Mixed progress with strategic plans for Welsh-medium education provision.

Some local authorities are not developing or implementing strategic plans for the provision of Welsh-medium education effectively, despite their value as a framework for planning.

The report notes that where progress is good there is a strong commitment by elected members and senior leaders to develop Welsh-medium education.  Conversely, in a few local authorities where it is not regarded as a high priority and delivery is the responsibility of middle-tier officers progress against targets is slow.  

Meilyr Rowlands, Chief Inspector of Education and Training in Wales comments:      

“The priority that individual local authorities give to developing Welsh-medium education contributes to the uneven implementation of these plans across Wales. In general, not enough people are aware of the plans to develop Welsh-medium education in their area.”

More findings and recommendations

  • Some local authorities make effective use of Welsh-medium education fora in developing and monitoring their strategic plans but others do not.

  • Other authorities lack systematic approaches to measuring demand for Welsh‑medium education with the result that provision lags behind.

  • Only a few local authorities see increasing the proportion of learners taking GCSE subjects through the medium of Welsh as a priority. While 50% of local authorities track the number of key stage 4 Welsh-medium courses, few set targets for schools to increase the number of pupils following them.

As well as addressing these shortcomings, the report recommends that local authorities should work more closely with schools to:

  • explain to pupils and parents the advantages of Welsh‑medium education and courses and

  • set targets to increase the proportion of key stage 4 pupils studying Welsh as a first language

It also recommends that the Welsh Government should ensure that:

  • local plan targets align with the Welsh-medium education strategy

  • local authorities regard delivering these targets as a strategic priority and

  • the implementation of strategic plans is rigorously monitored.

Notes to Editors:

About the report

Estyn’s report ‘Local authority Welsh in Education Strategic Plans’ was commissioned by the Welsh Assembly Government. It available in full at http://www.estyn.gov.wales/thematic-reports

The report considers:

  • the impact of Welsh in Education Strategic Plans (WESPs) on improving planning for Welsh-medium education

  • the influence they have had in stimulating and supporting actions to raise standards of Welsh and Welsh second language

  • the degree to which the statutory responsibility of local authorities in producing WESPs allows for co-operation with, and support from, regional consortia school improvement services

Inspectors gathered evidence from:

  • research visits to a sample of 8 local authorities: two in each consortia region

  • analysis of all 22 local authority WESPs

  • scrutiny of other related documentation

  • analysis of data used to measure WESP outcomes

  • views of specific stakeholders; sample of parents, focus group of head teachers

  • analysis of related Estyn thematic reviews

Publication date

Tuesday, 27 September, 2016