Eluned Morgan, Minister for the Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning
As part of the School Standards and Organisation (Wales) Act 2013, it is a statutory duty for all Local Authorities in Wales to submit a Welsh in Education Strategic Plan (WESP). Following receipt of the draft plans for 2017-20, the previous Minister for the Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning decided that further work was required as they lacked the ambition to achieve the Welsh Government’s Welsh Language strategy, Cymraeg 2050: a million speakers.
Education is key to this strategy and ensuring a robust and appropriate planning framework is in place must be a priority.
Aled Roberts was appointed to undertake a rapid review of the WESPs for each local authority, in addition to reviewing the process of preparing the WESP and offer recommendations on improving that process. The rapid review was published on 4 August 2017 and all 18 recommendations were accepted.
In August 2017, the former Minister wrote to all local authorities presenting Aled Roberts’ individual observations and requesting they re-submit their draft plans based on these comments.
Welsh Ministers have given careful consideration to the revised strategic plans and have approved the following:
- Blaenau Gwent
- Rhondda Cynon Taff
- Vale of Glamorgan
The improvements made to the WESPs since their re-submission have provided a firmer footing to progress, and the local authorities who have had their plans approved have all demonstrated a commitment to support growth in Welsh-medium education in line with Cymraeg 2050.
I would like to thank all local authorities for their cooperation. I am also confident that the commitment shown by the remaining authorities will mean that we can work with them to push forward to agree their plans as soon as possible.
I will now ask that each local authority draws up an action plan based on the targets within their strategic plan, including those awaiting approval. Welsh Government will continue to work in partnership with each LA to monitor progress and provide support where necessary.
The WESPs bring together the many different elements of Welsh-medium planning and enable all relevant partners to understand clearly their role in the process.
The plans re-submitted provide a platform to move forward to ensure the expansion of Welsh-medium provision so that Government strategic objectives are met. I am confident that the foundations and partnerships developed during this process will further strengthen as we move forward.