A new plan is being drafted which Carmarthenshire Council say will shape the future of Welsh medium education in the county for the next 10 years.
The county council say they’re committed to creating a bilingual and multilingual Carmarthenshire and is working on its new Welsh in Education Strategic Plan (WESP).
The council say the aim is for every child in Carmarthenshire to have the opportunity to be fluent in Welsh and English when they leave school.
Welsh Government has a long-term goal of having one million Welsh speakers by 2050 and all local authorities in Wales must contribute to this by creating their own action plans for Welsh medium education provision for both now and in the future.
All public bodies must work towards achieving the seven goals in the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, one of which is for a Wales of vibrant culture and thriving Welsh language.
And one of the aims in the new Curriculum for Wales is to ensure that our children and young people are ambitious, capable learners ‘who can communicate effectively in different forms and settings, using both Welsh and English’.
The draft plan will be presented to the council’s Education and Children’s Scrutiny Committee on Thursday, July 8 for discussion, with an extensive eight-week consultation and engagement exercise to be launched in the autumn to gather the views of all stakeholders.
Executive Board Member for Education and Children’s Services Cllr Glynog Davies said: “We have the highest number of Welsh speakers here in Carmarthenshire and we are committed to increasing the opportunities for our children and young people to be taught through the medium of Welsh so that we can create strong and sustainable bilingual communities.
“Being bilingual brings many advantages, for example, bilingual people tend to be more creative and flexible, they find it easier to focus on a variety of tasks and to learn additional languages. Research shows that being bilingual can also delay the onset of dementia and other symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
“Our draft plan sets out our key aims which includes working with schools to move them along the language continuum, and to continue to develop staff with a comprehensive and flexible training programme.
“One of the main targets set by Welsh Government is for more nursery children (aged three) and reception children (aged five) to receive their education through the medium of Welsh and the plan looks at how we can achieve this. The delivery of ‘immersion’ education in the early years can ensure that all pupils are already bilingual by the age of seven, with the introduction a third language by the end of the Foundation Phase.
“A public consultation will be held in the autumn for teachers, parents, young people and residents to have their say on the draft plan.”
Following the public consultation, the WESP will go to the council’s Executive Board and then to full council for a final decision, before being submitted to Welsh Government for approval.
Drivers in Dyfed-Powys police area least likely to have car stolen
New research has shown that drivers in Dyfed-Powys police’s area are the least likely to have their car stolen in all of England and Wales.
There were 623 vehicle thefts in 2021. This means just 1.2 cars were stolen per thousand households.
The study, conducted by A-Plan Insurance, was carried out by assessing Home Office data of vehicle thefts in each Police Force Area and determining the rate according to the number of thefts per household.
With 100,185 cars stolen in London in 2021, England’s capital had 11.1. vehicle thefts per thousand households. This puts it first for the area where drivers are most likely to be the victims of vehicle theft.
The West Midlands comes second for its vehicle crime rate, with 10.4 vehicle thefts per thousand households (30,608 cars stolen in 2021), while Greater Manchester had nine cars stolen per thousand households (25,495 vehicle thefts), making it the third most dangerous place to own a car.
Cumbria and North Yorkshire are also some of the least likely areas for vehicle theft, with 727 and 1,433 cars stolen respectively in 2021. That’s 1.5 vehicle thefts per thousand households in Cumbria and 1.7 in North Yorkshire.
The research also analysed data from 2020, to determine whether vehicle thefts have increased or decreased in each Police Force Area since last year, finding that although London is still the worst place for vehicle theft, the crime rate is improving. Compared to 2020, car thefts in the capital are down by nine per cent, however, it’s a different story in the West Midlands, with 12 per cent more vehicles stolen in 2021.
Greater Manchester also saw an increase of five per cent on last year, but Hampshire is the area where vehicle theft has increased the most, with 22 per cent more cars stolen in 2021 than in 2020.
Gloucestershire has seen the biggest improvement when it comes to the number of cars stolen in the area, with nearly a third fewer thefts in 2021, compared to 2020.
The full results of the research
|Police Force Area||Household figures (mid-2020) rounded to 100||Vehicle thefts per 1,000 households (year ending Dec 2021)||Total vehicle thefts (year ending Dec 2021)||Percentage change in vehicle thefts (from 2020 to 2021)|
|London (Metropolitan Police and City of London)||3,543,000||11.1||100,185||-9|
|Avon and Somerset||737,300||4.9||8,407||-4|
|Devon and Cornwall||778,700||1.8||3,210||-7|
Commenting on the findings, a spokesperson for A-Plan Insurance said: “Theft is one of the main concerns for drivers, especially if you live in an area like London or the West Midlands, where there’s a higher risk of your vehicle being stolen than there is in somewhere like Dyfed-Powys and Cumbria.
“It’s interesting to see that some of the places with the highest vehicle crime rates are improving, though, and drivers can rest easier by making sure they have adequate insurance cover for their vehicles to protect them from theft and other risks.”
West Wales car dealership to double in size
Dafen-based Llanelli Motor Company have broken ground on a new development that will see their forecourt double in size over the coming months.
Led by Managing Director Ian Jonathan, the two-phase project will see the independent car dealership increase the number of used vehicles it has on sale to over 400 by January 2023.
“It’s certainly an exciting period for the business,” said Ian, “and with the significant changes to the used car market, we felt now was the right time to start the project, which has been in the pipeline for over five years.”
Although the business was potentially looking at 2020 as a start date for the developments, the Coronavirus Pandemic put the brakes on the project.
However, since the easing of lockdown restrictions and the delay in obtaining new vehicles, the used car market has seen an unprecedented spike in demand.
“The last 12 months have been exceptionally busy,” continued Ian.
“No sooner are we finalising our 140-point safety check on vehicles before placing them on the forecourt, than they are being purchased within a matter of days”.
With the ability to stock 150 nearly new vehicles of all makes and models at the moment, the 1-acre expansion will increase this to 250 by September before more than doubling it to 400 by the spring of 2023.
In order to facilitate this growth, the company will also be entering a recruitment phase and looking to employ at least 10 new members of staff across its sales, workshop and admin teams as well as taking on new apprenticeships.
New trains for Wales and Borders services go on show
Brand new trains that aim to transform services across Wales and the English borders have been on show today at Chester railway station.
Assembled by CAF at their factory in Newport, the first Class 197 train with its ‘Made in Wales’ tag was revealed to the public today (Friday 1 July), offering a taste of what’s to come for customers in the next few months.
TfW are spending £800 million on new trains throughout their network and the Class 197 will be the first of the brand-new stock to enter service in North Wales before the end of this year.
Providing an increase in capacity, reduced emissions and enhanced comfort onboard, these trains will allow TfW to run faster and more frequent services to key routes including services in South West Wales – Manchester to Milford Haven, Cardiff to Fishguard and Swansea to Pembroke Dock.
Offering leather seats, modern air conditioning systems, wider doors and customer information screens, the new trains will transform the customer experience. They’ve also been fitted with electronic charging points and disability features for those with limited mobility.
The Deputy Minister for Climate Change with responsibility for Transport, Lee Waters said: “I am pleased to welcome the new Class 197 trains to the rail network. These new vehicles represent a real transformational improvement on the trains that they will be replacing, providing comfortable and frequent services, encouraging people to leave their cars behind and move onto a more sustainable form of transport.”
Alexia Course, TfW’s Director of Transport Operations, said: “At Transport for Wales we’re continually moving forward with our transformational plans to improve public transport for the people of Wales and the borders.
“The Class 197s on show at Chester railway station today will be an important part of the transformation of the Wales and Borders network, and when they enter service, they will enable us to run more services and carry more customers in comfort.
“The construction of our new trains has been four years in the making, and customers and colleagues are incredibly excited to welcome passengers onto them from later this year.
“It’s also important to recognise that these trains have been made in Wales at the CAF factory in Newport and the building of them has provided jobs and supported the local economy”.
Richard Garner, UK Director CAF said: “CAF is thrilled that the first of our Class 197 trains for the Wales and Borders network has been officially launched.
“We are immensely proud of our key role in delivering Transport for Wales’ vision to transform rail travel for passengers.
“The manufacture of our trains is taking place at our state-of-the-art facility in Newport, South Wales. We see ourselves as a local manufacturer, supporting highly skilled jobs and bringing employment opportunities to the local area whilst focusing on sustainability issues and addressing the needs of the Welsh economy.
Our trains are being built in Wales to serve the Welsh communities”
(Lead image: Transport for Wales)
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