To mark St David’s Day, Education and Welsh Language Minister Jeremy Miles has announced 11 new capital projects to support the growth of the Welsh language.
One of the projects includes £4.4m investment at Ysgol y Strade in Llanelli to deliver a dedicated ‘Welsh Language Immersion Centre’ and capacity for 228 additional Welsh-medium places, raising the school’s capacity to 1,500 places.
Ysgol Caer Elen in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire will also see a £2.5 million project to fund an additional 60 Welsh-medium places for children in the long term.
The naming of the projects follows a bidding process which will now see them proceed to the next stage of the business case process and apply for funding from the Welsh-medium Capital Grant, totalling over £30 million, following the announcement of the funding last year.
The funding is aimed at increasing capacity in Welsh-medium schools, establishing new Welsh-medium provision and supporting early language immersion as well as helping learners of all ages improve their skills and confidence in Welsh.
The projects will be within nine local authority areas across Wales: Bridgend; Cardiff; Carmarthenshire; Ceredigion; Conwy; Flintshire; Gwynedd; Pembrokeshire; and Wrexham.
The plans include establishing new Welsh-medium primary schools, increasing capacity at existing Welsh-medium primary schools, establishing new Welsh Language Immersion Centres and extending existing Welsh Language immersion.
An additional £1.2m will also be provided to the Urdd for the new financial year, to support the youth organisation to continue its activities, which have been disrupted by Covid-19.
The funding will support a network of Urdd development officers across Wales, as well as provide new support for Welsh-medium apprenticeships within Wales’ most deprived communities. The funding is in addition to the Welsh Government’s funding to provide free entry to the Eisteddfod in Denbighshire this summer.
Jeremy Miles, the Minister for Education and Welsh Language, said: “Widening opportunities to access Welsh-medium education is absolutely central to growing our language and using Welsh more in our day-to-day lives.
“This investment will help meet the demand for Welsh-medium education by increasing capacity in schools and supporting the increase in Welsh-language immersion. The investment will complement our plans to increase the number of Welsh-medium teachers and develop the Welsh language skills of staff in English-medium schools.
“Creating opportunities to use Welsh outside the classroom is also important, whether competitively in the arts or sports, or just visiting the Eisteddfod. I’m therefore pleased to support the Urdd next year with continuing its fantastic work in opening up a wide range of opportunities for young people.
“All of these activities will help us achieve our goal of a million Welsh speakers and doubling the daily use of Welsh by 2050.”
(Lead image: Ysgol y Strade)
Sketty Hall Business School appoints Advisory Board
Sketty Hall Business School has announced the formation of its Advisory Board – key industry figures who will help shape the future of education and training across South Wales and beyond.
With the support of Welsh Government’s Sustainable Communities for Learning Programme, Gower College Swansea has recently transformed the much loved Georgian building into a contemporary Business School.
As well as being home to a range of professional, management and degree programmes, Sketty Hall Business School will also host high profile training events where academics, captains of industry and leading sporting personalities will inspire both businesses and individuals.
The Business School will also look to introduce the concepts of management and leadership to all its students, enabling them to become the inspirational leaders of the future.
“We are delighted to announce Sketty Hall Business School’s Advisory Board which will support Gower College Swansea in further understanding employers’ needs, and strengthen our relationships with key industries. The Board will help ensure that we are delivering the right skills for both now and in the future,” says Director of Skills and Business Development, Paul Kift.
“Delivering a cutting-edge, employer-led curriculum which supports economic development, and which is aligned to regional and Welsh priorities, is our key strategic aim as a Board.”
“Board members will have a major voice in shaping the business skills that are available across the region, benefitting learners and College staff whilst also creating a pipeline of talent for organisations. This will help to develop the prosperity and productivity of the wider business community. Together, we can also create skills solutions that will assist the Swansea Bay City Deal – enabling economic regeneration, development and growth.”
The Sketty Hall Business School Advisory Board members are:
- (Chair) Chris Foxall, Finance Director, Riversimple and Swansea Bay City Deal Economic Strategy Board Chair.
- Deb Bowen-Rees, Chair of South West Wales Branch, IoD, formerly CEO of Cardiff Airport, and current NED at Milford Haven Port Authority.
- Ian Price, Wales Director, CBI.
- Lucie Thomas, Director of Recruitment, Learning and Development, Pobl Housing Association.
- Adrian Sutton, CEO, Vortex IoT.
- Lucy Cohen, Co-founder of Mazuma, and Swansea Bay City Deal Economic Strategy Board member.
- Tony Roberts, Head of Wales, Vodafone.
- Adrian Chard, Strategic Human Resources and Organisational Development Manager, Swansea Council.
- Louise Harris, CEO, Tramshed Tech.
- Lisa Mart, General Manager, Swansea Arena/Ambassador Theatre Group.
- Alison Orrells, Managing Director, Safety Letterbox Company.
- Michael Kavanagh, Development Director, Short Brothers.
- Matt Wintle, Head of Learning & Development, Admiral.
“It’s wonderful to see Sketty Hall’s outstanding redevelopment being put to such good use as the home of the Sketty Hall Business School,” says Chris Foxall. “I’m very pleased to be chairing the business school’s advisory board which is made up of some of the best local employers and businesses leaders in the Swansea Bay City region.
“As the markets and economy continue to change, the demands on our business managers and leaders are increasingly challenging and complex. It’s important that the requirements of businesses help to inform the skills and training provision being developed by our education partners so that businesses can remain competitive and fulfil their potential growth.
“The Swansea Bay City region is one of the best places for ambitious companies looking to grow and invest for the future and, clearly, the best investment any company can make is in its people. Gower College Swansea wants to make sure they’re offering courses that protect those investments and, at the same time, give their students the best chance at a successful career in business and management.”
“I’m delighted that, with the support of Welsh Government, we have been able to make these excellent facilities at Sketty Hall Business School available for all of our students,” says Gower College Swansea Principal, Mark Jones. “And now, with the support of our new Advisory Board, we can begin to make a real impact in this key area for all businesses.”
Lead image: Gower College Swansea Advisory Board Sketty Hall (Image: Adrian White)
Neath Abbey Welsh medium primary school given go-ahead
Neath Port Talbot Council’s new Rainbow Coalition Cabinet has agreed to move forward with plans to open Neath Port Talbot’s first ever Welsh medium primary “starter school” at Neath Abbey.
The new Welsh medium starter school in premises previously occupied by Abbey Primary School at St John’s Terrace, Neath Abbey, could welcome its first pupils next January if fully approved.
Part of the council’s strategy to increase Welsh medium education across the county borough, the Cabinet agreed to move the starter school plan to its next stage – publication of a statutory proposal to establish the new school.
The starter school model is used when establishing a new school, gradually allowing the facilities and staff to be used efficiently while the school grows to its full potential.
Under the plans, £200,000 would be set aside for refurbishments and improvements including the provision of learning walls and digital equipment ensuring the school can deliver the new curriculum.
Cllr Nia Jenkins, Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Training, said: “This council has a ten year target to increase the number of Year 1 children taught through the medium of Welsh from 16.8% in 2020/21 to 31% (460 pupils) by 2032 and this proposed new school will help reach that target.
“It also complements the national vision for the Welsh language, to have a million Welsh speakers by 2050.”
(Lead image: Neath Port Talbot Council)
Pontarddulais school’s physical education department supported by Amazon
A comprehensive school in Pontarddulais has received a £1,000 donation from the Amazon fulfilment centre in Swansea.
Pontarddulais Comprehensive School plans to use the donation to purchase new safety mats for use in PE lessons.
They say this will allow their pupils to enjoy activities such as gymnastics and inspire more pupils to follow in the footsteps of their peers who have recently succeeded at a national level.
Christopher Law, General Manager at Amazon in Swansea, said: “At Amazon, we recognise the value of extra-curricular development, and we are pleased to lend a helping hand to Pontarddulais Comprehensive School with this donation. We wish the school well as it seeks to inspire and engage the leaders of tomorrow through both academic and physical education.”
Nigel Hughes, who is an engineer at Amazon in Swansea and put the school forward for the donation, added: “My children receive a fantastic education and genuine support at Pontarddulais Comprehensive School, and it’s great that Amazon is providing this donation to help fund new equipment.”
Julie Evans, Area Coordinator for Health and Wellbeing at Pontarddulais Comprehensive School, said: “We want to thank Christopher and the Amazon team in Swansea. This kind and generous donation will support us in continuing to create the high-quality facilities required for a first-class educational experience. It will be a great addition allowing us to strengthen and expand our school’s physical activity opportunities.”
The donation to Pontarddulais Comprehensive School was made as part of Amazon’s programme to support the communities in and around its operating locations across the UK.
(Lead image: Pontarddulais Comprehensive School)
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