Proposals to ensure the Welsh language prospers

Developing the Welsh Language


Discussion Paper by Mudiadau Dathlu’r Gymraeg




Mudiadau Dathlu’r Gymraeg (Celebrating our Language) is an umbrella group of 23 organisations who promote and encourage the use of the Welsh language.


We welcome the consultation “Gynhadledd Fawr” which the Government is undertaking to consider supporting the Welsh language as it gives an opportunity for our members to propose plans to strengthen the language for the future.


The purpose of this document is to outline ways we believe we can, as organisations, achieve the aims and targets of the Government.

Mudiadau Dathlu’r Gymraeg believes that there is a need for more resources to ensure that the Welsh language thrives and grows over the next ten years. Also there is a need to reallocate the present expenditure to ensure that a fair proportion is provided to develop and strengthen opportunities to use Welsh.


In this document we have identified a number of sectors where additional investment can be targeted to ensure the growth of the Welsh language and its communities.



Because of historic patterns of spending, the Government’s investment in the Welsh language has been small. In the field of education the demands of parents for Welsh Education has caused County Councils and the Government to enlarge the provision but without fully meeting the demand. In other areas spending directly on the Welsh language is less than £12m a year from an annual budget of over £13.6billion (2015/6).


The Government’s plan to main-stream the Welsh language into every department of Government is progressing very slowly and often new policies do not take into consideration the Government’s Welsh Language Strategy.




We note that the investment in the Basque language is much greater, and we see that the investment brings a significant increase in the number of speakers from 24% in 1991 to 32% in 2011.


The recent results of the Census bring to the fore many of the challenges the Welsh language faces but we believe that there are specific sectors where investment will not only be of value to the language but also to many other aims of the Government.


The Government’s Welsh Language Strategy


There is a need to act positively to achieve the Strategy by concentrating on:


(i) The transfer of language from parents to their children;


(ii) The use of the Welsh language by children in school and socially;


(iii) Opportunities for young people to use Welsh after leaving school;


(iv) Opportunities to use Welsh in the workplace and to create new employment opportunities.


Expenditure on Welsh Language Provision – 1% for the Welsh language


We call on the Government to increase its expenditure on specific Welsh language projects to 1% of the budget, over a set period of time, which is about £136million in the year 2015/161


Some of this expenditure will come from redirecting existing expenditure. We also call on County Councils and other statutory bodies to ensure that all their services are available through the Welsh language.



1 Expenditure Review 2013, UK Treasury





Summary: Proposals to Develop the Welsh Language

Many of the organisations who are members of Mudiadau Dathlu’r Gymraeg have prepared proposals and ideas to develop particular sectors. Below we list the main proposals which we believe are a major step forward to realising the wish of the Government and the people of Wales to see the Welsh language continuing to prosper and be an essential part of our day to day life. We believe that these further steps will fulfil many of the aims of the Language Strategy and Welsh Language Education Strategy.



Support the large number of societies and organisations that maintain the Welsh language.


Identify 10 areas to “Regenerate and Develop the Welsh language” – a pilot project to be funded from the European and Welsh Government Community Regeneration budget.


Target Welsh speakers in the teenage group and increase significantly the investment in youth services, sports and cultural.


Support and fund the digitising of the Papurau Bro.


Support the work of Merched y Wawr by assisting branches financially, with publicity and with support for their presence at the national festivals. Provide fair salaries for the field officers.


Increase the annual grant to the National Eisteddfod in accord with the recommendations of the Grant Thornton report that was commissioned by the Welsh Language Board in 2005 to ensure that the festival, can, among other things, continue to hold more local and regional community events.


Create more opportunities for parents to socialise in Welsh by employing leaders for social events.


Enlarge the “CEG” project to integrate Welsh learners across Wales.


Enlarge and adapt the TWF programme nationally so that every area that is not at present covered becomes part of this major project.


Fair and sufficient investment in the Early Years e.g. Programmes such as SureStart.


Enlarge the work of the Urdd by employing more youth officers and additional sport officers to increase the regular social Welsh language opportunities for children and young people and develop sports clubs.



Attract investment to develop the latest technologies to enable young people to communicate through the Welsh language using the modern facilities.


Work with schools and parents to ensure that people appreciate the importance of ensuring the Welsh language is an active language outside the school boundary.


Encourage communities to hold community census to asses the state of the Welsh language and prepare recommendations for its strengthening.

Capital funding to purchase equipment for large events such as the National Eisteddfod, Urdd Eisteddfod and other shows.


Enlarge the Menter Iaith in every part of Wales to develop and regenerate communities, work with children, young people, families and the community. Cooperate with local authorities to develop and promote Welsh language services and activities and support local businesses to provide Welsh language services.


Establish a new multi-platform provider that will enlarge the audience which listens, views and uses Welsh, and provide a Welsh national network which will provide a platform for local and community projects.

Provide sufficient resources to create a network of community translating facilities, with the emphasis on instantaneous translation, to facilitate the use of Welsh in the community, building on the Menter Iaith Conwy project on behalf of the North Wales Menter Iaith which is funded by the Rural Development Project.



Support means to nurture entrepreneurship in our communities by establishing a network of Welsh businesses which will provide support and leadership to start new businesses. A Cooperative Federation of Welsh Language Businesses should be established to take advantage of the enthusiasm and activity that already takes place on-line in Welsh to promote and achieve this.


The Government should provide support to companies to move from growth areas to other parts of Wales, and as part of the support agreement they should ensure that a proportion of the workforce has Welsh communication skills.


Create a Welsh Language Labour Market and implement through the Menter Iaith.


Devolve Employment.


Create apprenticeships through the Welsh Language Labour Market and organise Welsh language skills training throughout Wales particularly skills to support cooperative ventures and industry.


More support (financial and technological) should be provided to the cooperative sector, with definite targets to create jobs in the areas where Welsh is at its strongest.

Establish a national programme to support entrepreneurship amongst young people (16 – 24 age) who are keen to establish businesses with particular emphasis on businesses which will provide a Welsh or bilingual service.


Welsh for Adults

Expand the learning of Welsh in the workplace, including intense training for 1,000 teachers during the next two years so that they can carry out their work through the medium of Welsh. Also for workers in the health service, social services and higher education and further education.

Provide more training opportunities in the workplace to improve and learn Welsh and awareness training.


The Government

A full review of all Government expenditure, by an independent body such as the Welsh Language Commissioner, to asses the relevance of that expenditure on the Welsh language – so measuring the language footprint of the expenditure.

Ensure that all departments of the Government implement the Welsh Language Strategy and promote the use of Welsh.

Establish a grants scheme for first-time buyers.

Give the right for councils to raise rates up to 200% on second homes.



Increase the number of primary school Welsh streams – 100 streams of 30 children to achieve the Government 2020 Welsh Strategy target of 30% of children aged 7.

Expand the Sabbatical Scheme budget to extend the scheme to other education workers, particularly the class assistants.

The Welsh Government to launch a national campaign to encourage more parents of young children to choose Welsh language education.

Increase significantly the budget for projects such as “TWF” and emphasis that one of the most obvious ways to raise literacy and numeracy standards is by expanding bilingual education.

Develop the Welsh skills of the Cylchoedd Meithrin workforce.

Increase the investment and Welsh language provision in the post 16 sector, ensuring that the expenditure increases substantially, particularly in the further education and adult education in the community sectors, whilst ensuring the continuation of support in establishments where the provision is already strong.

Increase the number of Regional Welsh Language Education Officers and Athrawon Bro.

Increase the role of Welsh in Education in the workplace and ensure apprenticeships in Welsh and bilingual locations in a variety of fields.

Ensure that all pupils who take national literacy test take them in Welsh (First Language / Second Language) and English.

Increase the number of Schools Standards Officers provided through the regional consortia who can work through the Welsh language, and who have speciality in particular subjects throughout the curriculum.

Increase the planning and training of classroom assistants in the Foundation Phase particularly, to ensure a sufficient supply of staff with good skills in Welsh.

Increase the planning and training to ensure the availability of teachers with good Welsh language skills available to teach children in the Foundation Phase – in every school and location in Wales.

Improve the workforce planning process to ensure that the Government knows how many teachers, in each subject, and each educational key stage (including School heads) are required, to set recruiting targets for the appropriate training courses (BEd; TAR;CPCP etc); this is particularly important in the field of Welsh Second Language and Additional teaching needs where there is a severe shortage o teachers with appropriate language skills to teach subjects, and in the field of post-16/Further Education particularly in the vocational subjects.

Increase the investment in the existing plans to improve the Welsh capability of the current workforce – enlarge / adapt the Sabbatical Course (every level); use initiatives, including the systems to raise school standards, to emphasise the need for schools to understand the importance of improving language skills of the workforce (in order to achieve the targets of the Welsh Language Education Strategy), including the release of staff to attend courses.

Establish a Welsh for Adults Academy which will be able to provide sabbatical periods of up to one year including a comprehensive programme of learning Welsh to teachers and head teachers, and improving the language of teachers, this mainly for the English language education sector but also to attract to the Welsh language sector. Also courses for parents who wish to change the language of the home.

Language courses for all providers in the education field, including language therapy, psychologists etc.

In the Basque country about €45million is provided for HABE (Literacy Institute and Teaching Basque to Adults) – about 4 times the amount spent in Wales. The work of a similar Institute in Wales could include initiatives to establish Welsh Centres which will provide for learning the language and cultural events.

Marketing Welsh Language Education – there is a need for a national programme to promote the advantages of bilingualism and share information about Welsh education. This needs to be an ambitious programme with a high profile. There needs to be a capability for local areas to tailor the message for their local communities to reinforce the national messages.

Establish a strong structure to provide an intensive immersion programme for latecomers before they enter into Welsh language education, on the basis of the Gwynedd model.

Ensure language continuity between each key stage, particularly between KS2 and KS3 as pupils transfer from primary to secondary education.

Fair and sufficient investment in the Early Years e.g. programmes such as SureStart, parenting programmes. Recognise that the workforce is an essential element e.g. Meithrin workforce – need to ensure that the Welsh language skills of these individuals is of a high standard.

Further Education / Higher Education


Number of Teaching Activities in Higher   Education Establishments by subject and Welsh medium status





2010/11 6000 (0.9%) 25,405 (3.8%) 637,370 (95.3%) 668,770


Ensure the continuation of finance for the Coleg Cymraeg to make a long term change which is key to the prosperity of Welsh within the higher education sector.

Also there is a need for a corresponding transformation in other educational sectors.

Students are being lost from Welsh education in the 16 – 18 age period (and some in the 14 – 16 age group) because of the options that are offered at the 16-18 level. To ensure a steady flow of bilingual students there is a need to expand substantially the opportunities and numbers studying courses  at level 3, namely Alevel or Further Education in Welsh.

Specific budget to support lectureships in the further education field on a model similar to the Coleg Cymraeg.