Kirsty Williams, Cabinet Secretary for Education
In August 2016 I announced the establishment of a task and finish group to review the activities of the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol and to make recommendations on the way forward. The review would inform future policy and budget decisions regarding the Coleg.
As part of its terms of reference, the group explored the potential expansion of the remit of the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol to include further education, in response to a commitment in Taking Wales Forward, the Welsh Government’s programme for Government.
On 25 July this year, the final report on the Review of the activities of the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol was published with a total of 25 recommendations of which the majority relate to the activities of the Coleg in the higher educations sector and I am pleased to be able to formally respond today to the recommendations in full.
The Coleg has welcomed the report and has already taken steps to implement some of the main recommendations. Of the 25 recommendations, three relate to the Coleg’s remit being extended to include the post-16 sector and provide clear recommendations on how this should happen. The proposal provides an opportunity to develop an action plan which will have a real impact on post-16 Welsh-medium provision.
The Coleg will establish a specialist Advisory Board made up of stakeholders with representation from the further education and work-based learning sectors. The board will advise on future interventions required to develop Welsh-medium post-16 provision which will be developed into a formal action plan. This action plan will be developed in partnership with Welsh Government officials and I expect the board to be bold and ambitious in their recommendations.
To coincide with the establishment of the Advisory Board, the Coleg will establish an internal delivery group, from its current staff, to support the work of the board and to lead on the initial interventions in further education and work based learning sectors and respond to the new responsibilities.
During the summer the former Minister for Lifelong Learning and Welsh Language laid out the Government’s plan to reach one million Welsh speakers by 2050 in the Cymraeg 2050: A million Welsh speakers strategy. In the strategy there is a specific aim to:
Develop post-compulsory education provision which increases rates of progression and supports everyone, whatever their command of the language, to develop Welsh language skills for use socially and in the workplace.
I’m pleased that the Coleg will be able to take these recommendations forward and will contribute towards achieving this strategic aim.
The action plan will begin to deliver changes during the period before the new Post Compulsory Education and Training Commission is established and this will lead to a more integrated post-16 Welsh-medium policy in line with the future responsibilities of the Commission.