Qestion to Eluned Morgan – 4. Will the Cabinet Secretary provide an update on the proposed growth in Welsh-medium education? OAQ52574

4. Will the Cabinet Secretary provide an update on the proposed growth in Welsh-medium education? OAQ52574

Eluned Morgan AM
14:03:50
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I was pleased that an additional £46 million capital funding was announced this morning to support an array of projects to facilitate the expansion of Welsh-medium education. We were really pleased with the quality of the bids we received, which means that local authorities really have grasped this now and have understood that this is the direction of travel that we’d like to move in.
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Mike Hedges AM
14:04:15
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Thank you for that answer. I wasn’t aware of what happened this morning, obviously. But if it is intended to create 1 million Welsh speakers, the route most likely to be successful is to increase the number of children attending Welsh-medium schools. I know from personal experience, as do others in this Chamber, just how difficult it is to learn Welsh as an adult. This would mean approximately a third of children in Wales attending Welsh-medium education—somewhere between 30 and 33 per cent, I would calculate. If the Minister’s got a different calculation, I’d like to know it, but that’s what I come out with. How is this going to be achieved?
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And will the Minister visit two schools in my constituency that I know well—Ysgol Gymraeg Tan-y-Lan, where my granddaughters attend, and Ysgol Gyfun Bryn Tawe, which my daughter used to attend in my constituency, both of which have grown dramatically since they were first opened?
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14:05

Eluned Morgan AM
14:05:06
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Diolch yn fawr, Mike. I think it’s really apposite that you’ve asked this question this afternoon when we are really moving ahead on this agenda. The fact is that, as a result of that announcement today, we’re going to see almost 3,000 new places in Welsh schools, and that is the way I think we’re going to start to reach this target that we’ve set out, which is an ambitious target. There are 16 local authorities who have gained money through this initiative, and I think the fact that we’ve also married this money up with money from my colleague’s budget to do with childcare—. So, you need a pipeline—you need to see these children come through the system, and the earlier we can introduce them to Welsh language education the better, and that’s why we’ve combined this money in order to move this agenda.
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This morning, I’ve been to Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw in Torfaen, where they will now be opening a new Welsh language primary. I’m pleased to see that that will be happening. And there will be a new Welsh language primary also in Merthyr, which we’re thrilled to see, but also in Monmouth. So, things are moving on in areas where we really want to see that initiative being taken, so we’re very pleased with the direction of travel and the fact that local authorities really understand that we are serious about moving forward on this agenda.