Welsh in Education Strategic Plan
More nursery children/ three year olds receive their education through the medium of Welsh
Where are we now:
Childcare Sufficiency Assessment
- At the beginning of 2022, 16 settings offered Welsh medium provision across Pembrokeshire offering 319 registered places per day, an increase of eight settings since the previous assessment. All except one Welsh medium setting is situated within the Central and Northern areas of the county.
- In terms of Welsh-medium provision an additional 3 settings provide bilingual childcare. All of these settings are located in Pembrokeshire U001, except 1 which is located in Pembrokeshire U003.
- Out of 54 childminders, 3 provide Welsh medium childcare and 3 are bilingual. Again, all operate in Pembrokeshire U001
- The childcare sufficiency assessment ascertained that providers noted difficulty in recruiting Welsh speaking staff and requested that more Welsh speaking courses be made available.
- From the most recent Childcare Sufficiency Assessment carried out in 2022, three areas were identified as having significant gaps for Welsh medium childcare; these are:
- Open new Welsh settings in areas U003 U0002.-(Pembroke and Milford Haven)
- Provide greater support to existing settings to deliver childcare in Welsh.
- Deliver Welsh-medium training and support to providers and childminders requiring it.
- Ensure that settings are supported to recruit staff who are fluent in Welsh and that levels of Welsh-speaking staff are monitored.
- In comparison with many other Welsh local authorities, there is insufficient information on the Council’s website on the promotion of Welsh medium education and resources for parents. Basic information is available as part of the annual Information to Parents publication (available online), but there is a need to be much more proactive in aiding parents and prospective parents on Welsh medium choices for their children.
- Subject to meeting the eligibility criteria identified within the Council’s current School Transport Policy, free home to school transport is provided as follows:
- Primary provision – pupils will receive free transport if they live within the designated catchment of a Welsh medium or Dual Stream school. Free transport is not provided to pupils whose parents choose to access Welsh medium primary provision at another school.
- Secondary provision – free transport is determined by a pupil’s home address and the relevant school catchment area which serves that address. Both Ysgol Bro Preseli and Ysgol Caer Elen have their own catchment areas.
What we will do:
Use of Child Sufficiency data to inform planning
- We are aware that there is a shortage of Welsh medium day care provision and we will explore means whereby this can be addressed, either in the context of existing arrangements or by introducing new provision.
- On the basis of the findings of the current Childcare Sufficiency Assessment in 2022, we are aware that there is demand from parents for their children to be bilingual in English and Welsh, but that a barrier to this was the lack of local childcare. The need to extend the childcare sector through the medium of Welsh has been identified for the following areas: Milford Haven, Saundersfoot, Pembroke, Haverfordwest and Goodwick. It is proposed that all of the above areas are developed to include Welsh medium full day care places for children aged 0-4 years. Furthermore, we would wish to consider adding Welsh medium childcare provision in the St David’s area, as this would contribute to the growth of 3-11 provision at Ysgol Croesgoch. It is hoped that the provision in the locations outlined above will be Cylch Meithrin settings whose children would feed into either existing or future school provision.
- Currently, approximately 3 out of 203 children accessing Flying Start provision progress to a Welsh medium school. This is hoping to be slightly increased with the introduction of Phase 1 expansion of Flying Start. There is a Welsh medium playgroup in Haverfordwest. This playgroup is 3.2 miles from the proposed catchment area. Families who request Welsh medium childcare provision from our existing area in Haverfordwest attend this setting. Flying Start has an existing Agreement with the setting and this would be extended for families from Merlin’s Bridge.
- Welsh medium childcare is promoted to all Flying Start parents/carers by Health Visitors, when discussing the offer.
- We will continue to work closely with Mudiad Meithrin to collate data necessary for the forward planning of Welsh medium education. We will also continue to work with the Early Years Team and Mudiad Meithrin to develop Welsh medium pre-school services in areas already identified for Welsh medium expansion. Similarly, we will work closely with Mudiad Meithrin with a view to develop services in areas where there is currently no provision.
Provision of information to parents
- We recognise that parents and prospective parents will be apprehensive about the important choices they need to make regarding their children’s future educational journey. We will develop an appropriate digital platform on the Council’s website which will provide parents and prospective parents with the necessary information about Welsh medium education provision in order for them to make informed decisions. This information will set out:
- The availability of Welsh medium provision across Pembrokeshire, including pre-school options. The focus on parents of early years children is particularly important and will include ‘word of the week’, songs and rhymes to help parents to support their children. An advisory officer currently works individually with settings to encourage and develop the use of the Welsh language.
- That Welsh medium provision is a valid option regardless of a family’s linguistic background;
- The benefits that bilingualism and multilingualism can bring in relation to future academic and career success.
The information provided will ensure that Mudiad Meithrin provisions, including Cymraeg i Blant and Cylch Ti a Fi, and the services provided by the Family Information Service are appropriately conveyed to parents. This will also extend to Welsh Government’s marketing and promotional campaigns and we will ensure that this information is also shared on appropriate social media channels.
Whilst concentrating on pre-school and school provision, the information provided will also promote opportunities for parents, and other family members, to learn Welsh. This is already a successful provision as part of Learning Pembrokeshire (Adult and Community Learning) and we will continue to collaborate as part of our focus on extending Welsh medium provision to new areas.
- The appropriate training of staff in Early Years settings has been recognised as an important factor in expanding provision and is already being proposed as part of the annual Early Years Training schedule. This will be delivered with the aim of increasing the number of Welsh speaking practitioners from 65 to 130. Grants will also be offered to enhance the resources on offer in Welsh medium settings.
- All parents wishing to apply for a school place must do so by submitting an online admission application form. However, we recognise that we need to undertake a review of the application process in order to ensure that there are opportunities at several points during the process to provide information about the Welsh medium provision options in the area. This will include linking in with the platform outlined in 2.1 and further detail on the provision available in individual schools. This review will extend to our annual ‘Information for Parents’ publication.
Access to Welsh medium provision – school transport
- We are aware that in certain areas of Pembrokeshire, parents do not have a real choice in relation to the school their children attend. This is particularly the case where the catchment is only served by an English medium school.
- In order to further promote access to Welsh medium provision, we will:
- carry out a review of relevant school catchment areas with a view to considering extending the catchment area of adjacent Welsh medium schools;
- carry out a further review of the Council’s School Transport Policy in order to ensure that no child is disadvantaged by his/her home location in relation to accessing Welsh medium provision