of Welsh-medium education for pupils with additional learning needs (ALN).
  • Increase the number of teaching staff able to teach Welsh (as a subject) and teach through the medium of Welsh.