Plans are being developed by Gwynedd Council to extend specialist support that will be available to immerse children in the Welsh language in the county.
The new system will see the authority investing £1.1m in new facilities in Bangor and Tywyn, as well as improving resources at Porthmadog through the Welsh Government’s Welsh Medium Capital Grant.
The council said the developments would be built on the solid foundations that are already in place, offering learners a state-of-the-art immersion education system.
This would develop their Welsh language skills to enable them to succeed and thrive in schools, becoming proficient bilingual speakers, the council added.
Commenting, Gwynedd Council's Cabinet Member for Education, Councillor Cemlyn Rees Williams said:
“The council has led the way in developing a Welsh education system and supporting all pupils who move to the area so that they can benefit fully from the range of cultural and economic opportunities that bilingualism brings.
“Our intention is to build on this excellent work in developing a modern immersion system that will prioritise the needs of learners and ensure that the system is suitable for years to come.
“I am confident that we have exciting plans that will ensure support and experience of a high standard, developing Welsh language skills and enabling pupils to succeed and thrive in our schools and become confident bilingual speakers.
“We will recommend investing over £1m in modern facilities located in Bangor and Tywyn, which are two areas that are key to the vision of ensuring that we strengthen the position of the Welsh language throughout the county.
“As part of the plans, we will also be improving provision at other locations across the county, ensuring opportunities for more pupils to benefit from this support.”
The new look immersion system would:
- Promote the achievement and wellbeing of Gwynedd's ‘newcomers’ to acquire the Welsh language.
- Support learners who need an extra boost to increase their confidence and skills in Welsh at school.
- Extend the immersion provision to more learners.
- Equip and support the Gwynedd school workforce to implement the principles of immersion education in the Foundation Phase.
- Provide guidance, support and resources to the Gwynedd school workforce to enable them to support learners to make further progress in terms of their confidence and skills in Welsh.
- Help parents and guardians to understand the value of Welsh-medium education and help them support their children.
A report on the new immersion education system will be presented to the authority’s Education and Economy Scrutiny Committee before being considered by Gwynedd Council's Cabinet for a decision.
If approved, the intention is for the new system and facilities to be in place by September 2022.