The Consultation, Engagement and Equalities Manager explained the purpose of the report and stated as a general update, there's been two key Welsh language consultations that had taken place in 2021 to 2022, stakeholders from across the borough were asked to share their views on the draft Welsh language objectives.
The public consultation closed on the 18th of June 2021 was published on the Council website on the 1st of September 2021. The Welsh and Strategic Welsh in Education strategic plan was launched on the 27th of September and the results from the consultation were used to inform the final WESP, which has been in place since September 2022.
Monitoring is carried out monthly to identify the demand for Welsh services across all access channels within customer services including telephone face to face, e-mail and online.
Online recruitment is available in Welsh with the ability to enable the submission of Welsh applications advertisement of vacancies via MBO.
A rolling calendar of Welsh language activities and events is still in place, sharing details across internal and external communication channels such as press, social media and Bridgenders.
The Consultation, Engagement and Equalities Manager elaborated on the use of grant funding received in early years settings in Bettws, Ogmore Valley Preschool, and Bridgend.
She stated there was continuous monitoring of the number of seven-year olds being taught through the medium of Welsh and stated that there had been a significant amount of promotional work undertaken to encourage more families to consider Welsh medium education for their children.
She stated that the Council monitors the transition from primary provision to secondary provision, with the aim to improve transition rates and increase retention of children in Welsh medium education in foundation phase and key stage.
The Consultation, Engagement and Equalities Manager stated that in order to support an increase in the number of Welsh Medium childcare providers, Flying Start settings in Brackla will become a Clych Meithrin in the afternoon sessions from January 2023.
The Consultation, Engagement and Equalities Manager concluded that BCBC continued to work in partnership with Urdd Gobaith Cymru to deliver school half term activities.
She proposed that the recommendation for the report is for the committee to note the progress that's been made in the last year.
A Member queried while it was great to see that the new centre in Blackmill was nearing completion she wondered referring to a previous update by the Directorate there wasn't a lot of interest from providers to go in and actually provide that service there and that maybe there would be some discussions with Welsh Government at how that can be progressed. She queried if parties had come forward with an interest to provide services and options available to ensure that it is set up and functional at the earliest opportunity.
The Corporate Director for Education and Family support stated that the Directorate had run an extensive marketplace event for providers to try and attract Welsh medium childcare providers into that setting and the other settings that were provided by BCBC. He stated that they had profitable meeting with Bridgend College in November 2022 with an objective to try and support provision in those areas and also to improve and provide employment opportunities for young people to go into that as a vocation. This is being followed up with the college. He also stated that they were trying to identify providers in other areas and how they can be utilised, building on their expertise providing local employment.
The Leader stated while it is not provision BCBC have had before, he felt it complemented and supported the development of the new Welsh medium childcare provision at Bro Ogwr.
He stated that while the growth in numbers of pupils in Welsh medium provision is not what they would have liked to have seen there is an expectation that once the relocation of Bro Ogwr is completed, there will be a significant difference.
He said discussions are also expected with English medium schools to establish that that are making equally important strides around the development of Welsh language within English medium school settings.
The Corporate Director for Education stated, in relation to growth, the temporary provision that's going into the new school is expected to help before the new school is built. The new school is a significantly larger school and there is hope that the school will build on the excellent standards of Bro Ogwr or provide the learners and the community with world class provision for Welsh learners. Also as part of the Welsh in education strategic plan, to build the Welsh language provision across the county. He stated that Bridgend County Borough Council had more gold standard schools in any other local authority in the Central South Consortium region.
RESOLVED: That the Cabinet Committee Equalities receive and consider the content of the report.