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Colleges welcome government’s first ever strategy on Welsh-medium education

Colleges in Wales have welcomed the Welsh Assembly Government’s first ever strategy for Welsh-medium education.

ColegauCymru, which represents all 23 FE colleges and institutions in Wales, agreed a strategy on bilingualism in January 2010 to increase post-16 vocational study options through the medium of Welsh.

The publication of WAG’s action plan ensures all education providers and stakeholder groups can work to the same strategy to deliver services in both Welsh and English.

John Graystone, chief executive of ColegauCymru, says: “It is a first. It is about time, some might say. Schools, colleges, universities, awarding bodies, have all ploughed their own furrows for too long. There hasn’t been a national strategic direction that all providers could work towards. There hasn’t been a national map of Welsh-medium provision that parents, learners and employers could navigate.

Mr Graystone hopes the move will help Wales tackle the many challenges the sector is currently facing. These include a cut in public services, an ageing population, fewer young people and “a globally competitive economy with many countries becoming far more skilled than Wales in many respects”.

He adds: “The Learning and Skills (Wales) Measure, which requires more vocational study options to be provided to learners aged 14 and 16, is one of the Welsh Assembly Government’s responses to these issues. In a bilingual Wales, it follows that more Welsh-medium vocational study options must be provided alongside the expansion of provision in English.

“The Strategy will require hard decisions, changes of directions, and new investments to be made. The Strategy will therefore need to be properly funded if it is to be workable.

“Colleges are ready to face the challenges and they are looking forward to working with the WAG and all partners to bring about a workforce more able to deliver services to the people of Wales in both Welsh and English.”

Susannah Fairbairn

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