06 August 2012
Growing Welsh-medium Education in Colleges: Supporting the Students
ColegauCymru / CollegesWales is delighted to launch a good practice handbook on “Encouraging Further Education Students to Continue with their Education through the Medium of Welsh” at 1pm on 8 August at the National Eisteddfod in the company of the Deputy Minister Jeff Cuthbert AM.
Over recent years, Welsh-medium education has increased at all levels from primary school level upwards. However, there has always been a significant number of Welsh-medium educated young people who choose to stop studying through the medium of Welsh when they reach a new key stage of learning. One of the stages where this drop off occurs is in the transition from secondary school to further education college.
Further education colleges are stepping up the opportunities available to their students. In addition, they are making significant effort, both within the college sector as well as in collaboration with a wide range of partners, to encourage students from the age of 14 upwards to continue to learn through the medium of Welsh or bilingually.
The good practice handbook launched at the Eisteddfod on 8 August, which was prepared by the School of Education and Lifelong Learning, Aberystwyth University, in partnership with Wavehill, demonstrates that there are many examples of good practice and positive progress to be found in colleges all over Wales.
The handbook identifies good practice by colleges in the following areas:
- Targeting learners and early intervention, including provision of courses to develop Welsh-language skills, peer teaching, online support and resources, tutorial groups
- Informal, extracurricular, pastoral and social provision through the medium of Welsh
- Marketing and promotional campaigns, including case studies of former bilingual students, a DVD and a student-produced Welsh language magazine
- Promoting the value of Welsh in the labour market and in the workplace, including work placements and links with employers
- Developing staff capacity to teach and interact with learners through the medium of Welsh
- Working in partnership to develop Welsh-medium or bilingual provision, including links with schools, 14-19 networks, higher education institutions and other organizations such as Yr Urdd, Twf and Mentrau Iaith.
Mark Jones, ColegauCymru’s Senior Vice Chair, said: “ColegauCymru and further education colleges across Wales are keen to further increase Welsh-medium education in colleges and to provide students with the support that they need to progress. I am delighted that the handbook, prepared by Aberystwyth University in partnership with Wavehill, identifies that good practice examples are already in existence in colleges in all corners of Wales.
“One particularly pleasing finding of the research that the handbook draws on is that colleges are increasingly working in close partnership with a range of stakeholders, including schools, 14-19 networks, higher education institutions, the Urdd, Mentrau Iaith. This collaboration benefits college students as well as the wider community.
Mark Jones concluded: “Publishing the handbook will now enable the good practice to be shared so that all colleges as well as other stakeholders can work together to improve still further”.
Speaking ahead of the launch, the Deputy Minister for Skills, Jeff Cuthbert, said:
“The Welsh Government is committed to developing a bilingual Wales. In order to achieve this it is vital that we develop the Welsh language skills of the future workforce.
“I am encouraged by the many examples of good practice by further education colleges and their partners in creating opportunities for learners from the age of 14 and upwards. I look forward to hearing about further developments in this area as the good practice is shared across all colleges and their partners.”
Contact: Sylvia Davies on 029 2052 8384 or 07968 771913.
Notes to editors:
1. ColegauCymru / CollegesWales represents all 19 further education (FE) colleges and institutions in Wales. Its mission is to raise the profile of further education with key decision-makers to improve opportunities for learners in Wales. For further information about ColegauCymru / CollegesWales, and the colleges it represents, visit www.colegaucymru.ac.uk or www.collegeswales.ac.uk
2. The launch of the handbook takes place at 1pm on 8 August at the Bridgend College marquee at the National Eisteddfod, Vale of Glamorgan. The marquee is located at MO3/MO4, close to Y Babell Lên (literature tent), and Y Lle Celf (art exhibition pavilion).
3. For directions to reach the Eisteddfod, click: http://www.eisteddfod.org.uk/english/content.php?nID=684
4. The purpose of this Handbook is to share examples of current good practice in the Further Education (FE) sector in encouraging students to continue with their education through the medium of Welsh. The Handbook was commissioned by the Welsh Language Board as part of the ‘Dewis Da’ project, and was produced by Aberystwyth University School of Education and Lifelong Learning in partnership with Wavehill. It will be available (in Welsh and English) on the ColegauCymru website from 8 August.