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In July 2017, we published the Welsh Government's Welsh Language Strategy, Cymraeg 2050: A million Welsh speakers. The strategy’s second Work Programme was published in July 2021, which will, alongside the Programme for Government, underpin our plans until the next Senedd. Some elements also appear in the Co-operation Agreement between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru.
Section 78 of the Government of Wales Act 2006 places a duty on Welsh Ministers to publish an annual action plan explaining how they will implement the proposals outlined in their language strategy during each financial year. This is the action plan for the 2023 to 2024 financial year.
Since our last action plan was published, some of the 2021 Census data has been released. The initial results relating to the Welsh language were published in December 2022. We were disappointed to see that the number and percentage of Welsh speakers aged 3 years or over fell from 562,000 (19.0%) in 2011 to 538,300 (17.8%) in 2021. It’s important to note that the census does not provide data about language use.
We have already started to analyse these results and are considering them in relation to all the other data and research sources available to us, including the latest population data. School data tells us that there are more children than ever in Welsh-medium education, and the National Survey for Wales informs us that an increasing number of adults are reporting that they have some Welsh speaking ability.
At the time of publication of this action plan, we await further results from the 2021 Census, specifically on the transmission of the Welsh language from one generation to the next, and in relation to the Welsh language and characteristics such as gender and ethnicity. Once we have analysed the entire picture, we will review our priorities as necessary to ensure we continue to work together towards achieving a million Welsh speakers, and doubling the numbers who use Welsh every day.
‘Cymraeg 2050’ includes two main targets:
- The number of Welsh speakers to reach one million by 2050.
- The percentage of the population that speak Welsh daily and can speak more than just a few words of Welsh to increase from 10% (in 2013 to 2015) to 20% by 2050.
These targets provide a clear narrative for us all in Wales, in Government, in the public sector and as citizens: the Welsh language belongs to us all. The responsibility for its future likewise falls on us all. In addition, all we do under this Plan embraces both the letter and spirit of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 specifically: 'A Wales of vibrant culture and thriving Welsh language'.
‘Cymraeg 2050’ is based on 3 strategic themes:
- Increasing the number of Welsh speakers.
- Increasing the use of Welsh.
- Creating favourable conditions – infrastructure and context.
We’ll continue to focus on these principles as we work across the Government’s policy areas, paying particular attention this year to:
- the importance of ensuring that Welsh remains the main language spoken in communities in the west and north-west, where there is a high density of Welsh speakers
- the attainment of pupils studying the Welsh language in English-medium schools
- creating bilingual citizens by offering opportunities for everyone of all ages to learn Welsh and use it regularly
- analysing a range of data sources to try to better understand the differences we are seeing in the numbers who identify as being able to speak Welsh
- publishing a final linguistic infrastructure policy
- continuing with the Welsh Language Standards programme
- continuing to develop the Welsh Language Education Bill
- preparing the next Welsh language technology work programme
- developing the Welsh-speaking workforce, especially in the education sector
- continuing to focus on Welsh language transmission in the home and ensure an increase in Welsh-medium provision for the early years and the Childcare Offer
- continuing to mainstream ‘Cymraeg 2050’ in all Government portffolios
Areas of work
Theme 1: increasing the number of Welsh speakers
Creating bilingual citizens who can confidently use their Welsh and English language skills is at the core of ‘Cymraeg 2050’. We want people to have the ability and motivation to use their Welsh in the community, in the workplace and in their daily lives. We will therefore continue to ensure that diverse education provision is available across all learning phases – from the early years, statutory and post-compulsory education, both in the workplace and in the community.
The early years
Expanding Welsh-medium nursery provision across Wales, in order to provide a route into Welsh-medium education for as many children as possible remains one of our priorities. We’ll therefore continue to work with our key partner, Mudiad Meithrin, in this area and will continue to work closely with Plaid Cymru via the Co-operation Agreement to further expand on this work.
Mudiad Meithrin has achieved the initial target of establishing 40 new Welsh-medium early years groups as part of the Set Up and Succeed (SAS) programme, despite the impact of COVID-19. The programme will continue to work towards the next target of opening 60 groups during this Senedd term, to reach the goal of 150 new early years groups by 2026.
To achieve this, we will continue to support Mudiad Meithrin to develop the early years workforce through schemes such as the apprenticeship training scheme and the Cam wrth Gam Schools scheme. This is a scheme for post-14 and post-16 pupils to pursue a vocational qualification in childcare to prepare them for a career in this field.
In collaboration with the Deputy Minister for Social Services and as part of the Co-operation Agreement with Plaid Cymru, £3.8 million was announced over 3 years (up to 2024 to 2025) to support and grow Welsh-medium provision and practitioners in Wales. During 2023 to 2024, the recruitment of 100 practitioners to undertake Welsh-medium Level 3 childcare qualifications through Cwlwm’s early years partners, and the recruitment of an additional 50 practitioners to undertake Welsh-medium Level 5 childcare qualifications through Mudiad Meithrin will be implemented.
Work to expand and strengthen Welsh-medium early years provision through the Flying Start programme has begun, it includes all Flying Start services offered to around 2,500 additional children under the age of 4. This is the first step towards our ambitious commitment to expand funded childcare for all 2 year olds, as outlined in the Co-operation Agreement with Plaid Cymru. Each local authority's Welsh in Education Strategic Plan (WESP) recognises the role of the Flying Start programme as they design Welsh-medium provision, with targets included to increase provision throughout the duration of the WESPs.
The Cymraeg i Blant or Cymraeg for Kids programme will continue to support parents to use Welsh with their children, and to choose Welsh-medium childcare and education.
We’ll also continue to implement our National Policy on Welsh language transmission and use in families.
Welsh Language Education Bill
The ‘Cymraeg 2050 Work Programme (2021 to 2026)’ and the Co-operation Agreement with Plaid Cymru commits us to introducing a Welsh Language Education Bill during the course of the sixth Senedd. On 27 March 2023, we will publish a White Paper outlining proposals for the Welsh Language Education Bill and the wider policy programme.
The purpose of the proposals in the White Paper will be to facilitate the work of increasing the number of Welsh speakers to reach the goal of a million by 2050. The White Paper will propose legislative action to support pupils' progress along the language continuum and support all pupils to become Welsh speakers by the end of their statutory education, by 2050. This includes laying solid foundations to increase the number of Welsh-medium schools, as well as planning for continued progress to improve the linguistic outcomes of pupils in all schools.
Following the consultation, we will consider the responses and continue with the work to develop the Bill.
Welsh in Education Strategic Plans
The Welsh in Education Strategic Plans (WESPs) continue to be a basis for planning Welsh-medium education across Wales. They aim to increase access to Welsh language learning across all school categories in all parts of Wales, regardless of the medium of learning. They support our ambition to see everyone learning in a school or setting in Wales being supported to enjoy using the Welsh language, to make continued progress in learning it, and to have the confidence and skills to be able to choose to use Welsh beyond educational settings.
Each WESP has been in place since September 2022 and each local authority has submitted an action plan for the first 5-years of the Plans. We will monitor the work based on annual review reports and our WESP officers will continue to work with the authorities throughout the year to offer guidance and support.
Along with the local authorities, will use our Guidance on school categories according to Welsh-medium provision as part of this work. This will help to offer more clarity on the expected linguistic progress and outcomes for pupils according to the teaching medium of schools. In turn, it will support parents to make informed decisions about their children’s education. It will also encourage and support schools to increase their Welsh-language provision.
Welsh-medium capital funding will continue to support the efforts of local authorities in implementing their WESPs. Over £112 million of Welsh-medium capital funding has been approved to increase Welsh-medium education provision across Wales since 2018 with plans to further expand financial support during 2023 to 2024. The investment will enable more learners to become confident bilingual speakers.
Late immersion is a crucial part of this picture and under the Co-operation Agreement with Plaid Cymru, we have committed to invest £6.6 million until the end of this Senedd term to support late immersion provision in every local authority in Wales. The funding will continue to support provision already established (centres or units) or will lead to establishing new late immersion provision. We have set up a network to provide an opportunity for officials to come together with immersion teachers to raise awareness of the various provisions available, the latest developments and best practice used across Wales.
We will continue to innovate in this field for example by supporting the National Centre for Learning Welsh to run an exciting pilot project with a school where pupils use the 'Say Something in Welsh' app every day. A successful pilot scheme has already been carried out with schools in Merthyr Tydfil and on Anglesey and we will extend the scheme to at least 10 new schools during this financial year.
We will also continue to fund the e-sgol project in line with the 'Welsh in Education Workforce Plan' to 'Increase delivery of e-sgol provision as a solution to providing access to a broader curriculum through the medium of Welsh at GCSE and A level’. We will continue discussions with local authorities to expand provision across Wales so that an even greater number of children can access Carlam Cymru’s study sessions thanks to this innovative project.
Curriculum for Wales
The Curriculum for Wales was introduced in all primary schools in September 2022 and in some secondary schools for learners in Year 7.
In the Curriculum for Wales, progression in learning in all areas is presented as a continuum. For Welsh and other languages, descriptions of learning indicate the progression of children aged 3 to 16, from starting with little or no language towards proficiency.
A Framework for Welsh in English-medium education was published in October 2022. This non-statutory framework is for all practitioners in English-medium education involved in organising, planning, assessing and reviewing the Welsh language in their curriculum. It will help them develop their understanding of what is being learnt and taught, as well as their understanding of progress. Schools can use this guidance as they design their curriculum and assessment to help identify the knowledge, skills, experiences and approaches that will be central to it. The framework, along with supporting materials, resources and professional learning, will support schools to improve Welsh learning and teaching.
The Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol will continue to develop higher education provision in line with their revised Academic Plan and will work with Welsh universities to ensure that more Welsh-speaking students are able to follow some of their courses in Welsh. The Coleg will also undertake 2 initial teacher education projects to support the Welsh in Education Workforce Plan.
The Coleg will build on strategic projects already completed to develop provision and capacity in further education colleges, extending opportunities for learners to study through the medium of Welsh and bilingually. In order to achieve this, the Coleg will work with strategic partners and the post-16 sector, establishing a sound infrastructure.
As part of the Co-operation Agreement with Plaid Cymru, we will allocate an additional £2.825 million to the Coleg for 2023 to 2024 to expand the infrastructure of colleges and extend tailored support for the apprenticeships sector in partnership with the main providers in the field. In the further education sector, the aim is to continue to strengthen and support provision in the leisure and sport, health and social care, childcare and agriculture sectors; as well as expanding provision in the business and creative arts sectors.
In the apprenticeships sector, the Coleg will support strategic projects to develop capacity and expand provision in the health and care, and childcare sectors, as well as develop infrastructure to support the development of the Welsh language across the network of providers. In developing this structure, the intention is to enable more learners to speak Welsh and become confident bilingual speakers in the workplace.
The National Centre for Learning Welsh (the Centre) will continue to ensure that it builds on the growing interest in learning Welsh, providing a wide range of on-line and face-to-face courses where possible.
As part of our Co-operation Agreement, the Centre will receive £1.675 million for 2023 to 2024. This funding will develop and expand free Learn Welsh opportunities, specifically for 16 to 25 year olds. The funding will also expand support for the education sector, ensuring that workers in the education sector can access free Welsh lessons at all levels.
The Centre will continue to run the Cymraeg Gwaith/Work Welsh scheme, with provision varying from on-line self-study taster courses to intensive residential courses. As well as increasing the number of Welsh speakers and the use of the language, Cymraeg Gwaith also allows organisations to provide better Welsh services to its users. The scheme will also contribute to our agenda of increasing opportunities for people to use Welsh in the workplace.
The Centre will continue to maintain and develop its formal partnership with 'Say Something in Welsh' and 'Duolingo' to increase the provision and support available to those wanting to learn Welsh.
The Centre will continue to run a pilot project to encourage young Welsh speakers to return from universities to help teach Welsh in schools. The Centre will work with partners in the education sector to offer a training course for students at the end of the academic year. The project will also offer work experience placements at secondary schools. It will hopefully attract young people into teaching and the Learn Welsh sector, as well as help increase the use of Welsh in schools.
We’ll continue with our programme to ensure that Welsh and bilingual educational resources are available to support all areas of learning and experience in the new curriculum for 3 to 16 year olds, as well as qualifications for 14 to 19 year olds. We will pay particular attention to resources that support the teaching and learning of Welsh in English-medium settings, immersion resources, resources on Welsh history and identity, as well as resources for additional learning needs.
Adnodd, the new resource company, will be operational from 1 April. It will ensure that the provision and commissioning of resources is undertaken in a more strategic and cohesive way. It will lead to the creation of quality resources and equality in Welsh and English language provision, working in partnership across different sectors to make the best use of the expertise and budget available in Wales.
We will continue to implement the Welsh in Education Workforce Plan published in May 2022 to correspond with the 10 year period of the Welsh in Education Strategic Plans. The Welsh in Education Workforce Plan includes many actions that involve working in collaboration with a number of key stakeholders to address the 4 aims:
- Increase the number of teachers able to teach Welsh as a subject and other subjects through the medium of Welsh.
- Increase the number of practitioners able to work through the medium of Welsh who are supporting learners.
- Develop all practitioners’ Welsh language skills and expertise to teach Welsh and through the medium of Welsh.
- Develop leadership capacity for Welsh-medium schools and equip all leaders with the skills to strategically plan the development of Welsh within a culture of schools as learning organisations.
The External Operating Group will continue to monitor progress in implementing the scheme and the independent chair, Rhodri Llwyd Morgan, will report to the Minister regularly.
Theme 2: increasing the use of Welsh
The first aim of ‘Cymraeg 2050’, to reach one million speakers, has caught the public’s imagination since the strategy was published in 2017. But we do, of course, also give our full attention to the second aim, which is to double the numbers who use Welsh every day.
We have publicly stated that we will view everything we do in the context of ‘Cymraeg 2050’ through the lens of language use. During 2023 to 2024, we will take steps to maintain and increase the use of our language at home, at community level, on the schoolyard, in workplaces and in businesses.
Use of Welsh in the community
We will work with external stakeholders to support work to carry out a comprehensive socio-linguistic survey of the Welsh language in its heartlands. The survey will be based on the detailed analysis by Conchúr Ó Giollagáin and others in communities where Scottish Gaelic is a community language. The survey is intended to provide a better evidence base of the position of the Welsh language in our communities to support our understanding of the policy interventions needed to protect those communities.
We will also pay particular attention to the link between community development and the economy and the Welsh language, and will increase our involvement in particular with the social enterprise and co-operative sector.
As more results from the 2021 Census on the Welsh language are published, many of the mentrau iaith (language initiatives) will actively revise their language profiles and consequently revise their individual work plans for 2023 to 2024 onwards.
We’ll continue to offer grant support to various bodies in order to help achieve the objectives of ‘Cymraeg 2050’. This includes the National Eisteddfod of Wales, Urdd Gobaith Cymru, Young Farmers' Clubs and many more. In 2023 to 2024, we will publish a review of the Grants Scheme to Promote and Facilitate the Use of the Welsh Language. Once published, we will respond to the report's recommendations.
Welsh Language Transmission and use in families
Our Transmission policy focuses on:
- Inspiring children and young people to speak Welsh with their children in the future.
- Reviving the Welsh language skills of those who may not have used the language since leaving school, or who lack confidence in their language skills, to speak Welsh with their children.
- Supporting and encouraging use of Welsh within families where not everybody speaks Welsh.
- Supporting Welsh-speaking families to speak Welsh with their children.
At the time of publication, we await data from the 2021 Census on the linguistic composition of Welsh households. This data will help us understand the families who may have passed the language on to their children aged 0 to 4. We will use the data to inform the interventions that we will introduce in the field. Statistics clearly show that using Welsh at home as a child strongly influences the extent to which Welsh is used later in life.
In 2023 to 2024, we will study the new data and trial interventions to increase language transmission in families. These interventions will be based on behavioural change science.
Young people and Cymraeg
We will develop a new policy to support children and young people's use of Welsh, with a focus on bridging between education, community and family. We will work together extensively across Government and with external stakeholders, including young people, to shape this work.
The Siarter Iaith/Welsh Language Charter continues to be a key intervention in increasing children and young people's use of Welsh. Since expanding the Charter to a national programme, the world around us has changed. The growth of technology and the digital sphere continues to affect the linguistic habits of our children and young people and the way that they socialise. We believe that all of this, including the introduction of the Curriculum for Wales, calls for the Charter to be updated and developed. We will do so by working with stakeholders to ensure that it continues to be a strong tool to increase the informal and social language use of children and young people in Wales.
We will continue to fund the Urdd and Young Farmers' Clubs, amongst other partners, to ensure we provide opportunities for young people to use their Welsh. Our Memorandum of Understanding with S4C was published in February 2023. It includes commitments relating to the Welsh language and young people, and will therefore be a means for us to strengthen our relationship with S4C to give young people opportunities to enjoy the Welsh language in a variety of ways.
Welsh language spaces
In line with the Co-operation Agreement with Plaid Cymru, we will maintain and create more Welsh-medium spaces to create new speakers and increase daily use of our language.
Welsh Language Communities Commission
Following the publication of Second Homes: Developing new policies in Wales (March 2021), the Minister for Education and Welsh Language launched a Commission for Welsh-speaking Communities during the Ceredigion National Eisteddfod in August 2022. The Commission will focus on considering the future of Welsh as a community language and will make public policy recommendations. The Commission will lead a socio-linguistic analysis of the language in our Welsh-speaking communities, developing a model to support policy makers with matters relating to the viability of the language. A key part of the work will be to consider the challenges Welsh-speaking communities face and to foster a better understanding of them.
To inform this, the Commission will analyse the results of the 2021 Census to obtain a better understanding of the linguistic change seen over the past decade. It will then consider what interventions are needed today.
A central element of the Commission’s work will be to develop models that promote effective linguistic planning at a community and regional level. Part of this work will be to consider the potential function of areas of special linguistic significance, and how to define them. It will also analyse the support and interventions required in these areas to safeguard the language, and how the interventions will be used together to ensure policy aims are achieved. The Commission intends to publish a position paper before the summer which will include initial principles and comments on the way forward, followed by a final report by summer 2024 containing detailed policy recommendations regarding the future of Welsh-speaking communities. The Commission will then consider the use of Welsh as a social language in other parts of Wales.
Leading in a Bilingual Nation
This year, we intend to build on the pilot work undertaken with this programme by expanding the number of participants and the number of courses available. Leading in a Bilingual Nation is a joint programme between the Cymraeg 2050 Division and Academi Wales. It provides an opportunity for organisation leaders to discuss how the spirit of ‘Cymraeg 2050’ can be embodied within their organisations.
Use of Welsh within the Welsh Government
Over the next year, we will focus on continuing to realise the objectives of the Government's internal use strategy, Cymraeg. It belongs to us all, for 2020 to 2025, to facilitate greater use of Welsh in our workplace. Our aim is to support the organisation to increasingly operate through the medium of Welsh and provide opportunities for our workforce to learn the language, develop their skills and use Welsh at work. We are committed in the Co-operation Agreement to lead by example, and to support more sponsored bodies, local authorities and the Welsh civil service to operate through the medium of Welsh.
Welsh Language Standards
We will continue with work to introduce standards regulations to bring new bodies and sectors under the standards regime during 2023 to 2024, in line with the Co-operation Agreement with Plaid Cymru. We will start 2023 to 2024 by bringing regulations before the Senedd to bring water companies under the standards regime, before moving on to prepare standards for public bodies that are currently still outside the standards regime. After that, we will begin the work of preparing standards for housing associations and railway companies.
Theme 3: creating favourable conditions – infrastructure and context
We’ll continue to work in a variety of areas to build infrastructure that will create favourable conditions for the Welsh language to thrive so that everyone is given the opportunity to learn our language and use it.
In October 2022, the Minister for Economy announced an £11 million budget for the second instalment of the ARFOR Programme, a programme that’s part of the Co-operation Agreement with Plaid Cymru. The Programme will include a number of schemes that will address the economic challenges of the region, taking into account specific interventions that will benefit the Welsh language.
We’ll continue to collaborate extensively with local authorities and other stakeholders on a series of actions arising from the work of our Round Table on the Language and Economy.
Affordability of housing in Welsh-speaking communities
With the publication of our Welsh Language Communities Housing Plan, we will continue to pursue a number of the Plan's interventions, working across Government to act in the interests of Welsh communities with a high density of second homes. We will also expand the remit of the Round Table on the Language and Economy and to include housing. The Round Table's work will also consider the progress being made against the 'Welsh Language Communities Housing Plan'.
Our work on the Welsh Language Communities Housing Plan will go hand in hand with the affordability and second homes pilot being undertaken in the Dwyfor area. A number of interventions will be introduced to support people to access the property market, to rent, and to bring long-term vacant homes back to local use.
2023 to 2024 will be the final year of implementation of our Welsh Language Technology Action Plan. We will therefore set about preparing the next programme of work for technology and the Welsh language. Also, during the year, we will be releasing more synthetic Welsh and bilingual voices. These, like all components funded by the Welsh Government, will be released free of charge under a suitable open licence for anyone to use, reuse and/or include in their products.
During 2022 to 2023, we saw the outcome of our partnership with Microsoft to secure simultaneous translation in scheduled Teams meetings. During 2023 to 2024, we will continue to develop our links with a variety of companies so that the components created under the Plan can be used in products, and for those products to create more opportunities for us to use the Welsh language.
We will publish a final linguistic infrastructure policy, building on the draft linguistic infrastructure policy consultation held during 2021. The policy will outline how we will develop a more strategic and co-ordinated structure to maintain and develop the Welsh language linguistic infrastructure. The ultimate aim is to make it easier for everyone to know where to access support when using Welsh, giving everyone the confidence to use the language freely.
We will begin the work of promoting and marketing existing resources by taking steps to develop a new website, with the aim of helping people find Welsh words and terms. We will continue to hold meetings of the Welsh Language Standardisation Panel, to address the orthographic issues of the language. We will also focus on establishing a regime for commissioning packages of new terms, and standardising urgently needed terms, learning lessons from the work undertaken over the past year to standardise terms in relation to equality regarding race and ethnicity, and LGBTQ+.
Welsh place names
During the financial year, we will continue to collaborate widely in this area across Government and with external stakeholders, in line with our commitment in the Co-operation Agreement with Plaid Cymru to 'ensure Welsh language place names in the built and natural environments are safeguarded and promoted'. We will proceed to implement the steps set out in the Welsh Language Communities Housing Plan, published in October 2022. These include:
- Commissioning research to learn more about how, why and where place names change, to enable us to develop targeted policy interventions.
- Exploring steps to better protect geographic names in the natural environment.
- Examining how local authorities will fulfil their role in this area to ensure that all possible steps are taken to protect place names.
- Considering the recent use of covenants to protect house names and exploring how these can be used more widely in the future.
- Exploring the use of conveyancing packages as a means to raise awareness of the value of the name of a particular property.
- Considering new ways to raise awareness of and promote the List of Historic Place Names of Wales.
Because place names are an integral part of Welsh language culture locally and nationally, we will take every opportunity to feed into the Welsh Government's new culture strategy.
Wales and the wider world
We’ll continue to promote the Welsh language on the international stage. This will include playing a leading role in international networks on linguistic planning such as the Network to Promote Linguistic Diversity (NPLD), the British-Irish Council and UNESCO’s Decade of Indigenous Languages 2022 to 2032.
We’ll continue to highlight the importance of the Welsh language and our bilingualism as we promote Wales internationally, as part of our International Strategy. We will be involved in organising the Welsh Government's year of 'Wales in France' during 2023 to ensure that the Welsh language is an integral part of the campaign and to make connections with France's minority languages. This will include contributing to the updating of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Welsh Government and Brittany.
We will continue to work on a joint project with Fryslan (European Charter Classroom Activities/ECCA) to empower young people from areas of Europe with minority languages to come together to discuss and share experiences and best practices.
We’ll also work with the Urdd on its Message of Peace and Goodwill for 2023, this year's theme will be Anti-racism.
The Welsh Language and equality
Creating a more equal Wales is a priority for Welsh Government. We will therefore continue to work across Government, and beyond, to realise the actions identified in our various social justice action plans.
The Anti Racist Wales Action Plan was published as part of the Co-operation Agreement with Plaid Cymru. It includes a number of actions to ensure that considerations in relation to racial and ethnic equality are embedded further still in our work, including access to the language.
We will focus on 2 categories of work, ensuring that the voices of Welsh speakers belonging to Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority communities are heard, and that those who are not familiar with the language begin to feel that the Welsh language is available to them, whether in the education system, in the workplace or in the community.
We’ll also continue to ensure that the anti-racism agenda is fully adopted by all of our partners involved in delivering 'Cymraeg 2050'.
The Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Sub-group of the Welsh Language Partnership Council will continue to play a key role in our work in this area.
We will continue to work with the National Centre for Learning Welsh to promote their ‘Croeso i bawb’ scheme, providing opportunities for refugees and asylum seekers to learn Welsh on courses especially tailored for them. This will include opportunities to learn Welsh through languages such as Cantonese, Syrian Arabic, Farsi, Pashto and Ukrainian.
The LGBTQ+ Action Plan for Wales was published in early February 2023. The Plan includes several actions relating to the Welsh language – we are committed to embedding the ethos of the Plan throughout our work. Similarly, we will be ready to respond to other social justice policy developments throughout the year.
We will continue the work of taking forward the broadcasting and media commitments set out in the Co-operation Agreement with Plaid Cymru. We will respond to the findings of the expert panel considering the creation of a shadow Broadcasting and Communications Authority for Wales, following the publication of its report in summer 2023.
We will use a budget of £1 million for broadcasting and £100,000 for the media to support targeted broadcasting and journalism projects during the financial year and continue our work to support Welsh language productions and the growth of the language through our Memoranda of Understanding with S4C.
Through the Co-operation Agreement with Plaid Cymru, the Welsh Government is developing a new culture strategy. The strategy will showcase all the diversity of Wales, ensuring that the Government works strategically to create 'a Wales of vibrant culture and thriving Welsh language', one of the aims of the 'Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015'. In doing so, we will be closely and meaningfully involved with the arts, culture and heritage sectors. The precise priorities of the strategy will be agreed in close consultation with the sectors. The aim is to publish the draft strategy before the end of the financial year.
Research and statistics
We’ll continue to expand our research and statistics evidence base as a foundation for implementing ‘Cymraeg 2050’.
The Office for National Statistics, which is responsible for the census in England and Wales, published the initial 2021 Census data on the Welsh language in December last year.
The number and percentage of Welsh speakers aged 3 years or over fell from 562,000 (19.0%) in 2011 to 538,300 (17.8%) in 2021. There was a decrease in the percentage of 3 to 15 year olds identified as being able to speak Welsh between 2011 and 2021 in all local authorities. However, there has been a slight increase in the percentage of people who can speak Welsh in the young adult groups (16 to 19 year olds and 20 to 44 year olds), and an increase in the percentage in local authorities in south east Wales. But there has also been a decline in the traditional Welsh-speaking heartlands, particularly so in Carmarthenshire. Carmarthenshire saw the largest drop in the percentage of people aged 3 or over who can speak Welsh, falling from 43.9% in 2011 to 39.9% in 2021. Carmarthenshire also saw the largest decline between the 2001 and 2011 Census. Reductions were also seen in some towns in Anglesey, Gwynedd and Ceredigion.
We have already begun to analyse the results relating to the Welsh language, looking at them in light of a wide range of other data sources. Following correspondence between the First Minister and the National Statistician about the differences we are seeing between various sources on the Welsh language, our statisticians are working with the Office for National Statistics to better understand these differences in order to improve our understanding of how people respond to questions on the Welsh language.
We will also scrutinise further data from the census when it becomes available later this year to develop a more complete picture, specifically on the intergenerational transmission of the Welsh language, and the relationship between the language and other characteristics such as gender and ethnicity.
We will use this data and further updates to population projections to update the statistical trajectory for reaching one million Welsh speakers by 2050.