Welsh language late immersion provision is set to be expanded across Cymru, from Conwy to Caerffili, thanks to Welsh Government funding.
Eight local authority areas will create their first Welsh language late immersion centres and all Welsh local authorities will receive additional funding to focus on establishing new late immersion provision where there has previously been none, or to expand their provision to meet the growing demand.
This follows £2.2m of Welsh Government investment which was announced in September.
Late immersion provision helps learners entering Welsh-medium education at a later stage - typically after the age of seven - and pupils for whom Welsh may not have been part of their daily routine, to gain the skills and confidence needed to continue their learning through Welsh.
This investment will also support learners who may have missed out on vital learning time or lost some of their language capability during the pandemic.
The vision to expand the pupil immersion programme is a manifesto commitment and part of the Welsh Government’s Programme for Government. It will contribute towards the aim of reaching one million Welsh speakers by 2050, and increasing the daily use of our language. The education system plays a key part in creating new Welsh speakers.
The Welsh Government is working with local authorities to set up a Cymru-wide late immersion network, to share information and best practice.
Jeremy Miles, the Minister for Education and Welsh Language, said: “The Welsh language belongs to us all, and I’m committed to providing the support needed to achieve the goals in our ‘Cymraeg 2050’ strategy and to help more of us to learn and use our language.
“The applications we received from local authorities across Wales for late immersion support showed true enthusiasm for expanding this programme. I’m delighted to see that there is a real commitment right across the country to support our learners to enter Welsh medium education, even if that is at a later entry point, and help them to develop bilingual skills for life.”
The eight local authority areas where new late immersion provision will be created are Blaenau Gwent, Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr-Bridgend, Caerffili, Torfaen, Merthyr Tudful, Castell-nedd Port Talbot, Powys, and Bro Morgannwg.
All parts of Cymru will receive funding, which includes expanding existing late immersion programmes and some additional support for late immersion in Welsh language schools as a result of the pandemic.