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Early years 'vital' for Welsh language skills

The Foundation Phase is a vital part of developing young children's skills in speaking, reading and writing in Welsh.

We have found that the rate at which children acquire Welsh language skills is affected by whether or not children are learning alongside others who share similar backgrounds in home language.

Our report shows that in classes with mixed linguistic backgrounds, children from non-Welsh speaking homes sometimes progress too slowly and the progress of pupils from Welsh-speaking homes can be hindered.

– Ann Keane, Chief Inspector at Estyn - Education watchdog

New report highlights progress made in Welsh lessons

Progress has been made in children learning Welsh, says report Credit: PA

More than 80 per cent of children aged 3 to 7 are making good progress in learning Welsh as a first language in Welsh-medium schools.

A report out today by education watchdog Estyn also reports standards in pupils' language, literacy and communication skills are similar to those in English-medium schools, and are in line with the expected level at that age.

The new report, Welsh in the Foundation Phase, considers standards in developing language in Welsh-medium schools taking into account whether pupils come from a Welsh-speaking home or not.

It also considers the balance between formal language development and informal activities which is a core part of the Foundation Phase approach to teaching and learning.


Language Commissioner wants urgent S4C meeting

The Welsh Language Commissioner is calling for an urgent meeting with the UK Culture Secretary to discuss concerns about the funding of S4C. Meri Huws has written to Maria Miller ahead of tomorrow's Spending Review and following reports that the channel is set to lose further UK Government funding.

In her letter, Ms Huws says that S4C 'should not be treated as simply another television channel' because it is 'a unique public service broadcaster serving a minority language community,' a service that she says would be 'extremely difficult' for the private sector to provide.

The Commissioner also says that further reductions to S4C's funding could damage 'plurality in the media in Wales' and harm ongoing efforts to encourage the Welsh language to grow. She's asked the Culture Secretary for an urgent meeting or phone conversation as soon as possible.

Fund to boost Welsh language technology

A £750,000 fund aimed at encouraging Welsh speakers to use Welsh language digital media and technology has been launched at the Urdd Eisteddfod.

Grants totalling £250,000 a year will be available over the next three years for initiatives such as Welsh-language apps.

To ensure that the Welsh language thrives in the 21st century and that Welsh speakers are fully able to participate as digital citizens, we must make Welsh language technology and digital media readily available.

We cannot allow the Welsh language to be left behind by the latest technologies, and should instead use these digital resources as a way of demonstrating that the language is a relevant, modern, and creative medium.

– Leighton Andrews, Minister for Education and Skills

The fund is open for applications via the Welsh Government website.

Calls for new Welsh-medium secondary school to be built in Newport

There are calls for action over the lack of provision for Welsh-medium secondary education in Newport.

At the moment, there are three Welsh-medium primary schools in the city, but secondary school pupils travel to a site in Torfaen.

The school is due to reach capacity in three years as it services four local councils, leaving parents wondering what provisions will be made for their children after 2016.

Richard Morgan reports.

Welsh Government: councils must provide 'sufficient and appropriate' Welsh-medium places

We expect all local authorities to identify how they will provide sufficient and appropriate places for children whose parents/carers desire them to have Welsh-medium education.

The School Standards and Organisation (Wales) Act 2013 will place a duty upon local authorities to prepare, consult on and publish a Welsh in Education Strategic Plan that will be submitted for approval of, and monitoring by, Welsh Ministers.

One of the key provisions in the Bill relating to Welsh in Education Strategic Plans will be the requirement for local authorities under certain circumstances to measure parental demand for Welsh-medium education in their areas.

We take this issue very seriously and are monitoring the situation carefully.

– Welsh Government spokesperson


'Concern' over Welsh secondary school provision

The Welsh Government says it is monitoring the schools situation in Newport Credit: Barry Batchelor/PA Wire/Press Association

There are calls for action over the provision of a Welsh medium secondary school education for Newport to meet increasing demand.

Currently secondary school children from the city travel to Ysgol Gwynllyw in Torfaen, which also serves Blaenau Gwent, Monmouthshire and Newport.

There is concern that the school will have reached capacity in 2016 and will not be able to accommodate children from Newport.

Plaid Cymru AM Lindsay Whittle has written to the Education Minister Leighton Andrews, criticising the 'lack of progress'.

Plaque unveiled to mark Welsh Language group's 50th anniversary

A plaque has been unveiled in Swansea to mark 50 years of Cymdeithas yr Iaith. The event in Pontarddulais marks the end of a series of events celebrating the group's 50 years of campaigning for the use of the Welsh language.

Cymdeithas yr Iaith chairman Robin Farrar said the day was about remembering what has been achieved and what needs to be done to ensure the language has a "sustainable future."

Plaque to commemorate Welsh language campaign

Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg held its historic first protest on Trefechan Bridge in Aberystwyth in 1963 Credit: ITV News

A plaque celebrating 50 years since the formation of the Swansea.

In January, to mark the start of the group, 500 members and supporters of the society held a rally on Trefechan bridge in Aberystwyth. Five decades earlier, in 1963, this bridge was blockaded by people during the society's first protest.

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